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Marco A Espinosa-Vega, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, Mr. Hector Carcel Villanova, Miss Esha Chhabra, Ms. Bidisha Das, and Ms. Yingjie Fan
This departmental paper marks the 10th anniversary of the IMF Financial Access Survey (FAS). It offers a retrospective of the FAS database, along with some reflections as to its future directions. Since its 2009 launch, the FAS has provided granular data on access to and use of financial services. It is a supply-side database with annual global coverage based on data sourced directly from financial service providers—aimed at supporting policymakers to target and evaluate financial inclusion policies. Its data collection has kept pace with financial innovation, such as the rise of mobile money and growing demand for gender-disaggregated data—and the FAS must continue to evolve.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept., and International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses how countries vulnerable to natural disasters can reduce the associated human and economic cost. Building on earlier work by IMF staff, the paper views disaster risk management through the lens of a three-pillar strategy for building structural, financial, and post-disaster (including social) resilience. A coherent disaster resilience strategy, based on a diagnostic of risks and cost-effective responses, can provide a road map for how to tackle disaster related vulnerabilities. It can also help mobilize much-needed support from the international community.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Article IV Consultation highlights that the economy is recovering well from several natural disasters, supported by accommodative fiscal and monetary policies. Growth performance picked up in recent years with improved political stability, though average growth rates were still lower than in other emerging and developing countries. Fiscal buffers have been used and external conditions, including oil prices and growth prospects of main trading partners, are becoming less favorable. Improving the overall business environment and governance is expected to raise potential growth by mobilizing private investment, enhancing productivity, and diversifying the economy. An improvement in the overall business environment is essential to achieve the ambitious growth targets laid out in the National Development Plan. Streamlining procedures to do business, accelerating the activation of the credit reporting agency, and reducing tax compliance costs has been recommended.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue focuses on recent experiences that holds lessons for when to tackle debt and when not to. Growth is picking up, and the IMF has been ratcheting up its forecasts. Government coffers are filling and, with more people at work, demand for public social support is receding. Research shows that the stimulatory effect of fiscal expansion is weak when the economy is close to capacity. Low-income economies may be at greatest risk. Traditionally, they borrowed from official creditors at below-market rates. Higher global rates could divert precious budget resources to debt servicing from crucial infrastructure projects and social services. Raising budget balances toward their medium-term targets can be achieved at little cost to economic activity. Growth-enhancing infrastructure investments and crucial social services such as health and education should be maintained. Well-designed fiscal policy can address inequality and stimulate growth.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Fiji’s economy is recovering well after Tropical Cyclone Winston and is expected to record its eighth consecutive year of expansion in 2017. Growth is expected to pick up to about 4 percent in 2017, underpinned by reconstruction activities, a vibrant tourism sector, and the recovery of agriculture production. The growth momentum is projected to continue in the coming years. Inflation declined sharply in recent months as the supply of food items started to normalize and is projected to remain about 3 percent. Risks to the economic outlook are largely related to external developments.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Fiji is enjoying a strong growth momentum due to accommodative policies, robust tourism and strong remittances, and an improvement in the terms of trade. The smooth and peaceful elections in September 2014 marked the return to democracy—leading to a normalization in relations with development partners, further boosting investor and consumer confidence. While addressing infrastructure gaps and further improving the business climate will be critical to ensure strong, sustainable and more inclusive growth, this must be balanced against the need to consolidate fiscal policy. Risks are tilted to the downside, related to external developments and prolonged accommodative policy settings.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper provides an overview of financial access and inclusion indicators, related causal factors, and both current and possible reform priorities for on Papua New Guinea (PNG). The paper presents indicators of financial market depth, development, and access for PNG and compares PNG’s performance against that of other countries in the region, at similar levels of development, and beyond. It provides an overview of country-specific challenges facing PNG related to financial inclusion that helps to explain its performance, as well as possible reform priorities in the near term. The government’s current initiatives aimed at promoting financial sector development and inclusion and their preliminary results are also discussed.
International Monetary Fund
This report builds on the work in the 2013 Board paper on Fund Engagement with Small States, the 2013 background papers on Asian and Pacific small states and Caribbean small states, and the 2014 staff guidance note. It provides a deeper analysis and policy recommendations in respect of three challenges identified in these papers. Looking ahead, the paper also analyses the impact and possible policy responses to two global economic trends—lower oil prices and diverse movements in major currencies.