This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that Mauritius is pursuing an ambitious strategy to foster inclusive growth and reach the high-income country milestone. Several structural challenges, notably, a shortage of suitably skilled workers, an aging population, and declining productivity and cost competitiveness confront Mauritius in meeting these goals. The discussions focused on preserving fiscal sustainability, regaining external competitiveness, and maintaining financial integrity and stability. Several steps have been undertaken to boost skill development, improve the business climate, and build innovation capacity. On the expenditure side, economic activity is expected to be spurred in the near term by public spending on infrastructure projects and sustained in the medium term as those projects and productivity-enhancing reforms improve private-sector competitiveness. It is recommended to pursue fiscal consolidation from the forthcoming budget FY2019/20 to build fiscal credibility and set public debt firmly on a declining path into the medium term.
Francisco Arizala, Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia, Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides, and Mustafa Yenice
This paper examines the growth performance of sub-Saharan African countries since 1960 through the lens of growth turning points (accelerations and decelerations) and periods of sustained growth (growth spells). Growth accelerations are generally associated with improved external conditions, increased investment and trade openness, declines in inflation, better fiscal balances, and improvements in the institutional environment. Transitioning from growth accelerations to growth spells often requires additional efforts beyond what is needed to trigger an acceleration. Growth spells are sustained by fiscal policy that prevents excessive public debt accumulation, monetary policy geared toward low inflation, outward-oriented trade policies, and structural policies that reduce market distortions, as well as supportive external environment and improvements in democratic institutions. Overall, determinants of growth spells in sub-Saharan Africa are different from those in the rest of the emerging and developing countries.
India embarked on reintegration with the world economy in the early 1990s. At first, a certain limited opening took place emphasising equity flows by certain kinds of foreign investors. This opening has had myriad interesting implications in terms of both microeconomics and macroeconomics. A dynamic process of change in the economy and in economic policy then came about, with a co-evolution between the system of capital controls, macroeconomic policy, and the internationalisation of firms including the emergence of Indian multinationals.Through this process, de facto openness has risen sharply. De facto openness has implied a loss of monetary policy autonomy when exchange rate pegging was attempted. The exchange rate regime has evolved towards greater flexibility.
Mauritius’ 2009 Article IV Consultation discusses economic developments and policies. Output growth has been slowed from 4.2 percent per year in 2008 to less than 2 percent in 2009, as key drivers of growth have been contracted. Mauritius’ growth prospects depend heavily on the global economy, especially the EU. Inflation has fallen to the low single digits as a result of lower global food and commodity prices and the slowdown of the domestic economy. The current account deficit has narrowed as lower imports have more than offset the contraction of external demand.
Applying commonly used vector autoregression (VAR) techniques, this paper investigates the transmission mechanism of monetary policy on output and prices for Mauritius, using data for 1999-2009. The results show that (i) an unexpected monetary policy tightening-an increase in the Bank of Mauritius policy interest rate-leads to a decline in prices and output but the effect on output is weaker; (ii) an unexpected decrease in the money supply or an unexpected increase in the nominal effective exchange rate result in a decrease in prices; and (iii) variations of the policy variables account for small a percentage of the fluctuations in output and prices. Taken together, these results suggest a rather weak monetary policy transmission mechanism. Finally, we find some differences in the transmission mechanism depending on whether core or headline consumer price index is used in the estimations.
In this paper we first explain why most microstates (countries with less than 2 million inhabitants) have gained independence only in the last 30 years. Despite the higher costs and risks microstates face, their ability to better accommodate local preferences combined with a more integrated world economy probably explains why the benefits of independence have risen. We explain why microstates at independence have chosen either dollarization, currency board arrangements, or fixed exchange rates rather than more flexible forms of exchange rate systems. We then, using the Geweke-Hajvassiliou-Keane multivariate normal simulator, model empirically the determinants of each of the different fixed exchange rate regimes in microstates and analyze the policy implications.
We assess the competitiveness of Mauritius in recent years using two approaches. First, we estimate the difference between the equilibrium and the actual real exchange rate using four methods: the macroeconomic balance approach, the single-equation fundamentals approach, the capital-enhanced approach, and the external sustainability approach. The methods consistently suggest that at the end of 2007 the exchange rate was aligned with its equilibrium value. Second, we undertake a comparative analysis of structural competitiveness indicators and find that Mauritius often fares better on business climate than other small island economies and high-growth Asian economies. Nevertheless, there are areas for improvement.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the external competitiveness of Mauritius over the period 1980–2007, with particular attention to the most recent years. The paper estimates the equilibrium real exchange rate using the macroeconomic balance approach, the single-equation equilibrium exchange rate approach, and the capital-enhanced equilibrium exchange rate approach. A wealth of structural competitiveness indicators are also analyzed. The findings indicate that the real exchange rate at the end of 2007 was broadly in line with its equilibrium value.
Mr. William E. Alexander, Mr. John Cady, and Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia
The Data Dissemination Initiative was launched in the mid-1990s as part of a broader internationally-agreed-upon initiative to strengthen transparency and promote good governance practices by establishing standards and codes. Ten years later, the initiative is viewed as an integral part of the international financial architecture, and is considered to have improved the functioning of international financial markets and contributed to global financial stability. This volume reviews certain aspects of the development of and experience with the initiative over the past decade, and concludes by reflecting on potential challenges ahead and possible enhancements.
The empirical study shows that the equilibrium real exchange rate in Mauritius has been affected by the terms of trade, as well as by other fundamental determinants. It assesses the challenges posed to Mauritius’s trade performance by the expiration of the preferential trade arrangements. It examines the empirical relationship among domestic prices, money, foreign prices, and the nominal exchange rate in Mauritius. The paper highlights Mauritius’s inflation, monetary and exchange rate policies and instruments, and also presents and estimates a model for the determination of domestic prices.