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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the long-run economic impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom under two distinct assumptions for the post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. These illustrative scenarios entail different degrees of higher trade costs, a more restricted European Union migration regime and reduced foreign inward investment. A standard multicountry and multisector computable general equilibrium model is used to quantify the impact of higher trade barriers. There is substantial sectoral heterogeneity in the impact, and regions with higher concentrations of the more affected sectors are likely to confront greater losses. The empirical analysis suggests the speed of sectoral labor relocation across sectors has been relatively low in the UK. Irrespective of these empirical estimates, policies, such as retraining, would be critical to facilitate faster adjustment of the economy to the post-Brexit equilibrium thereby helping to minimize the associated costs to individuals and in aggregate.
Dongyeol Lee, Huan Zhang, and Chau Nguyen
Pacific island countries are highly vulnerable to various natural disasters which are destructive, unpredictable and occur frequently. The frequency and scale of these shocks heightens the importance of medium-term economic and fiscal planning to minimize the adverse impact of disasters on economic development. This paper identifies the intensity of natural disasters for each country in the Pacific based on the distribution of damage and population affected by disasters, and estimates the impact of disasters on economic growth and international trade using a panel regression. The results show that “severe” disasters have a significant and negative impact on economic growth and lead to a deterioration of the fiscal and trade balance. We also find that the negative impact on growth is stronger for more intense disasters. Going further this paper proposes a simple and consistent method to adjust IMF staff’s economic projections and debt sustainability analysis for disaster shocks for the Pacific islands. Better incorporating the economic impact of natural disasters in the medium- and long-term economic planning would help policy makers improve fiscal policy decisions and to be better adapted and prepared for natural disasters.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses selected issues related to the economy of Thailand. The economy of Thailand is largely dependent on China. A 1 percent decline in China’s GDP lowers Thailand’s output by about 0.2 percent. Population aging is another major issue in Thailand. This Association of Southeast Asian Nations country will face the dual challenge of increasing the coverage of the social security system and ensuring its long-term sustainability. Thailand’s financial sector has expanded rapidly over the last decade, and important changes in its structure have taken place. While corporate debt has remained broadly stable, household debt has increased to one of the highest levels among emerging markets, raising concerns about household debt overhang.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on West African Economic and Monetary Union presents external stability assessment report. The current account deficit declined in 2014. Although gross international reserve coverage has increased slightly, part of the current account deficit has been financed by a decline in commercial banks’ net foreign assets. Contingent on the implementation of government’s consolidation plans, and helped by a favorable oil price outlook, the current account deficit would further gradually decline and be matched by enough financial inflows in the medium term. According to various metrics, the real exchange rate appears to be broadly aligned with fundamentals. International reserve coverage should increase to provide stronger buffers against immediate short-term risks. Structural competitiveness and investment efficiency improvements will be essential to ensure that the planned large investment programs translate into growth and export gains as well as increased private inflows into the region.
Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, Ezequiel Cabezon, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
The small states of the Asia and Pacific region face unique challenges in raising their growth potential and living standards relative to other small states due to their small populations, geographical isolation and dispersion, narrow export and production bases, exposure to shocks, and heavy reliance on aid. Higher fixed government costs, low access to credit by the private sector, and capacity constraints are also key challenges. The econometric analysis confirms that the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have underperformed relative to their peers over the last 20 years. Although these countries often face more limited policy tools, policies do matter and can further help build resilience and raise potential growth, as evidenced in the recent business cycle. The Asia and Pacific small states should continue rebuilding buffers and improve the composition of public spending in order to foster inclusive growth. Regional solutions should also continue to be pursued.
International Monetary Fund
The small states of the Asia and Pacific region face unique challenges in raising their growth potential and living standards. These countries are particularly vulnerable because of their small populations, geographical isolation and dispersion, narrow export and production bases, lack of economies of scale, limited access to international capital markets, exposure to shocks (including climate change), and heavy reliance on aid. In providing public services, they face higher fixed government costs relative to other states because public services must be provided regardless of their small population size. Low access to credit by the private sector is an impediment to inclusive growth. Capacity constraints are another key challenge. The small states also face more limited policy tools. Five out of 13 countries do not have a central bank and the scope for diversifying their economies is narrow. Given their large development needs, fiscal policies have been, at times, pro-cyclical. Within the Asia-Pacific small states group, the micro states are subject to more vulnerability and macroeconomic volatility than the rest of the Asia-Pacific small states.
Mr. Harris Selod, Mr. Klaus W. Deininger, and Mr. Rabah Arezki