Antoine Levy, Mr. Luca A Ricci, and Alejandro M. Werner
This paper assesses the dynamic impact of global macroeconomic conditions, commodity price movements, shifts in portfolio preferences, and domestic shocks on fiscal outcomes—notably the budget deficit, its main components, and debt—across a wide range of countries. Heterogeneity is investigated across the level of development and other structural characteristics. Dynamics are explored via panel local projections, while robustness is assessed via dynamic panel and system GMM regressions. World growth, financial risk appetite, political events, and commodity export prices are key determinants of fiscal outcomes in EM, while domestic growth, commodity import prices, and banking crises appear to matter more in AE. Our estimates help quantify the amount of fiscal risk generated by various factors, and thus provide inputs for the design of potential insurance mechanisms or state-contingent debt instruments that could assist in smoothing fiscal fluctuations.
The recent relatively high levels of global oil prices have led to a significant improvement in the public finances of several hydrocarbon-exporting countries. However, despite the increase in fiscal buffers, medium-term risks remain high. Fiscal vulnerabilities have increased as a consequence of the substantial spending packages that have been implemented in recent years. This has raised break-even prices—that is, the price levels that ensure that fiscal accounts are in balance at a given level of spending—in these countries. This study analyses such risks and develops measures of fiscal risk stemming from oil price fluctuations. An empirical application to hydrocarbon-exporting countries from the Middle East and North Africa region is included. Additionally, it is noted that countries with large net assets and proven oil reserves are much less vulnerable to fiscal risk than is indicated by standard measures based on break-even prices.