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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Belize focused on structural reforms to raise growth and social inclusion; strengthening resilience to natural disasters; balanced medium-term fiscal consolidation; tax reform; and strengthening financial oversight and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism actions. Public debt remains above 90 percent of gross domestic product, the current account deficit is projected to remain large over the medium term, and international reserves are just below three months of imports of goods and services. The pace of structural reform has been slow. Downside risks, including from slower US growth, natural disasters, crime, and renewed pressures on correspondent banking relationships could weaken growth and financial stability. Belize is adapting its tax regime in response to concerns from multilateral institutions regarding potentially harmful features. Sustaining Belize’s recent economic expansion, spurring private investment, and facilitating structural diversification hinges on strengthening the business environment.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper provides an overview of Belize’s tourism sector and main achievements and discusses the country’s comparative advantages and bottlenecks in tourism. It also analyzes the impact of structural and institutional reforms on tourist arrivals. The outturns in tourism have significantly exceeded targets set in the authorities’ National Sustainable Tourism Masterplan (NSTMP). The implementation of the NSTMP reforms has supported the tourism sector’s expansion. In order to guide the development of the tourism sector, the NSTMP 2011 proposes reforms and targets to propel Belize into an internationally recognized tourist destination by 2030. The emergence of the shared economy business model has also brought new challenges, in addition to opportunities. The benefits of the peer-to-peer accommodation available to customers on digital platforms include the expansion of tourism product, service, and sector offerings; improved access to market; and opportunities for income generation. It is imperative that reforms in the near term should focus on addressing the impact of recurring natural hazards, infrastructure bottlenecks, fortifying the institutional and governance framework, reducing crime, and mitigating concerns relating to the shared economy.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize’s economic growth has slowed over the last five years, following decades of outperforming regional peers. As in other countries in the region, a central challenge is exiting the cycle of low growth and elevated public debt. Belize’s 2017 debt rescheduling provided cash flow relief. In March 2017, the government reached a restructuring agreement with private external bondholders on its US$526 million bond (about 30 percent of GDP).1 As part of the agreement, the authorities committed to tighten the fiscal stance by 3.0 percentage points in FY2017/18 and to maintain a primary surplus of 2.0 percent of GDP for the subsequent three years. The authorities are delivering on these commitments and have made progress in implementing recent Article IV recommendations (Annex I).
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that adverse developments negatively impacted the Belizean economy in 2016, with strong expansion of tourism the only bright spot. Output is estimated to have contracted by 0.8 percent in 2016, reflecting a continued slowdown in oil production and agriculture. Fish and citrus production were hit by diseases. Growth in tourism was facilitated by improved airlift, marketing and new foreign direct investment projects. Unemployment increased to 11.1 percent in September 2016, from 10.2 percent a year earlier. Growth is projected at just under 2 percent over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses key issues of the Belize economy. The economic condition of Belize is characterized by sluggish growth and a weak fiscal stance, which have put public debt on an unsustainable path. Social and poverty challenges remain significant. The unemployment rate remains high compared with its 2008 level of 8 percent, despite a reduction to 12.1 percent in September 2014 from 14.2 percent in September 2013. Per capita GDP remains far below its regional peers. This paper also focuses on measures that would signal credible commitment to fiscal consolidation, strengthen the financial system, and boost economic, growth taking into account constraints on human and financial resources.
Ms. Magda E. Kandil
The paper investigates asymmetry in the allocation of aggregate demand shocks between real output growth and price inflation over the business cycle in a sample of fifteen Caribbean countries. In most countries, the evidence indicates the existence of structural constraints, implying that positive demand shocks feed predominantly into prices while negative demand shocks mainly affect output. The high variability of aggregate demand in Caribbean countries, frequently exposed to shocks that are exacerbated by pro-cyclical policy stance, tends to create an upward bias on inflation and a downward bias on real output growth, on average, over time. The analysis highlights the benefits of eliminating structural rigidities responsible for asymmetric real and inflationary effects and points to the dangers of procyclical macroeconomic policies that exacerbate the adverse effects of demand variability.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This IMF staff report on Belize’s 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights economic developments and macroeconomic outlook. Macroeconomic developments in 2012 were underpinned by robust output growth but clouded by uncertainties surrounding the debt restructuring and growth prospects of major trading partners. New provisioning, and loan classification standards implemented by the central bank at end-2011 have resulted in declining nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the banking system and improving provisioning. NPLs remain high at 20 percent of total loans at end-2012, with heavy concentration in one domestic and some international banks. In compliance with the new prudential measures, banks have been required to write off bad loans within 3–5 years.
International Monetary Fund
Belize’s economy is projected to decelerate in 2009 owing to the global downturn. Real GDP growth is projected at 1 percent, reflecting the impact of declining tourism, remittances, and foreign direct investment inflows. Executive Directors have welcomed the broadly favorable economic performance in 2008, and have commended the authorities’ commitment to pursue sound macroeconomic and financial sector policies to manage near-term risks. Directors have also emphasized that strong macroeconomic policies are necessary to underpin this exchange rate regime and help raise international reserves to a comfortable level.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for Belize’s use of Fund Resources and Request for Emergency Assistance is examined. Economic growth has been sustained largely by rising oil production, while inflation has remained under control. Despite rising oil production, economic growth has been low in 2007, in part because of the impact of Hurricane Dean. The authorities are confident that the banking system is stable and adequately capitalized, and largely insulated from international market turmoil.
International Monetary Fund
CARTAC, the second of the regional technical assistance centers, was created with singular emphasis on ownership of technical assistance by the beneficiary countries. To this end, it was structured as a UNDP project with the IMF as Executing Agency and with a Steering Committee empowered to give strategic guidance to the program and select its senior staff from short lists provided by the IMF. With the spread of the RTAC modality, the IMF has sought to bring the Centers' activities within the ambit of overall resource planning for technical assistance, ensure consistency with the institution's view on priorities for technical assistance in the countries concerned, and tighten quality control through backstopping. This has created the potential for conflict with the relative independence that CARTAC has enjoyed from its inception. The conclusion in this report, however, is that alignment with the IMF does not necessarily undermine country ownership and that the Steering Committee can play a pivotal role in defusing any tension that may arise.