Vanuatu showed signs of a moderate rebound in economic activity owing to its good macroeconomic fundamentals and a supportive international community. Executive Directors encouraged the authorities to tighten monetary policy in response to rising inflation pressures. They emphasized the need to strengthen fiscal buffers to safeguard the hard-earned fiscal soundness. Directors underscored the need to safeguard external buffers by maintaining an adequate level of foreign exchange reserves. They encouraged further efforts to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory framework that covers the whole financial system.
This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that following two years of contraction, output growth in Vanuatu recovered beginning in 2003, spurred by stronger performance in construction and a pickup in tourist arrivals. Growth reached 7 percent in 2005 and an estimated 5½ percent in 2006, well above the average for Pacific island countries. The overall external balance has benefited from rising foreign direct investment, aid, and private capital inflows, with reserves increasing to more than 7 months of imports. If good macroeconomic policies continue and political stability is maintained, near-term prospects are positive.
This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that Vanuatu’s real GDP growth rebounded to 2.4 percent in 2003, and the recovery continued in 2004 with growth of an estimated 3 percent. The improvement was bolstered by a strong supply response to a recovery in export prices and the liberalization of trading in two key exports (cocoa and copra), the discovery of new markets for kava following the ban by several countries in 2002, and higher tourist arrivals with an expansion in airline capacity to Vanuatu. Progress has also been made in strengthening Vanuatu’s financial sector.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix summarizes the factors explaining Vanuatu’s recent growth performance, which has weakened since the mid-1990s. The paper highlights that Vanuatu’s annual rate of growth averaged ¾ percent during 1997–2001, compared with 4¾ percent during 1992–1996. The paper compares Vanuatu’s external competitiveness with several other small island economies in the South Pacific region. The paper describes the development and structure of Vanuatu’s offshore financial center, examines its macroeconomic impact, and highlights some key recent developments. It also provides a preliminary assessment of the prospects for the sector.
Vanuatu has maintained macroeconomic stability, but real GDP growth slowed despite the receipt of considerable foreign assistance and the implementation of structural reforms under the Comprehensive Reform Program (CRP). A sharp increase in liquidity, a consequent bulge in consumption, and a rise in imports have affected Vanuatu's recent economic performance. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index for the main urban centers, has remained moderate in recent years. The paper also discusses prices and population, financial sector, and external sector developments of Vanuatu.