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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Seychelles’ Fourth Review Under the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) and Request for Modification of Targets. Economic developments since the completion of the 2019 Article IV consultation and the third review under the PCI in June 2019 have been broadly in line with expectations. The program is largely on track. The 2020 budget recently submitted to the National Assembly is in line with the program and the major infrastructure and climate change related projects would be implemented within the fiscal parameters under the PCI. All quantitative targets for end-June 2019, the program’s fourth review test date, were met except for the primary fiscal surplus target, which was missed by a very small margin due to a delay in receipts from 2016 to 2017 sales of a telecom company. The economic outlook continues to be favorable. Downside risks to the outlook largely stem from possible external shocks, including weakness in the key tourism markets and global banks’ withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the prospects of growth in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). This case study seeks explanations for STP’s relative under-performance and draws lessons for the future. It compares past economic developments in the islands and recommends policies that could most effectively foster future growth in STP. Country-specific characteristics as well as weak institutions contributed to STP’s relative underperformance since independence. Initial conditions, particularly regarding human capital and natural resources, contributed to STP’s relative underperformance, especially in the first decade after independence. Experience in the four island-states suggests that fiscal discipline, revenue mobilization, and a more active private sector, particularly in the tourism sector, may be key to tap STP’s growth potential. Fiscal discipline is needed to contain the fiscal deficit and bring the debt to a sustainable level. Continuing to strengthen public financial management, including implementing multiannual fiscal framework as recommended by the IMF technical assistance, would help.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Seychelles’ Fourth and Fifth Reviews under the Extended Arrangement and Request for Modification and Waiver of Applicability of Performance Criteria. All performance criteria as of December 31, 2015, and June 30, 2016, were met, and the macroeconomic program remains broadly on track for the second half of the year. The structural agenda is proceeding, albeit with some technical delays. The IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ commitment to the goal of a steady reduction in public debt over the medium term reflected in the draft 2017 budget.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, Aliona Cebotari, Kevin Greenidge, and Geoffrey N. Keim
The paper investigates whether the macroeconomic effects of external devaluations have systematically different effects in small states, which are typically more open and less diversified than larger peers. Through several analytical approaches -- DSGE model, event study, and regression analysis -- it finds that the effects of devaluation on growth and external balances are not significantly different between small and large states, with both groups equally likely to experience expansionary or contractionary outcomes. However, the transmission channels are different: devaluations in small states are more likely to affect demand through expenditure compression, rather than expenditure-switching channels. In particular, consumption tends to fall more sharply in small states due to adverse income effects, thereby reducing import demand. Policy conclusions point to the importance of social safety nets, complementary wage and antiinflation policies, investment-boosting reforms, and attention to potential adverse balance sheet effects to ensure positive outcomes.
Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Mr. Guilherme Pedras, and Gabriel Presciuttini
International bond issuance by debut issuers has risen in recent years. The uptick was a result of both demand and supply factors. The search for yield and demand for portfolio diversification have resulted in demand-driven easy financing conditions. At the same time, rising financing needs for many debut issuers, coupled with reduced access to concessional financing, relatively undeveloped domestic markets, and a favorable interest rate environment have made international bonds an attractive financing alternative for many countries. As bonds issued in the international markets are typically denominated in hard currencies, have large volumes and a bullet structure, exposure to exchange rate and refinancing risk has increased. Therefore, risk-mitigating policy actions are needed to prepare for redemption, support debt sustainability, and secure adequate debt management capacity.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Seychelles’ Request for an Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). In the five years following the 2008 balance of payments and debt crisis, the authorities have successfully enacted a comprehensive program of reforms. Despite the success of the program, important risks and challenges remain. To face these challenges, the authorities have requested a successor EFF arrangement with the IMF. This program will help support their macroeconomic policies and protect reserve coverage over the extended period, while they carry out wide-ranging structural reforms necessary to support improvement in macroeconomic conditions, lock-in stabilization, and reduce the country’s vulnerabilities.
Mr. Alexander Culiuc
The paper estimates the impact of macroeconomic supply- and demand-side determinants of tourism, one of the largest components of services exports globally, and the backbone of many smaller economies. It applies the gravity model to a large dataset comprising the full universe of bilateral tourism flows spanning over a decade. The results show that the gravity model explains tourism flows better than goods trade for equivalent specifications. The elasticity of tourism with respect to GDP of the origin (importing) country is lower than for goods trade. Tourism flows respond strongly to changes in the destination country’s real exchange rate, along both extensive (tourist arrivals) and intensive (duration of stay) margins. OECD countries generally exhibit higher elasticties with respect to economic variables (GDPs of the two economies, real exchange rate, bilateral trade) due to the larger share of business travel. Tourism to small islands is less sensitive to changes in the country’s real exchange rate, but more susceptible to the introduction/removal of direct flights.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
On December 19, 2013, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the eighth and final review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Seychelles. The completion of the review enables a disbursement of SDR 3.3 million, which will bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 26.4 million. Strong policies have fostered economic growth, brightening Seychelles’ near-term outlook. With the completion of this review, the EFF arrangement comes to an end. The program’s key objective of placing the economy firmly on the path to external and fiscal sustainability has been achieved, based on the successful implementation of the debt restructuring, robust fiscal consolidation, and the resumption of growth.
International Monetary Fund
his paper reviews the recent application of the Fund’s policies and practices on sovereign debt restructuring. Specifically, the paper: • recaps in a holistic manner the various policies and practices that underpin the Fund's legal and policy framework for sovereign debt restructuring, including on debt sustainability, market access, financing assurances, arrears, private sector involvement (PSI), official sector involvement (OSI), and the use of legal instruments; • reviews how this framework has been applied in the context of Fund-supported programs and highlights the issues that have emerged in light of recent experience with debt restructuring; and • describes recent initiatives in various fora aimed at promoting orderly sovereign debt restructuring, highlighting differences with the Fund’s existing framework. Based on this stocktaking, the paper identifies issues that could be considered in further depth in follow-up work by staff to assess whether the Fund’s framework for debt restructuring should be adapted: • first, debt restructurings have often been too little and too late, thus failing to re-establish debt sustainability and market access in a durable way. Overcoming these problems likely requires action on several fronts, including (i) increased rigor and transparency of debt sustainability and market access assessments, (ii) exploring ways to prevent the use of Fund resources to simply bail out private creditors, and (iii) measures to alleviate the costs associated with restructurings; • second, while creditor participation has been adequate in recent restructurings, the current contractual, market-based approach to debt restructuring is becoming less potent in overcoming collective action problems, especially in pre-default cases. In response, consideration could be given to making the contractual framework more effective, including through the introduction of more robust aggregation clauses into international sovereign bonds bearing in mind the inter-creditor equity issues that such an approach may raise. The Fund may also consider ways to condition use of its financing more tightly to the resolution of collective action problems; • third, the growing role and changing composition of official lending call for a clearer framework for official sector involvement, especially with regard to non-Paris Club creditors, for which the modality for securing program financing commitments could be tightened; and • fourth, although the collaborative, good-faith approach to resolving external private arrears embedded in the lending into arrears (LIA) policy remains the most promising way to regain market access post-default, a review of the effectiveness of the LIA policy is in order in light of recent experience and the increased complexity of the creditor base. Consideration could also be given to extending the LIA policy to official arrears.