PRGT-eligible members make considerable use of Fund concessional financing. Since 2010, 56 percent of Fund arrangements have involved a PRGT-facility.
This paper examines a number of issues raised by Executive Directors and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) since the issuance to the Board of the June 2015 staff paper on enhancing the financial safety net for developing countries (IMF, 2015a).
This paper concludes that there is a need to clarify guidance in some areas pertaining to PRGT policies. This will be done through an early revision of the LIC Handbook, which is already underway. The paper does not propose changes to the Fund’s concessional facilities at this juncture. A comprehensive review of PRGT (Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust) resources and facilities is planned for 2018.
Maximilien Kaffo Melou, Mariusz A. Sumlinski, and Chris Geiregat
We analyse the debt dynamics in countries that benefited from the HIPC/MDRI debt relief initiatives with a view to applying a probabilistic approach to estimating future debt paths for those countries. We extend the probabilistic approach to public debt sustainability analysis (DSA) proposed by Celasun et al. (2006). This required addressing the twin challenges of a the time period that is too short to conduct country-by-country estimations and the presence, suggested by econometric evidence, of a break–point around 2006 in the dynamics of debt accumulation. To overcome the data limitations, we pool the data and estimate a panel VAR, thus taking advantage of the large cross–section. To account for the break–point, while applying a probabilistic approach to forecasting debt paths, we use the post–break–point information so as not to bias the forecasts of debt paths. As an illustration of the approach we apply the methodology to eight countries with different debt profiles.
This paper investigates Central America's external linkages over the last fifteen years of increased integration in light of the 2008-09 global recession. Using structural VAR models, it is found that a one percent shock to U.S. growth shifts economic activity in Central America by 0.7 to 1 percent, on average. Spillovers from global shocks and the rest of the region also affect activity in some countries. Spillovers are mostly transmitted through advanced country financial conditions and fluctuations in external demand for Central American exports. Shocks to advanced economies associated with the 2008-09 financial crisis lowered economic activity in the region by 4 to 5 percent, on average, accounting for a majority of the observed slowdown. The impact was almost twice as large as elasticities estimated on pre-crisis data would have predicted. These results underscore the importance of operating credible policy frameworks that enable a countercyclical policy response to external shocks.
In episodes of significant banking distress or perceived systemic risk to the financial system, policymakers have often opted for issuing blanket guarantees on bank liabilities to stop or avoid widespread bank runs. In theory, blanket guarantees can prevent bank runs if they are credible. However, guarantee could add substantial fiscal costs to bank restructuring programs and may increase moral hazard going forward. Using a sample of 42 episodes of banking crises, this paper finds that blanket guarantees are successful in reducing liquidity pressures on banks arising from deposit withdrawals. However, banks' foreign liabilities appear virtually irresponsive to blanket guarantees. Furthermore, guarantees tend to be fiscally costly, though this positive association arises in large part because guarantees tend to be employed in conjunction with extensive liquidity support and when crises are severe.
This paper discusses request from Honduras’ authorities for a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). Honduras has had three previous Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangements, the last of which ended in February 2007. The most recent PRGF program focused on fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. However, the program went off track owing to large wage increases granted in 2006, including a four-year agreement with teachers. The authorities are now requesting a 12-month SBA covering economic policies through December 2008. In IMF staff’s view, the authorities’ program appropriately addresses emerging imbalances.
This paper provides an update on the delivery of HIPC Initiative debt relief by non- Paris Club official bilateral creditors and proposes measures to increase their participation. It finds that non-Paris Club creditors have provided about one third of the total HIPC Initiative debt relief expected from them, with significant variations among creditors. Although the response rate to the survey sent by staffs of the Bank and the Fund to creditors was higher than in previous years, the information received is still limited and partial, and the estimate of debt relief delivered remains preliminary.
In the IMF staff’s view, Honduras’s debt is subject to a moderate risk of distress. The framework follows a methodology for assessing the risk of debt distress in low-income countries (LICs), guided by indicative, country-specific external debt burden thresholds derived from the empirical finding that sustainable debt levels for LICs increase with the quality of policies and institutions. The debt sustainability analysis (DSA) is based on various assumptions. The evolution of the domestic debt has also improved. Two major exogenous factors and one policy assumption underlie the macroeconomic framework of the baseline scenario.
The paper discusses the consideration of Honduras’s Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). The interim relief provided under the enhanced HIPC Initiative has allowed the government to increase social spending. Controlling the public sector wage bill and maintaining strong revenue collection is critical for sustaining a stable macroeconomic framework and adequate poverty reduction efforts. Efforts are also needed to reduce vulnerabilities and improve the resilience to external shocks by introducing more flexibility into the exchange rate regime.