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Charles Cohen, S. M. Ali Abbas, Myrvin Anthony, Tom Best, Mr. Peter Breuer, Hui Miao, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, and Eriko Togo
The COVID-19 crisis may lead to a series of costly and inefficient sovereign debt restructurings. Any such restructurings will likely take place during a period of great economic uncertainty, which may lead to protracted negotiations between creditors and debtors over recovery values, and potentially even relapses into default post-restructuring. State-contingent debt instruments (SCDIs) could play an important role in improving the outcomes of these restructurings.
Ding Ding, Samira Kalla, Mr. Manuel Rosales Torres, and Abdoul Karim Sidibé
The pervasive use of tax incentives is costly for the Caribbean countries, yet the benefits seem limited. Better policy coordination at the regional level is needed to help overcome the collective action problems and generate more revenue to support the much-needed infrastructure investment. Using the region’s Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) programs as an example, we also show that a price-quantity coordination mechanism can help achieve an efficient outcome with greater CBI incomes for member countries.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper presents IMF’s 2019 Discussion on Common Policies of Member Countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). ECCU’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated from 3/4 percent in 2017 to 3 3/4 percent in 2018, reflecting buoyancy in the tourism sector, sizable Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) inflows, and a recovery from the 2017 hurricanes in Anguilla and Dominica, which were supported by large public investments in reconstruction. Fiscal deficits increased in 2018–2019, but they have remained moderate. Efforts are needed to streamline, and re-balance tax incentives based on clear principles consistent with international best practices. External imbalances are sizable and significant financial sector vulnerabilities affect both banks and non-banks. Growth is projected to gradually moderate toward its long-term average of 2 1/4 percent as the cyclical momentum normalizes and CBI inflows ease. These trends would also contribute to wider fiscal deficits, ending the downward drift in public debt dynamics. The outlook is clouded by downside risks, including a possible intensification of natural disasters and financial sector weaknesses.
Aliona Cebotari and Karim Youssef
Natural disasters are a source of economic risks in many countries, especially in smaller and lower-income states, and ex-ante preparedness is needed to manage the risks. The paper discusses sovereign experience with disaster insurance as a key instrument to mitigate the risks; proposes ways to judge the adequacy of insurance; and considers ways to enhance its use by vulnerable countries. The paper especially aims to inform policy decisions on disaster insurance. Through simulations of natural disasters and various insurance options, we find that sovereign decisions on optimal risk transfer involve balancing trade-offs between growth and debt, based on government risk preferences and country risk exposure. The choice of optimal insurance for smaller countries turns out to be more constrained by cost considerations due to their higher exposure, likely resulting in underinsurance; donor grants could help them achieve a more optimal protection. We also find that optimal insurance packages are those that are least costly relative to expected payouts (i.e. have the lowest insurance multiple), which are also the packages that insure less severe (more frequent) disasters.
Mr. Takuji Komatsuzaki and Steve Brito
We study the growth determinants in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), using the Growth at Risk (GaR) framework with a focus on financial variables. We find that excessive bank credit growth is associated with lower future real GDP growth in the medium term especially on the low quantiles of growth distribution. Moreover, worsening of both global financial conditions and external conditions are associated with lower future growth in the short term, especially at the high quantiles of growth distribution. Country-specific results are broadly in line with ECCU-wide results, with some variation potentially due to the strong Citizenship-By-Investment program inflows and lack of credit union data. The establishment of a macroprudential framework in the ECCU would need to pay close attention to credit growth not only of banks but also credit unions and continue to monitor global and external conditions.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Grenada has made significant strides to counter climate change but meeting the daunting remaining challenges will require domestic policy actions and sustained international support. Climate change is an existential threat to Grenada. Increasing frequency and intensity of coastal storms threatens infrastructure and livelihoods, as do increased risk of coastal flooding and drought. Notably, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused damages of over 200 percent of GDP. Grenada has recognized this by placing climate resilience at the center of its policy making and forging strategic alliances with key global climate finance providers. However, the challenges facing the country remain daunting and will require large increases in international support, both financial and technical, to assist the Grenadian authorities turn their impressive resilience plans into action.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Owing to improved policy frameworks and favorable external conditions, Grenada’s economy has been growing rapidly. Policies have remained prudent, helping reduce public debt and financial system vulnerabilities. The domestic policy debate is increasingly focused on using potential fiscal space for spending on public pensions and investment on building resilience to natural disasters.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept., and International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept