Ms. Elva Bova, Mr. Paulo A Medas, and Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
Resource-rich countries face large and persistent shocks, especially coming from volatile
commodity prices. Given the severity of the shocks, it would be expected that these countries
adopt countercyclical fiscal policies to help shield the domestic economy. Taking advantage
of a new dataset covering 48 non-renewable commodity exporters for the period 1970-2014,
we investigate whether fiscal policy does indeed play a stabilizing role. Our analysis shows
that fiscal policy tends to have a procyclical bias (mainly via expenditures) and, contrary to
others, we do not find evidence that this bias has declined in recent years. Adoption of fiscal
rules does not seem to reduce procyclicality in a significant way, but the quality of political
institutions does matter. Finally, non-commodity revenues tend to respond only to persistent
changes in commodity prices.
This paper provides deeper insights on a few themes with regard to the experience with macroeconomic management in resource-rich developing countries (RRDCs). First, some stylized facts on the performance of these economies relative to their non-resource peers are provided. Second, the experience of Fund engagement in these economies with respect to surveillance, programs, and technical assistance is assessed. Third, the experience of selected countries with good practices in the management of the natural resource wealth is presented. Fourth, the experience of IMF advice in helping RRDCs set up resource funds is discussed. Finally, the main themes and messages from the IMF staff consultation with external stakeholders (CSOs, policy makers, academics) are presented.
This Article IV Consultation reports that the main challenge is to maintain macroeconomic stability in substantial demand shock from the construction of two major liquefied natural gas projects. The global downturn had only a mild impact, as growth was supported by still strong terms of trade, a financial sector insulated from global capital markets, and an increase in public expenditure. IMF staff stressed that monetary policy needed to be focused on emerging inflation pressures and act preemptively to avoid high inflation from becoming entrenched in expectations.
This paper looks at the role Sovereign Wealth Funds have played in the Pacific Island Countries in achieving key macro-fiscal policy objectives, namely, protecting the budget from high revenue volatility and strengthening fiscal prospects. Evidence shows that the funds' effectiveness has been hampered by lack of integration with the budget, institutional weaknesses, and inadequate controls. These factors, together with weak asset management, have sometimes led to substantial financial losses and undermined fiscal policy. Funds, if well designed, could be used as a tool to support a sound fiscal framework, but should not be seen as a substitute for fiscal reforms.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
In conjunction with its annual Article IV consultation with Japan, IMF staff prepared a background paper (Japan-Selected Issues) on a number of key topics. Two chapters of that paper dealt with the macroeconomic and fiscal implications of Japan's aging population. The authors-Hamid Faruqee, an Economist in the Research Department, and Martin Mühleisen, an Economist in the Asia and Pacific Department-speak with the IMF Survey about their findings.