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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted Nepal’s economy. Tourist arrivals collapsed, domestic activity plummeted, and remittances have been volatile. As a result, balance of payments and fiscal financing gaps emerged. After growth was lower than expected in 2019/20, a gradual resumption in economic activity and a corresponding surge in imports and related tax receipts led to higher growth and improved fiscal outturns in 2020/21. However, important fiscal and external financing needs remain to support the COVID-19 response, facilitate a continued recovery, and maintain a comfortable level of reserves.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Fiji highlights that economic activity slowed sharply in 2019 due to lower government spending, tighter domestic financial conditions, weak sentiment, and the global deceleration. The slowdown followed several years of relatively strong growth, boosted by reconstruction spending after a major cyclone in 2016, which resulted in rising external and fiscal imbalances. Fiscal space is now at risk and external vulnerabilities remain significant. Fiji has large investment needs to strengthen resilience to natural disasters and climate change. A key priority should be to rebuild fiscal buffers in a growth-friendly way to create space to respond to future natural disasters and to ensure public debt sustainability. Fiscal consolidation should focus on reining in current spending given limited scope for further revenue mobilization and the need for capital spending to improve resilience to climate change. Improvements in the business environment and in governance are essential to raise potential growth and boost private investment, and to enhance productivity and competitiveness.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper examines the degree to which inflation co-moves between India and a panel of countries in Asia. The paper shows that the considerable co-movement in headline inflation rates between India and Nepal is driven almost exclusively by food-inflation co-movement. By contrast, the role for inflation spillovers emanating from India in driving non-food inflation in Nepal appears limited. The implication is that Nepal should rely on domestic monetary policy rather than stable inflation in India to achieve stable domestic inflation. The main takeaway from the results is that food inflation co-movement between India and other countries is higher in cases where the co-movement in rainfall deviations from seasonal norms is highest. Since core inflation co-movement is weak, idiosyncratic domestic factors such as economic slack, exchange-rate movements, and differing degrees of passthrough from food- and energy-price shocks play an important role. This finding is critically important for monetary policy, especially since domestic policy is primarily effective only in controlling core inflation. Thus, domestic monetary policy needs to be calibrated to domestic inflationary pressures—Nepal cannot necessarily rely on stable inflation in India to achieve stable domestic inflation.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Weak growth and underlying structural vulnerabilities persist in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Worsened macroeconomic conditions—reflecting the spillovers from one of Curaçao’s largest trading partners and the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sint Maarten—make the need for policy adjustment and structural reforms aimed at ensuring fiscal sustainability, enhancing competitiveness, strengthening investor confidence, and developing capacity more urgent.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses Grenada’s Sixth Review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Financing Assurances Review. The government met all continuous and end-December 2016 performance criteria and structural benchmarks. The economy grew by about 3.9 percent in 2016, reflecting continued strong construction activity and steady external demand for Grenada’s tourism services. The pace of restructuring of public debt has accelerated in recent months, and Grenada’s debt-to-GDP ratio declined to 83.4 percent at the end of 2016 from 108 percent in 2013. The IMF staff supports the completion of the Sixth Review under the ECF arrangement and the financing assurances review.
International Monetary Fund
This note provides general guidance on the use of the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL). After an overview of the instrument, explaining its specific nature, the operational issues are grouped into five areas: an outline of the process and specific steps that need to be followed if a member expresses interest in an arrangement; guidance on access, phasing, and purchases; guidance on determining qualification of a member and appropriate ex-post conditionality; and a guide to the semi-annual review process.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
KEY ISSUES Politics: President Bachelet won the Presidential election on a platform to foster inclusive growth and reduce inequality. Her government took office in March 2014 and is launching an ambitious policy agenda that includes important reforms in several areas, including taxation, education, productivity, and energy. Outlook and risks: Chile’s global environment is shifting, with a dimmer outlook for its main export, copper, and normalization of global monetary conditions. Growth has slowed markedly, resulting in a modest output gap. The peso has depreciated, feeding into inflation. Staff projects growth to bottom out in 2014 and then gradually recover. Key risks relate to a large and lasting drop in copper prices and global financial volatility. Policy mix: The freely floating peso is working as a shock absorber and will support the economic recovery. The policy mix with broadly neutral fiscal and accommodative monetary policy is appropriate. Room for further monetary easing has narrowed but space remains if domestic demand flounders, so long as inflation expectations remain well anchored. On fiscal, given the strong public finances, automatic stabilizers should be allowed to operate unimpeded and there is space for stimuli in the event of a major downturn. The commitment to close the structural fiscal deficit by 2018 is appropriate and should be phased in a way that avoids undue drag on the recovery. Should risks materialize, the freely floating currency is the first line of defense. Growth and equity reforms: Achieving strong growth while reducing inequality will require structural reforms. The authorities’ agenda focuses on the right areas but many details remain work in progress. Clarity on the details, timetables, and prioritization will reduce uncertainty and the risk of delays. Financial stability: Risks to financial stability appear contained, but it will be important to push through with regulatory reforms underway, including initiatives currently in Congress. Further effort will be needed to close regulatory gaps, in particular bank capital requirements, relative to international benchmarks.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that after two years of strong expansion, growth is estimated at about zero percent in the fiscal year 2013 (FY2013, ending in September) in the Republic of Palau owing to declines in construction and tourism. Inflation moderated to 2¾ percent (annual average) in FY2013 thanks to stable international food and fuel prices, and it is expected to stay at about 3 percent in FY2014. Growth is projected to increase to 1¾ percent in FY2014 and to 2¼–2½ percent over the medium term driven by the recovery in tourism and infrastructure developments.