Maximilien Kaffo Melou, Mariusz A. Sumlinski, and Chris Geiregat
We analyse the debt dynamics in countries that benefited from the HIPC/MDRI debt relief initiatives with a view to applying a probabilistic approach to estimating future debt paths for those countries. We extend the probabilistic approach to public debt sustainability analysis (DSA) proposed by Celasun et al. (2006). This required addressing the twin challenges of a the time period that is too short to conduct country-by-country estimations and the presence, suggested by econometric evidence, of a break–point around 2006 in the dynamics of debt accumulation. To overcome the data limitations, we pool the data and estimate a panel VAR, thus taking advantage of the large cross–section. To account for the break–point, while applying a probabilistic approach to forecasting debt paths, we use the post–break–point information so as not to bias the forecasts of debt paths. As an illustration of the approach we apply the methodology to eight countries with different debt profiles.
Ms. Lisa Drakes, Ms. Chrystol Thomas, Roland Craigwell, and Kevin Greenidge
This paper addresses the issue of threshold effects between public debt and economic growth in the Caribbean. The main finding is that there exists a threshold debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 55–56 percent. Moreover, the debt dynamics begin changing well before this threshold is reached. Specifically, at debt levels lower than 30 percent of GDP, increases in the debt-to-GDP ratio are associated with faster economic growth. However, as debt rises beyond 30 percent, the effects on economic growth diminishes rapidly and at debt levels reaching 55-56 percent of GDP, the growth impacts switch from positive to negative. Thus, beyond this threshold, debt becomes a drag on growth.
The Executive Board of the IMF has approved a disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 2.075 million under the Rapid Credit Facility for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help the country manage the economic impact of Hurricane Tomas. The Board’s approval enables the immediate disbursement of the full amount. The late-October 2010 hurricane inflicted significant damage to agriculture, housing, and infrastructure. The initial assessment conducted by the government estimated the cost of damage at 5 percent of gross domestic product.