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International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Statistics Department (STA) provided technical assistance (TA) on financial soundness indicators (FSI) to the Federated States of Micronesia Banking Board (FSMBB) during November 2-13, 2020. The TA mission took place in response to a request from the authorities, with the support of the IMF’s Asia & Pacific Department (APD). The mission was conducted remotely via video conferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. The mission worked with the staff of the FSMBB on the development of FSIs that are in line with the IMF’s 2019 FSI Guide.1 The main objectives of the mission were to: (i) review the source data, institutional coverage and accounting and regulatory frameworks supporting the compilation of FSIs; (ii) provide guidance for mapping source data for the banking sector to the FSI reporting templates FS2 and FSD as well as areas for improvement in the metadata; (iii) agree with the FSMBB the timeline to begin regular reporting of the FSIs for deposit-takers to STA, conditional on the availability and completeness of the source data; and (iv) agree on the timeliness of data reporting.
Johanna Tiedemann, Veronica Piatkov, Dinar Prihardini, Juan Carlos Benitez, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
Small Developing States (SDS) face substantial challenges in achieving sustainable development. Many of these challenges relate to the small size and limited diversification of their economies. SDS are also among the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change and natural disasters. Meeting SDS sustainable development goals goes hand-in-hand with building their climate resilience. But the additional costs to meet development and resilience objectives are substantial and difficult to finance. This work adapts the IMF SDG Costing methodology to capture the unique characteristics and challenges of climate-vulnerable SDS. It also zooms into financing options, estimating domestic tax potential and discussing the possibility of accessing ‘climate funds.’
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Climate Change Policy Assessment (CCPA) takes stock of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)’s climate response plans, from the perspective of their macroeconomic and fiscal implications. CCPA explores the possible impact of climate change and natural disasters and the cost of FSM’s planned response. It suggests macroeconomically relevant reforms that could strengthen the national strategy and identifies policy gaps and resource needs. FSM has made progress toward its Nationally Determined Contribution mitigation pledge by beginning to expand renewable power generation and improve its efficiency. The authorities plan to continue this and encourage the take-up of energy efficient building design and appliances. Accelerating adaptation investments is paramount, which requires addressing critical capacity constraints and increasing grant financing. It is recommended that FSM needs to increase its capacity to address natural disaster risks following the expiry of Compact-related assistance in 2023. It is advised to improve climate data collection and use, including on the costs of high and low intensity disasters and disaster response expenditure.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) highlights that the economy has performed well in recent years, with relatively high growth and low inflation. Fiscal and current account balances have recorded large surpluses since 2017, owing to the authorities’ decision to save revenue windfalls. Nonetheless, the FSM faces significant medium-term uncertainty as various economic supports under the Compact Agreement with the United States are set to expire in 2023. Unless they are renewed, the FSM is expected to lose access to Compact grants, giving rise to a fiscal cliff in 2023; banking sector oversight by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and post-disaster rehabilitation assistance. The country is highly vulnerable to climate change, while private sector activity remains anaemic. It is recommended to improve resilience to climate change by strengthening capacity to implement adaptation projects. Over the medium term, disaster risks should be mitigated by using disaster insurance and disaster-contingent foreign financing.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Micronesian economy continued its gradual recovery in fiscal year 2016 (ending September 30), after three years of contraction during 2012–14. Real GDP is estimated to have grown by 3.0 percent in 2016, driven by increased construction activity related to infrastructure projects. Consumer prices remained broadly stable. The fiscal balance recorded an estimated surplus of 9 percent of GDP, after another year of strong revenues from fishing license fees. In 2017, growth is expected to moderate to 2 percent, as the recovery continues at a slower pace. Despite the recovery, risks are tilted to the downside beyond the near term.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Micronesia’s economy is stagnating, as externally funded infrastructure projects are moving slowly. Difficulties in the business climate, in particular those related to land tenure issues, continue to hold back private sector development. Real GDP growth of about 0.1 percent is estimated for the fiscal year 2014. The Micronesian economy is projected to grow at 0.6 percent in the medium term, while risks on the outlook are tilted to the downside. Growth in 2015 is projected to remain subdued at 0.3 percent, while consumer prices are projected to further decline to negative 1.0 percent thanks to the continued pass through of low oil prices.
Ms. Sandra Marcelino and Ms. Ivetta Hakobyan
In 1996, the IMF and the World Bank introduced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative—a comprehensive debt relief program aimed at reducing the external debt burden of eligible countries to sustainable levels, provided they carry out strong programs of macroeconomic adjustment and structural reforms designed to promote growth and reduce poverty. Now that the HIPC Initiative is nearly completed, this paper investigates whether the initiative managed to spur growth, either directly or indirectly through investment. In contrast to earlier studies, we conclude that there is some evidence of positive effects of the HIPC Initiative on growth. Such evidence suggests that the HIPC Initiative and MDRI have helped HIPC-eligible countries to reach higher growth, but it remains unclear whether this is through higher investment or another channel. Also, the analysis illustrates that it is hard to disentangle pure debt-relief effects from other concurrent factors.
Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, Ezequiel Cabezon, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
The small states of the Asia and Pacific region face unique challenges in raising their growth potential and living standards relative to other small states due to their small populations, geographical isolation and dispersion, narrow export and production bases, exposure to shocks, and heavy reliance on aid. Higher fixed government costs, low access to credit by the private sector, and capacity constraints are also key challenges. The econometric analysis confirms that the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have underperformed relative to their peers over the last 20 years. Although these countries often face more limited policy tools, policies do matter and can further help build resilience and raise potential growth, as evidenced in the recent business cycle. The Asia and Pacific small states should continue rebuilding buffers and improve the composition of public spending in order to foster inclusive growth. Regional solutions should also continue to be pursued.