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Mr. George M Kabwe, Elie Chamoun, Riaan van Greuning, Mowele Mohlala, and Ms. Julia Cardoso
Safeguards assessments are a key pillar of the risk management arrangements for IMF lending. Safeguards assessments aim to mitigate the risks of misuse of Fund resources and misreporting of program monetary data under Fund arrangements. Safeguards assessment reports are confidential and therefore the IMF Executive Board is provided with a periodic report on safeguards activities on a biennial basis, in addition to high-level summaries in member country staff reports on key findings and recommendations. This update on safeguards activity covers the period May 2017 to end-April 2019 (the period).
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
In response to a request from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) of Kuwait, a government finance statistics (GFS) technical assistance (TA) mission visited Kuwait City, Kuwait during April 29–May 3, 2018. This first GFS TA mission from the IMF’s Statistics Department (STA) aimed to assist the CSB staff in compiling fiscal data according to the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM 2014) and help them to issue this year’s GFS bulletin according to the GFSM 2014 classification. In addition, the mission discussed with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) the possibility of resuming the reporting of the GFS data to the Fund for surveillance and dissemination in Government Finance Statistics Yearbook (GFSY).
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic activity in the non-oil sector in Kuwait has continued to expand, albeit at a slower pace, reflecting the impact of lower oil prices. Nonhydrocarbon growth slowed from 5 percent to an estimated 3.5 percent in 2015, as higher uncertainty weighed on consumption. Labor market reforms and efforts to promote the role of the private sector are important to foster diversification and boost job creation for nationals. Better aligning labor market incentives is necessary to encourage nationals to take on private sector jobs and private firms to create opportunities for them.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Iraq’s First Review of the Three-Year Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) and Financing Assurances Review, and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance and Applicability of Performance Criteria (PCs). Two PCs at end September appear to have been met on the basis of preliminary unaudited data. One PC at end-June 2016 was missed. One continuous PC was missed. Completion of some structural benchmarks was delayed, but progress is being made for each. Hence, program performance has been mixed, but understandings on sufficient corrective actions have been reached to put the program back on track. The IMF staff recommends completion of the first review under the SBA and the financing assurances review and modification of the PCs and related rephrasing.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Iraq’s First and Second Reviews of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and Request for a Three-Year Stand-By Arrangement. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in Iraq’s budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with a mix of necessary fiscal adjustment and financing, maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg. The authorities started an SMP in November 2015 to establish a track record of policy credibility and pave the way to a possible IMF financing arrangement. Their performance under the SMP has been broadly satisfactory.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses the Iraqi authorities’ request for a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The authorities have requested an SMP to establish a track record of policy credibility to pave the way to a possible IMF financing arrangement. Under the SMP, the authorities will implement fiscal consolidation that will contain public expenditure in line with available revenue and financing, and aim to reduce the non-oil primary deficit by US$20 billion or 12 percent of non-oil GDP between 2013 and 2016. Under the SMP, agreement has also been reached on measures to strengthen public financial management, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, and financial sector stability.
Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes and Mr. Mehdi Raissi
This paper investigates the global macroeconomic consequences of falling oil prices due to the oil revolution in the United States, using a Global VAR model estimated for 38 countries/regions over the period 1979Q2 to 2011Q2. Set-identification of the U.S. oil supply shock is achieved through imposing dynamic sign restrictions on the impulse responses of the model. The results show that there are considerable heterogeneities in the responses of different countries to a U.S. supply-driven oil price shock, with real GDP increasing in both advanced and emerging market oil-importing economies, output declining in commodity exporters, inflation falling in most countries, and equity prices rising worldwide. Overall, our results suggest that following the U.S. oil revolution, with oil prices falling by 51 percent in the first year, global growth increases by 0.16 to 0.37 percentage points. This is mainly due to an increase in spending by oil importing countries, which exceeds the decline in expenditure by oil exporters.
Mr. Joshua Charap, Mr. Arthur Ribeiro da Silva, and Mr. Pedro C Rodriguez
The economic and environmental implications of energy subsidies have received renewed attention from policymakers and economists in recent years. Nevertheless there remains significant uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the impact of energy subsidies on energy consumption. In this paper we analyze a panel of cross-country data to explore the responsiveness of energy consumption to changes in energy prices and the implications of our findings for the debate on energy subsidy reform. Our findings indicate a long-term price elasticity of energy demand between -0.3 and -0.5, which suggests that countries can reap significant long-term benefits from the reform of energy subsidies. Our findings also indicate that short-term gains from subsidy reform are likely to be much smaller, which suggests the need for either a gradual approach to subsidy reform or for more generous safety nets in the short term.
Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
The GCC countries maintain a policy of open capital accounts and a pegged (or nearly-pegged) exchange rate, thereby reducing their freedom to run an independent monetary policy. This paper shows, however, that the pass-through of policy rates to retail rates is on the low side, reflecting the shallowness of money markets and the manner in which GCC central banks operate. In addition to policy rates, the GCC monetary authorities use reserve requirements, loan-to-deposit ratios, and other macroprudential tools to affect liquidity and credit. Nonetheless, a panel vector auto regression model suggests that U.S. monetary policy has a strong and statistically significant impact on broad money, non-oil activity, and inflation in the GCC region. Unanticipated shocks to broad money also affect prices but do not stimulate growth. Continued efforts to develop the domestic financial markets will increase interest rate pass-through and strengthen monetary policy transmission.
International Monetary Fund
The strong economic and financial position of Kuwait has improved further, but inflation has risen. The nation has made significant progress on the issues raised in the 2007 consultation. Kuwait’s integration into the global economy has been increasing in recent years. Global integration is underpinned by active membership in global and regional trade initiatives and an ongoing push to liberalize domestic regulations. Both the external current account and fiscal positions are projected to remain in large surplus, albeit at declining levels owing to the high import intensity of the planned investment projects.