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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper highlights Honduras’ First Reviews Under the Stand-By Arrangement and the Arrangement Under the Stand-By Credit Facility, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria. Despite headwinds to growth and a challenging external environment, the Honduran authorities remain fully committed to the economic program supported by the IMF. They have maintained prudent macroeconomic policies—the fiscal position is in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Law, inflation is within the central bank’s target band, and the current account deficit has narrowed despite adverse terms of trade—and have taken initial steps on structural reforms to promote sustained, inclusive growth. Important measures to strengthen the governance and anti-corruption frameworks have been incorporated into the program, adding to the ongoing efforts to strengthen the institutional framework in the central bank and in public finances, and to improve the business environment. The authorities are expected to protect the revenue mobilization efforts made over the past years to reduce the infrastructure gap and increase social spending. These efforts seem to be critical to reduce poverty and inequality, while maintaining a prudent fiscal position that secures debt sustainability over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper focuses on policies to raise growth; underpin fiscal sustainability while enhancing social safety nets; and strengthen financial sector stability, deepening, and inclusiveness. GDP growth has averaged 2 percent during 2000–14, well below the Central American regional average of 4½ percent. While the underlying causes of the low growth are complex, a key channel through which they are expressed appears to be low investment. Given the need to increase growth, revenue-raising measures should be accompanied by cuts in distortionary taxation. Stress tests suggest that financial buffers are adequate to contain most risks. The financial deepening and advancing financial inclusion could have a meaningful impact on both growth and poverty.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses economic performance status and policy developments of Pakistan. Amid setbacks to structural reform, the authorities have made substantial progress in restoring economic stability. Economic activity continues to strengthen gradually. International reserve buffers are increasing amid a broadly stable current account deficit. However, there are number of risks to the economy. Slower growth in key advanced markets such as China and the Gulf can further erode export competiveness. The Pakistani government is determined to maintain fiscal consolidation in FY 2015/16 and over the medium term. Continued tax administration reforms are important for further improving tax compliance and supporting revenue mobilization.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
KEY ISSUES Focus: The main themes centered on tackling macroeconomic vulnerabilities and improving the medium-term outlook by achieving an ambitious fiscal adjustment while protecting social spending, creating an environment for higher private sector-led growth, and building a robust financial sector. Main policy issues • A reduction in the fiscal deficit of 3½ percent of GDP is needed over the next three years to place public debt on a sustainable path to maintain access to market financing on favorable terms. This adjustment should be accompanied by well- targeted social spending to protect the most vulnerable and continued progress in lessening inequality. • A broad strategy is also needed to reduce the growing imbalances in the pension system and restore its sustainability for future generations. In this regard, a broad- based dialog across all segments of Salvadoran society is needed to build support for a reform that should include an increase in the retirement age and introduce a progressive taxation of benefits. Steps are also needed to further strengthen public financial management to mitigate key fiscal risks, including by enhancing expenditure monitoring and control (to avoid future spending arrears) and recording contingent fiscal liabilities transparently in the fiscal accounts. • The authorities’ goal of raising potential growth to 3 percent while reducing inequality will require substantial supply-side measures to enhance productivity and competitiveness. These should aim to reduce red-tape, increase access to credit, upgrade infrastructure, provide access to and lower the cost of energy, and diversifying the economy. The FOMILENIO II grant from the U.S. provides a valuable opportunity to catalyze such growth-enhancing reforms. • Banking indicators appear sound, a product of prudent supervision and regulation. Nonetheless, there is scope to further strengthen the institutional underpinnings for financial stability by upgrading the legal framework for bank resolution and by creating an appropriate liquidity safety net for banks.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Context. Growth remains rapid, but has moderated from the 7¼ percent recorded in 2013. Remittances and accommodative monetary and financial conditions remain the primary growth drivers, despite volatile capital flows, slowing activity in the region and severe natural disasters. Inflation has picked up to over 4 percent, while the current account remains in surplus. Local financial markets were moderately impacted by the Fed’s “taper talk and action,” weakening the peso and equity prices. Credit growth has quickened, especially to construction. Potential growth has risen to about 6?6¼ percent. However, persistent weakness in the business climate is a risk to sustained growth and hinders job creation. Foreign ownership restrictions, inadequate infrastructure and high doing-business costs have held back overall investment and employment. Along with frequent natural disasters, this has kept poverty elevated, thereby sustaining outward migration. Outlook and risks. Normalizing financial conditions are forecast to ease growth to 6?6½ percent over the medium term, while keeping inflation within the band and moderating the current account surplus. Abrupt changes in global financial conditions and a sharp growth slowdown in EMs are among the external growth risks. On the domestic front, excessive flow of real and financial resources to the property sector could increase volatility of asset prices and GDP growth over the longer run. Policy recommendations. A more restrictive policy stance is needed to preserve macro- financial stability, with rebalancing of the mix to allow higher public investment spending, while implementing reforms to sustain vibrant growth and make it more inclusive: • Absorbing liquidity and raising official interest rates would address second-round inflation effects and potential overheating and financial stability risks. Allowing the exchange rate to adjust more fully to structural inflows, while smoothing the effect of cyclical flows, would limit further sustained reserve buildup. • Addressing specific risks from real estate and large credit exposures requires further targeted measures and broadening the BSP’s mandate to include financial stability. This would help prevent diversion of systemic risk to shadow banking and strengthen tools to manage risks from deepening cross-border financial integration. • Raising the fiscal deficit from below 1½ percent of GDP in 2013 to 2 percent of GDP in 2014 to accommodate reconstruction spending should be accompanied by tighter monetary and financial conditions. Mobilizing sizable additional stable revenue would ensure room for structural spending priorities while preserving fiscal prudence. • Improving the investment climate by relaxing foreign ownership limits, reducing red tape, limiting tax holidays, and reducing labor and product market rigidities would enhance competition, support PPP execution and create employment opportunities within the Philippines.
Mr. Alfredo Cuevas
Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. In the context of the 2012 Article IV consultation with Zimbabwe, the following documents have been released and are included in this package
International Monetary Fund
Real regional gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 6 percent in 2009, reflecting a collapse in tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment (FDI)-financed construction activity. The global financial and economic crisis has also exposed areas of significant weaknesses, notwithstanding reforms implemented by a number of member countries. Executive Directors concurred that the urgent challenge is fiscal consolidation. They noted IMF staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate (REER) appears broadly in line with current fundamentals.