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Mr. Carlos Sanchez-Munoz, Mr. Paul A Austin, Alicia Hierro, and Ms. Tamara Razin


The 2019 Annual Report of the IMF Committee on Balance of Payments Statistics (the Committee) provides an overview of recent trends in global balance of payments and international investment position statistics, summarizes the Committee’s work during 2019, and presents the work program of the Committee in the coming year.

Patrick Blagrave
Co-movement (synchronicity) in inflation rates among a set of 13 emerging and developing countries in Asia is shown to be strongest for the food component, partly due to common rainfall shocks—a result which the paper terms the ‘monsoon effect.’ Economies with higher trade integration and co-movement in nominal effective exchange rates also experience greater food-inflation co-movement. By contrast, cross-country co-movement in core inflation is weak and the aforementioned determinants have little explanatory power, suggesting a prominent role for idiosyncratic domestic factors in driving core inflation. In the context of the growing literature on the globalization of inflation, these results suggest that common weather patterns are partly responsible for any role played by a so-called ‘global factor’ among inflation rates in emerging and developing economies, in Asia at least.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Assistance report highlights that setting up a liquidity forecasting framework would go a long way in establishing a key building block allowing the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA) to fulfil its legal mandate to formulate and implement monetary policy in ways better aligned with current central bank practices. The structural liquidity surplus, mainly due to foreign reserves accumulation, has been broadly stable in the absence of RMA intervention. The paper discusses that the volatility of autonomous factors and the fragmentation of the money market justify ambitious steps by the RMA towards setting up a liquidity management framework. The mission identified several constraints and gaps that need to be addressed to support the effectiveness of a liquidity forecasting framework. The mission’s recommendations presented in the report aim at streamlining the processing of the Government’s financial transactions and cash balances. Looking ahead, monetary policy transmission would benefit from developing RMA’s liquidity forecasting and management capacity.
Sriram Balasubramanian and Mr. Paul Cashin
This paper examines the origins and use of the concept of Gross National Happiness (or subjective well-being) in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the relationship between measured well-being and macroeconomic indicators. While there are only a few national surveys of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, the concept has been used to guide public policymaking for the country’s various Five-Year Plans. Consistent with the Easterlin Paradox, available evidence indicates that Bhutan’s rapid increase in national income is only weakly associated with increases in measured levels of well-being. It will be important for Bhutan to undertake more frequent Gross National Happiness surveys and evaluations, to better build evidence for comovement of well-being and macroeconomic concepts such as real national income.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
As part of the IMF-South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) work program, a technical assistance (TA) mission on external sector statistics (ESS) was conducted during April 2–13, 2018. The mission assisted the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) in compiling and disseminating external debt statistics (EDS) consistent with the international investment position (IIP), reviewed the compilation method of direct investment statistics, and assessed the coverage of external flows related to hydropower projects.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Bhutan continued to make strides in raising per capita incomes and reducing poverty as it concluded the 11th Five Year Plan in 2018. Notably, poverty declined from 12 percent in 2012 to 8.2 percent, and extreme poverty fell to just 1.5 percent. The country is poised to transition to middle-income status, with per capita incomes at nearly US$3,600 in 2018, up from US$1,100 in 2004. Growth has remained robust, averaging 6 percent over the 11th Plan. In FY2018, growth is expected to slow to 5.8 percent from 7.4 percent in FY2017, reflecting slowing construction activity of hydropower projects set to come on stream in 2018 and beyond.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
"The Fund continues to make efforts to maximize the use of available resources in order to deliver on the priorities and initiatives laid out in the Global Policy Agenda (GPA). The FY 18 outturn reflects reallocations and efficiency gains, as well as flexibility provided by carry forward resources. With the number of Fund arrangements falling, the Fund’s outputs shifted from spending on lending activity to multilateral surveillance. On the input side, the structural budget was fully utilized. This paper presents key highlights of the FY 18 outturn, including a discussion of the outputs and inputs. Details on Capacity Development (CD) are presented in Annex"