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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Barbados’ deficit declined to 4.4 percent of GDP in 2016, about of half that in 2014, owing to lower energy prices and a recovery in export earnings. The current account deficit is projected to continue to narrow to 3.7 percent in 2017, and to 2.9 percent of GDP in 2018 as a result of lower imports, but continued weakness in the financial account and delayed privatization will contribute to weak reserves. The fiscal deficit is estimated to have declined to 5.5 percent of GDP in FY2016/17. The IMF staff project further progress in reducing the fiscal deficit, to 4.1 percent of GDP in FY2017/18 without divestment proceeds.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recovered relative to 2016, but the momentum is weak and per capita incomes are expected to barely increase. Further, vulnerabilities have risen in many countries, adding to the urgency of implementing the fiscal consolidations planned in most countries and with stepped up efforts to strengthen growth.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recovered relative to 2016, but the momentum is weak and per capita incomes are expected to barely increase. Further, vulnerabilities have risen in many countries, adding to the urgency of implementing the fiscal consolidations planned in most countries and with stepped up efforts to strengthen growth.

Rui Xu and Kaiji Gong
We analyze the impact of rising import competition from China on U.S. innovative activities. Using Compustat data, we find that import competition induces R&D expenditures to be reallocated towards more productive and more profitable firms within each industry. Such reallocation effect has the potential to offset the average drop in firm-level R&D identified in the previous literature. Indeed, our quantitative analysis shows no adverse impact of import competition on aggregate R&D expenditures. Taking the analysis beyond manufacturing, we find that import competition has led to reallocation of researchers towards booming service industries, including business and repairs, personal services, and financial services.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper provides an overview of income distribution and the welfare system in Ireland, with a focus on the crisis and postcrisis periods. Ireland’s flexible economy and strong social safety net helped mitigate the adverse effects of the property-driven crisis. Although economic conditions are improving rapidly, lifting employment, ongoing efforts are needed to address the lingering impact on those hardest hit, including the long-term unemployed and unemployed youth. Consistent efforts are needed to support sustainable and inclusive growth and meet ambitious social targets, including the reduction of consistent poverty to 2 percent by 2020.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

The economy appears to have turned the corner but a disappointing fiscal outcome has not eased concerns about debt sustainability. After protracted stagnation following the 2008 financial crisis, there was a moderate recovery in 2015 and growth is set to pick up. Notwithstanding adjustment efforts, the budget deficit remained high, mainly reflecting delayed implementation of reforms. The large funding requirements were mostly met by the central bank, the National Insurance Scheme, and growing arrears. Continued large deficits pose risks to the fixed exchange rate.