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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper on the Philippines explores export performance in the context of global trade tensions. Unlike many Asian countries, the Philippines’ exports of goods have remained stable through the ongoing period of global trade tensions. Its low participation in global trade as well as in global value chains relative-to-peers seems to explain why the Philippines has not yet been negatively impacted by the trade tensions. On the other hand, despite its close trade ties with the United States, the Philippines has not benefitted much from trade diversion originated from the US–China bilateral tariffs, unlike Vietnam and Mexico. Philippines’ exports have slightly increased in dollar terms since 2017, but they have remained broadly stable in GDP terms. The Philippines does not appear to have benefitted much from the US–China trade tensions, but it has performed better than many of its peers at the aggregate level. The comparative advantages of the Philippines in terms of exports reside in high tech industries, which constitute its main exports. The Philippines has a revealed comparative advantage in exporting from high technology industries. In sum, the disaggregated trade data evidence suggests that the Philippines was not able to scale-up its exports to the United States as much as Vietnam and Mexico in many high- to medium-tech goods included in the US tariff lists.
Parisa Kamali
In many countries, a sizable share of international trade is carried out by intermediaries. While large firms tend to export to foreign markets directly, smaller firms typically export via intermediaries (indirect exporting). I document a set of facts that characterize the dynamic nature of indirect exporting using firm-level data from Vietnam and develop a dynamic trade model with both direct and indirect exporting modes and customer accumulation. The model is calibrated to match the dynamic moments of the data. The calibration yields fixed costs of indirect exporting that are less than a third of those of direct exporting, the variable costs of indirect exporting are twice higher, and demand for the indirectly exported products grows more slowly. Decomposing the gains from indirect and direct exporting, I find that 18 percent of the gains from trade in Vietnam are generated by indirect exporters. Finally, I demonstrate that a dynamic model that excludes the indirect exporting channel will overstate the welfare gains associated with trade liberalization by a factor of two.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
It has been two years since the trade tensions erupted and not only captured policymakers’ but also the research community’s attention. Research has quickly zoomed in on understanding trade war rhetoric, tariff implementation, and economic impacts. The first article in the December 2019 issue sheds light on the consequences of the recent trade barriers.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper summarizes achievements of the authorities to date and describes several options to support their ongoing efforts. The economic impact of climate change on Bangladesh is likely to become more pronounced. The outlook for Bangladesh is a source of concern, with experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting that a rise in sea levels and coastal erosion could lead to a loss of 17 percent of land surface and 30 percent of food production by 2050. Responding effectively to the impact of climate change depends on designing an appropriate set of fiscal policies. These can play a key role in mobilizing both public and private sources of finance for mitigation and adaptation activities. A second priority for Bangladesh is to raise domestic revenue from its current low base, including through introduction of a carbon tax. By helping establish a predictable price for carbon emissions, carbon taxes also provide clear incentives to promote investments in emissions-saving technologies. Although opponents argue that such taxes harm economic activity and slow job creation, the revenue they generate may over time be used to reduce other distorting taxes on labor and capital.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper proposes a simple nowcast model for an early assessment of the Salvadorian economy. The exercise is based on a bridge model, which is one of the many tools available for nowcasting. For El Salvador, the bridge model exploits information for the period 2005–17 from a large set of variables that are published earlier and at higher frequency than the variable of interest, in this case quarterly GDP. The estimated GDP growth rate in the 4th quarter of 2017 is 2.4 percent year-over-year, leading to an average GDP growth rate of 2.3 percent in 2017. This is in line with the GDP growth implied by the official statistics released two months later, in March 23, 2018.