Jihad Alwazir, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Dongyeol Lee, Niamh Sheridan, and Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello
Access to financial services in the small states of the Pacific is being eroded. Weaknesses in Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism compliance in the context of high levels of remittances are contributing to banks’ decisions to withdraw corresponding banking relationships and close bank accounts of money transfer operators. In this paper, we gather evidence on these developments in the small states of the Pacific, discuss the main drivers, and the potentially negative impact on the financial sector and macroeconomy. We then identify the collective efforts needed to address the consequences of withdrawal of corresponding banking relationships and outline policy measures to help the affected countries mitigate the impact.
Mr. Yiqun Wu, Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, and Niamh Sheridan
Regional integration of Pacific Island countries (PICs) with Australia, New Zealand, and emerging Asia has increased over the last two decades. PICs have become more exposed to the region’s business cycles, and spillovers from regional economies are more important for PICs than from advanced economies outside the region. While strong linkages with Asia would help in the event of a global downturn, PICs remain particularly vulnerable to global commodity price shocks. In this paper, we use a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) for each PIC to gauge the impact of global and regional growth spillovers. The analysis reveals that the impact on PICs’ growth from an adverse oil shock would be substantial, and in some cases even larger than from a negative global demand shock. We also assess the spillovers to the financial sector from the deterioration of the global outlook. PICs should continue to rebuild policy buffers and implement growth-oriented structural reforms to ensure sustained and inclusive growth.
The Pacific island region has considerable potential for development, especially in the areas of tourism, fisheries, forestry, mining, and agriculture. However, these countries face many challenges to developing their economies and raising living standards, including their small size, distance from major markets, and vulnerability to natural disasters. The first half of this book provides an assessment of regional issues. The second half includes country-specific chapters, which provide an overview of each countries economic performance since independence and the main challenges ahead.