International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Article IV Consultation discussions with the Republic of Palau focused on ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, making potential growth more resilient and sustainable, and preserving financial stability and facilitating credit extension. The consultation discussions also highlight that the main economic policy priorities for Palau are to develop a medium-term fiscal framework and strategy to help manage fiscal risks and the expiration of the Compact grants, to raise public investment, to protect social spending, to make growth more resilient and sustainable through other reforms, and to preserve financial stability and integrity. The current fiscal policy approach is based on the legal requirement to maintain a balanced or surplus cash flow for various parts of the budget. While this fiscal policy strategy has resulted in overall budget surpluses and a decline in net debt, the move to a medium-term fiscal framework and strategy would help Palau to address future challenges.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper describes Palau’s fiscal challenges and policy options to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability. Palau relies heavily on compact grants, and without continued fiscal consolidation over the medium term, the fiscal position will become unsustainable after these grants expire in FY2024. The fiscal sustainability analysis uses an intertemporal budget constraint model to show that reducing the current deficit excluding grants by about 8 percentage points of GDP during FY2014–19 would ensure Palau’s long-term fiscal sustainability. The paper also discusses the role of tourism in Palau and identifies policy priorities to further promote this sector and sustain growth.
This 2012 Article IV Consultation reports that Palau’s growth is expected to be favorable at 3 percent in FY2012 and to average 2 percent over the medium term. The outlook is clouded by an unsettled global environment, and downside risks dominate. Highly dependent on tourism, imports of food and fuel, and foreign aid, Palau remains vulnerable to external headwinds and has limited policy space to counter these risks. The authorities have made commendable efforts to reduce the current fiscal deficit markedly during FY2010–11, but the deficit remains sizable.
The economy has recovered following the stabilization of commodity and food prices. The Article IV discussions focused on policies to secure a sustained recovery and achieve long-term economic and fiscal sustainability. The recovery will likely remain weak, and the consolidated fiscal surplus is expected to decline in the near term. Long-term sustainability could be achieved through increasing the fiscal surplus. The reliability, coverage, and timeliness of economic statistics need to be improved to guide policies. The global crisis has increased the urgency of major fiscal and structural reforms.
The key findings of the Republic of Palau’s 2010 Article IV Consultation shows that the single most important issue in Palau remains fiscal policy, including its effect on medium-term growth, as fiscal consolidation proceeds. The global financial crisis followed on the heels of a massive terms-of-trade shock, leading to a sharp curtailment of foreign direct investment and private credit. Tourism tumbled following an airline bankruptcy, and construction activity fell as major infrastructure projects reached completion.
The report discusses the needed fiscal adjustment under the no Compact renewal and Compact renewal scenarios, respectively. The report also discusses the IMF estimates and projections of the Republic of Palau's selected social indicators, 1995 and 2000–07; gross domestic product during 2002–07; national government debt and debt service, 1999/00–2006/07; national government budgetary operations, 2001/02–2007/08; national government expenditure, 2001/02–2006/07; details of assets and liabilities; operating accounts of the national development bank of palau; financial positions of the civil service pension fund, 2000/01; 2006/07, etc.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix describes Palau’s financial sector, its recent performance, and developments in regulatory reform. The paper considers illustrative scenarios of possible outcomes for public spending levels and growth under different assumptions with respect to future grants and the long-term value of government assets held in the Compact Trust Fund. Sensitivity of the results to the rate of return on assets is considered. The paper also covers recent fiscal performance, revenue and expenditure reforms, and some financing issues.
This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that Palau’s economic growth has picked up in recent years while inflation has been low. After several years of slow growth, real GDP grew by 5 percent in FY2004 and FY2005, driven by a steady increase in visitor arrivals with the start of new airline routes and hotels. Economic prospects in the near term remain upbeat but are uncertain in the longer term. Tourism will continue to be a main source of near-term growth while ongoing externally financed large infrastructure projects will support construction and other services.
Real output growth of the Republic of the Marshall Islands appears to have slowed sharply in FY2003 and again in FY2004. The 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic activity has been hampered by delays in implementing an upgraded public works program and the closure of a large privately owned tuna processing plant. The fiscal position deteriorated in FY2004. This deterioration reflects, on the revenue side, a decline in grants aimed at infrastructure projects owing in part to delays in initiating projects, lower income tax collection, and volatility in nontax revenue.
The staff report for the 2004 Article IV Consultation on the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) focuses on economic developments and policies. Fiscal and structural reforms are needed for the FSM to achieve self-sufficiency. The large government sector will be increasingly unsustainable given coming declines in grants. Fiscal adjustment will need to comprise both expenditure cuts and revenue measures. Structural reform priorities should include improvements to the legal framework for land use, foreign investment, and lending.