International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Aruba managed to contain the pandemic in the first months of the outbreak but experienced a resurgence of new infections in the summer. The economic impact of COVID-19 is particularly severe given Aruba’s high dependency on tourism. While the authorities’ swift response has helped contain the human and economic damage, it could not avoid a severe GDP contraction.
This Coordinated Direct Investment Survey Guide (Guide) has been prepared to assist economies in participating in the Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS). The CDIS is being conducted under the auspices of the Statistics Department of the IMF across a wide range of economies. The survey is conducted simultaneously by all participating economies; uses consistent definitions; and encourages best practices in collecting, compiling, and disseminating data on direct investment positions. The CDIS is thus an important tool in capturing world totals and the geographic distribution of direct investment positions, thereby contributing to important new understandings of the extent of globalization, and improving the overall quality of direct investment data worldwide. As of the writing of this updated Guide, more than 100 economies participate in the CDIS.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Aruba has been recovering from a severe double-dip recession. The economy faced two major shocks over the past five years—the global financial crisis and shutdown of the Valero oil refinery in 2012. After a strong recovery in 2013 with growth reaching 4.75 percent, the pace of activity moderated in 2014. In 2015, growth is projected to rise to 2.25 percent. The tourism sector—the mainstay of the Aruban economy—is envisaged to grow, albeit at a slower rate. Moreover, domestic demand is slated to recover notably amid subsiding policy uncertainty and as key public-private partnership projects move forward.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic output in Aruba remains 12 percent below its pre-crisis level, with recovery slower than others in the Caribbean region. The non-oil current account (CA) balance, which mostly reflects developments in the tourism sector, has improved since mid-2000 reaching a balanced position in 2012. The overall CA balance, however, after being in surplus for years, showed volatilities in recent years reflecting oil-sector developments. In 2012, it recorded a surplus of 5 percent of GDP. In 2013, real output is projected to grow by 1¼ percent. Robust tourism growth and some pickup in consumption from projected deflation will support the subdued near-term recovery.
The two newly autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands face substantial challenges. Growth has been low, and unemployment high. The current account deficit has widened to worrisome levels, increasing the vulnerability of the peg to the U.S. dollar and stimulating calls for dollarizing or dissolving the currency union. A substantial adjustment is needed to bring the underlying current account deficit to historically sustainable levels over the medium term. This could be facilitated by measures to restrain credit growth, supported by fiscal consolidation.
The Netherlands has a long-standing legal framework concerning Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism preventive measures, which dates back to 1993. The legal framework for Customer Due Diligence is generally adequate; however, a number of provisions are problematic. The Dutch system of preventive measures emphasizes the risk-based approach, complemented by a principles-based approach. The principles-based approach should be better supported with guidance for financial institutions. Although most elements of the Suspicious Transaction Report reporting requirements are in place, the reporting regime has one minor legal shortcoming and raises effectiveness concerns.
Aruba has an open economy with a history of stability-oriented macroeconomic policies. Adverse external shocks have led to a decline in tourism and disruption of oil refinery operations. Serious fiscal challenges need to be addressed and a fiscal adjustment program is needed to safeguard the sustainability of the public finances. Expenditure cuts and the central bank’s switch from a credit ceiling to an unremunerated reserves requirement as key policy tool is commended. The new monetary policy framework will likely increase the challenges to prudential regulation and supervision.
This paper discusses detailed assessment of compliance with the Basel Core Principles for effective banking supervision for the Kingdom of the Netherlands—Aruba. Aruba’s offshore banking sector is small by international standards, with only two institutions registered. The mission also recommends that the Central Bank of Aruba (CBA) meet with management to better understand their plans for their Aruban operations and their financial results. Aruba remains open to foreign investment and migrant workers, who make up 40 percent of the population and have been key contributors to economic growth.
The 2008 Article IV Consultation analyzes the promise of fiscal discipline and debt relief that has boosted investor confidence and growth in the Kingdom of the Netherlands—Netherlands Antilles. Although exports moderated temporarily, tourism was a bright spot owing to improvements in competitiveness as a result of infrastructure investments, and cost controls from immigration. Executive Directors encouraged the authorities to take the opportunity provided by the large debt relief from the Netherlands government under the dissolution agreement to set the budget and the economy on a more sustainable footing.