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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This paper on Colombia focuses on reforming energy pricing. Rising fiscal challenges in Colombia can risk derailing the government from their commitment to meet both its headline deficit target of 2.4 percent in 2019 and its structural deficit target by 2022, under the existing fiscal rule. The government is committed to embark on a reform strategy that aims at safeguarding the fiscal framework. Energy subsidy reform is one element of the government’s strategy to address fiscal pressures. Carefully designed reforms entail a gradual phasing out of subsidies in the case of fuel products and, in the case of electricity, an improvement in the targeting over the medium term. Illustrative simulations presented in this report highlight the fiscal and distributional impacts of different reform options. Simulations show that net fiscal gains could be achieved both for electricity and fuel products, while reducing distortions. The mission identified reform options to reduce energy subsidies while at the same time improve their targeting. The approach differs across sectors.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Article IV Consultation discusses that declining oil prices, US dollar appreciation, and limited access to international financing have worsened the fiscal, economic, and financial outlook. The focus of discussions was that despite the weak prospects there are still downside risks in the event that oil prices fall again, external financing becomes even more constrained, or confidence in the economy and the banking system begins to weaken. In the financial system, the main concern resides in a short-term risk of liquidity shortfalls, but credit quality concerns dominate over the medium term. The authorities’ policy response to the imbalances has been timely but still insufficient given the size of the shocks, the urgent nature of the vulnerabilities, and reduced foreign currency reserves. Real GDP is expected to contract significantly this year and next. In order to prevent liquidity risks in the financial system, the authorities should limit recourse to domestic financing and, as necessary, assist in a timely way banks that develop liquidity or capital shortfalls, as well as enhance crisis preparedness and contingency planning.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Research Summaries in this issue of the IMF Research Bulletin cover “Tax Capacity and Growth” (by Vitor Gaspar, Laura Jaramillo, and Philippe Wingender), and “U.S. Shale Revolution and Its Spillover Effects on the Global Economy” (Ravi Balakrishnan, Keiko Honjo, Akito Matsumoto, and Andrea Pescatori). The Q&A coauthored by Amadou Sy and Mariama Sow covers “Seven Questions about the Relationship between Country Finance and Governance.” A listing of recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from IMF Publications is included in the IMF Research Bulletin. Readers can also find news on free-to-view articles from IMF Economic Review and a call for conference papers in this issue of the Bulletin.
Andres Fernandez, Andres Gonzalez, and Diego Rodriguez
Fluctuations in commodity prices are an important driver of business cycles in small emerging market economies (EMEs). We document how these fluctuations correlate strongly with the business cycle in EMEs. We then embed a commodity sector into a multi-country EMEs’ business cycle model where exogenous fluctuations in commodity prices follow a common dynamic factor structure and coexist with other driving forces. The estimated model assigns to commodity shocks 42 percent of the variance in income, of which a considerable part is linked to the common factor. A further amplification mechanism is a ”spillover” effect from commodity prices to risk premia.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The economic outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean remains very challenging. Regional growth is projected to decline for a fifth consecutive year in 2015, dipping below 1 percent. Weakness is concentrated among South America's commodity exporters, where falling global commodity prices have compounded country-specific challenges. Meanwhile, growth is projected to be steady or stronger for most of the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, supported by lower oil bills for importers and robust economic recovery in the United States. The analysis in this report examines core challenges facing the region: the impact of lower commodity prices on fiscal and external positions, the drivers of the slowdown in investment, and the role of economic diversification for longer-term growth prospects.

International Monetary Fund
The December 2015 IMF Research Bulletin features a sampling of key research from the IMF. The Research Summaries in this issue look at “The Impact of Deflation and Lowflation on Fiscal Aggregates (Nicolas End, Sampawende J.-A. Tapsoba, Gilbert Terrier, and Renaud Duplay); and “Oil Exporters at the Crossroads: It Is High Time to Diversify” (Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov). Mahvash Saeed Qureshi provides an overview of the fifth Lindau Meeting in Economics in “Meeting the Nobel Giants.” In the Q&A column on “Seven Questions on Financial Frictions and the Sources of the Business Cycle, Marzie Taheri Sanjani looks at the driving forces of the business cycle and macroeconomic models. The top-viewed articles in 2014 from the IMF Economic Review are highlighted, along with recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and IMF publications.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

La recuperación mundial está en marcha, pero avanza a ritmos diferentes, con algunos mercados emergentes creciendo rápidamente y un crecimiento más lento en las economías avanzadas. El entorno macroeconómico actual ya ha permitido el regreso de condiciones financieras externas favorables y de elevados precios de las materias primas, una situación que se podría prolongar pero que no se prevé que sea permanente. En este contexto externo, la reactivación de América Latina y el Caribe está ocurriendo más rápido de lo esperado, pero su velocidad varía en cada país. En el informe, se mencionan los diferentes retos que enfrentan los países en materia de política mientras avanza la recuperación mundial. El capítulo 1 pasa revista a la situación mundial y las perspectivas para Estados Unidos y Canadá en especial; el capítulo 2 describe las perspectivas para América Latina y el Caribe. El capítulo 3 profundiza en los desafíos del retorno de las condiciones financieras holgadas. Con el alza de precios de las materias primas, estas condiciones son un viento a favor para muchos países de la región, pero también traen consigo riesgos que deben ser considerados por las autoridades.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

A multispeed global recovery is under way, with some emerging markets in the lead and the major advanced economies growing more slowly. This macroeconomic setting has brought a return to easy global financial conditions and high commodity prices-a situation likely to be sustained for some time but unlikely to be permanent. Against that external backdrop, the recovery in the Latin America and Caribbean region overall is advancing faster than anticipated, but moving at different speeds across countries. The report discusses the varying policy challenges that different countries face as the global recovery proceeds. Chapter 1 analyzes the global setting and the outlook for the United States and Canada in particular, while Chapter 2 focuses on the outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean. Chapter 3 looks in depth at the challenges arising from the return of easy external financial conditions. Together with high commodity prices, such conditions represent favorable "tailwinds" for many countries of the region, but also carry risks for policymakers to address.

Dominique Yves Dupont and Mr. V. Hugo Juan-Ramon
This paper examines the relations between fluctuations in real exchange rates among the major currencies and fluctuations in real commodity prices. Increased exchange rate volatility calls for a better understanding of these relations. To the best of our knowledge, no systematic study of those effects has been performed on a wide range of commodities, although Sjaastad and Scacciavillani (1993) have done so for gold. We build on their approach and construct a supply and demand multi-country model, with world market clearing, which incorporates speculative and non-speculative demands for inventories and “static” and “rational” expectations. We estimate the model using several econometric methods on monthly data from January 1972 to January 1992 for 65 commodity prices. The paper finds that, for a small group of commodities, the dollar-denominated price is significantly influenced by the deutsche mark and the yen. The empirical results show that geographical proximity matters, and that supply and demand elasticities are important in determining the commodity price in world markets above and beyond the size of the share of those commodities in world trade.
International Monetary Fund
The sensitivity of secondary sovereign loan market returns to three classes of economic news is estimated in the arbitrage pricing theory framework. Returns are characterized by a limited response to unexpected changes in procyclical U.S. aggregates. Shocks to country-specific balance of payment indicators do not impact debt prices. Announcements of policy changes by creditors and third parties that presage changes in future lending induce large debt price changes. The failure of the data to meet the empirical arbitrage pricing theory restrictions and the large proportion of return variance unexplained by macroeconomic fundamentals highlight the differences between corporate and sovereign securities.