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Charles Amo Yartey and Ms. Therese Turner-Jones


Caribbean economies face high and rising debt-to-GDP ratios that jeopardize prospects for medium-term debt sustainability and growth. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges of fiscal consolidation and debt reduction in the Caribbean. It examines the problem of high debt in the region and discusses policy options for improving debt sustainability, including fiscal consolidation, robust growth, and structural reforms. The book also examines empirically the factors underlying global large debt reduction episodes to draw important policy lessons for the Caribbean. It also reviews the literature on successful fiscal consolidation experiences and provides an overview of past and current consolidation efforts in the Caribbean. The book concludes that the region needs a broad and sustained package of reforms to reduce debt ratios to more manageable levels and strengthen economic resilience.

Ms. Magda E. Kandil
The paper investigates asymmetry in the allocation of aggregate demand shocks between real output growth and price inflation over the business cycle in a sample of fifteen Caribbean countries. In most countries, the evidence indicates the existence of structural constraints, implying that positive demand shocks feed predominantly into prices while negative demand shocks mainly affect output. The high variability of aggregate demand in Caribbean countries, frequently exposed to shocks that are exacerbated by pro-cyclical policy stance, tends to create an upward bias on inflation and a downward bias on real output growth, on average, over time. The analysis highlights the benefits of eliminating structural rigidities responsible for asymmetric real and inflationary effects and points to the dangers of procyclical macroeconomic policies that exacerbate the adverse effects of demand variability.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
El Boletín del FMI aborda de manera específica el trabajo del FMI y los grandes temas macroeconómicos y financieros internacionales y ofrece análisis sobre la evolución en los distintos países y regiones y en el mundo; información sobre las operaciones, políticas, reformas y asistencia técnica del FMI; síntesis de las principales investigaciones económicas mundiales; datos fundamentales que no suelen estar disponibles en otras fuentes, e informes sobre debates económicos y financieros que tienen lugar dentro y fuera del FMI. Este boletín de 16 páginas, publicado 12 veces al año, está orientado a una vasta audiencia, que incluye autoridades de política económica, analistas, profesionales del mundo académico y de los medios de difusión y estudiantes. Disponible en inglés, español y francés.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
En mettant l’accent sur le travail du FMI et sur les grandes questions macroéconomiques et financières internationales, le Bulletin du FMI présente une analyse des développements nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux, des informations sur le travail, les politiques, les réformes et les activités d'assistance technique du FMI, les conclusions d'études de calibre mondial, des données essentielles qui ne sont souvent pas disponibles ailleurs, ainsi que des rapports sur les discussions économiques et financières au sein du FMI et ailleurs. Publié douze fois par an, ce bulletin de seize pages s'adresse à un large public : dirigeants, analystes, chercheurs, étudiants et journalistes. Disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, IEO report, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tom Bernes, Joanne Salop, exchange rate analysis, CGER, Jonathan Ostry, Belize, Malan report, IMF-World Bank cooperation, Bruegel, IMF goverance, Colin Bradford, global imbalances.
International Monetary Fund
The erosion of EU trade preferences for bananas and sugar will have immediate negative implications for Belize’s economy. This paper suggests ways to enhance public debt management in Belize. The vulnerability of the banking sector appears relatively modest. However, the current level of loan-loss provisions and collateral valuation rules are not up to the international standards. Important steps have been taken to further improve compliance with the Basel Core Principles. The importance of debt-service reduction through sound macroeconomic policies is highlighted.
Ms. Ratna Sahay
Although Caribbean countries have been largely successful in bringing annual inflation down to single digits in recent years-regardless of their exchange rate regime-their growth rates have been disappointing and their public debt has risen rapidly. By 2003, 14 of 15 Caribbean countries ranked in the top 30 of the world's highly indebted emerging market countries. Most of the increase in their public debt is accounted for by a deterioration in primary fiscal balances that has been largely due to a sharp increase in expenditures rather than a fall in revenues. With the countries of the region now increasingly facing unsustainable debt positions, innovative ways need to be found to raise their economic growth rates and generate fiscal savings to reverse the debt buildup, and to maintain or raise their current living standards.
International Monetary Fund
There is an urgent need to re-establish a viable external position through a comprehensive, swift, and sustained policy adjustment. The fiscal adjustment will need to rest on both wide-ranging tax revenue measures and substantial expenditure restraint, including a freeze of current expenditure. Executive Directors welcome the government’s decision to restructure the Development Finance Corporation. Existing import restrictions should be eliminated or converted into tariffs to improve resource allocation, increase revenue, and reduce administrative costs. Belize statistical information is inadequate to monitor macroeconomic developments sufficiently.
International Monetary Fund
An illegal parallel market for foreign exchange is prevalent in Belize. Its emergence and continued existence is attributed to the pervasive exchange controls, attempts to avoid banking fees, as well as the prevalence of cash transactions in the tourist sector. Overall, the financial system appears sound, the banking system is well capitalized, and the insurance sector has been able to pass most of the risks offshore through reinsurance. The supervisory and regulatory framework for commercial banks appears sound, but there is scope for improvement.