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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Mr. Christian Mumssen, Yasemin Bal Gunduz, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, and Ms. Linda Kaltani
This paper studies the short and longer-term impact of IMF engagement in Low-Income Countries (LICs) over nearly three decades. In contrast to earlier studies, we focus on a sample composed exclusively of LICs and disentangle the different effects of IMF longer-term engagement and short-term financing using a propensity score matching approach to control for selection bias. Our results indicate that longer-term IMF support (at least five years of program engagement per decade) helped LICs sustain economic growth and boost resilience by building fiscal buffers. Interestingly, the size of IMF financing has no significant impact on economic growth, possibly pointing to the prominent role of IMF policy advice and institutional capacity building in the context of longer-term engagement. We also present evidence that the short-term IMF engagement through augmentations of existing programs or short-term and emergency facilities is positively associated with a wide range of macroeconomic outcomes. Notably, the IMF financial support has the greatest impact on short-term growth when LICs are faced with substantial macroeconomic imbalances or exogenous shocks.
International Monetary Fund

This Article IV Consultation reports that the main challenge is to maintain macroeconomic stability in substantial demand shock from the construction of two major liquefied natural gas projects. The global downturn had only a mild impact, as growth was supported by still strong terms of trade, a financial sector insulated from global capital markets, and an increase in public expenditure. IMF staff stressed that monetary policy needed to be focused on emerging inflation pressures and act preemptively to avoid high inflation from becoming entrenched in expectations.

International Monetary Fund

This Article IV Consultation reports that the main challenge is to maintain macroeconomic stability in substantial demand shock from the construction of two major liquefied natural gas projects. The global downturn had only a mild impact, as growth was supported by still strong terms of trade, a financial sector insulated from global capital markets, and an increase in public expenditure. IMF staff stressed that monetary policy needed to be focused on emerging inflation pressures and act preemptively to avoid high inflation from becoming entrenched in expectations.

International Monetary Fund
This paper presents a detailed analysis of the average fiscal policy responses of oil producing countries (OPCs) to the recent oil price cycle. We find that OPCs worsened their non-oil primary balances substantially during 2003-2008 driven by an increase in primary spending. However, this trend was partially reversed when oil prices went down in 2009. We also find evidence that fiscal policy has been procyclical and has hence exacerbated the fluctuations in economic activity. In addition, we estimate that a small reduction in oil prices could lead to very large financing needs in the near future. Finally, we show that long-term fiscal sustainability positions in OPCs have worsened.
International Monetary Fund
Petroleum is now by far Timor-Leste’s largest source of income. If well harnessed, Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth offers the potential for a more prosperous future. This Selected Issues paper provides an overview of how Timor-Leste’s Petroleum Fund functions. It considers the extent of the country’s petroleum wealth, discusses the developmental challenges, and outlines key challenges ahead. The paper depicts the origins of the fund and details its operating mechanisms. It also assesses how the fund has performed to date.
International Monetary Fund
The recent rise in inflation in Timor–Leste has raised concerns about international competitiveness and the cost of living. After remaining relatively subdued for several years, inflation in Timor–Leste rose decisively over the past two years. Higher food prices account for most of the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) in 2006–07. In contrast, the pace of non-food CPI inflation decelerated slightly in 2007, to below 3.5 percent on average. Further, based on Q1 2008 data, the second-round impact of oil price increases on inflation is emerging.
International Monetary Fund

Timor–Leste’s initial efforts to develop a stable and healthy economy have been interrupted by the civil unrest of the past two years. The security situation remains fragile and an economic burden. The key challenge remains how to manage the abundant petroleum revenue to alleviate near-term social problems and develop a sustainable non-oil economy. Growth has rebounded in 2007, although the civil unrest continues to undermine the economy. Inflation has risen sharply, but remains low relative to regional comparators. Access to financial services remains limited and credit growth has stalled.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
In conjunction with its annual Article IV consultation with Japan, IMF staff prepared a background paper (Japan-Selected Issues) on a number of key topics. Two chapters of that paper dealt with the macroeconomic and fiscal implications of Japan's aging population. The authors-Hamid Faruqee, an Economist in the Research Department, and Martin Mühleisen, an Economist in the Asia and Pacific Department-speak with the IMF Survey about their findings.