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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Weak growth and underlying structural vulnerabilities persist in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Worsened macroeconomic conditions—reflecting the spillovers from one of Curaçao’s largest trading partners and the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sint Maarten—make the need for policy adjustment and structural reforms aimed at ensuring fiscal sustainability, enhancing competitiveness, strengthening investor confidence, and developing capacity more urgent.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that economy of St. Kitts and Nevis continued its strong growth at about 5 percent, recording the strongest growth in the region during 2013–15. Strong growth has been underpinned by construction and tourism sector activity and their favorable spillovers on the rest of the economy, supported by surging inflows from its Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) program. Large CBI inflows continued in 2015, albeit at a slower pace. The medium-term outlook is positive, but remains dependent on developments in CBI inflows. Growth is expected to moderate to 3.5 percent in 2016 and 3 percent, on average, over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This is the final review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The program contributed to maintaining macroeconomic stability, and there was progress on structural reforms. The authorities intend to request a successor arrangement under the ECF. A new finance minister was appointed in April; uncertainly remains on the timing of elections. Preliminary data suggest that GDP in FY2014 grew by 3.5–4 percent, while inflation increased slightly to about 5 percent. An increase in fuel prices (in October) should result in fiscal savings of at least 1 percent of GDP during FY2015. The March performance criterion on net international reserves (NIR) was met, but although the deficit was lower than projected, the performance criterion on net central bank credit to the central government was missed. Downside risks are significant and include a pull-back of Venezuela-related flows, a resumption of political tensions, and vulnerability to weather events. A total of SDR 1.638 million will become available upon completion of this review, bringing total disbursements under the ECF to SDR 40.950 million. Key Policy Recommendations: • The policy mix, in particular the adjustment going forward, should come from a lower fiscal deficit rather than from a tighter monetary policy. The FY2015 fiscal deficit should be reduced to mitigate financing risks as part of a medium-term plan to restore fiscal sustainability. • The central bank should let the exchange rate adjust more to market pressures. Intervention should be parsimonious, geared at avoiding excess volatility and disorderly movements in the exchange rate; it should be guided by fundamentals in the medium term. • Progress on structural reforms (including on the energy sector and on public financial management) should catalyze more donor support and is essential for supporting growth. A possible new ECF arrangement would entrench macroeconomic stability and promote policies to generate sustained GDP growth.
International Monetary Fund
Economic performance in Nicaragua has been better than envisaged; nonetheless, vulnerabilities remain and will be compounded by electoral uncertainties. The decision to use part of the strong revenue performance to lower the fiscal deficit is appropriate. Exchange-rate and monetary policy remain broadly adequate. Fiscal adjustment should set the stage for a strong program of fiscal consolidation following the elections. Continued vigilance in the financial sector will be critical. Improvement in reporting and monitoring of foreign aid flows and transparency is necessary.
Mr. Ugo Fasano-Filho
The main purposes of this paper are to review the operational modalities and experience of oil funds currently in place in Norway, Chile (copper), the State of Alaska, Venezuela, Kuwait, and Oman, and to draw some preliminary conclusions on their contribution to enhance fiscal management. The outcome so far of their experience has been mixed, with differences among countries reflecting the variety of objectives attached to the funds, the challenges in adhering to established rules, the institutional set-up. and the soundness of the overall fiscal discipline in each country (or state).
Mr. Mario I. Bléjer
In a model where all banks are initially solvent, an exogenous shock affects confidence, causing a flight from deposits into domestic and foreign currency. Real interest rates increase unexpectedly, affecting firms and raising the share of the banks’ nonperforming assets. This increase causes genuine solvency problems and accelerates the bank run. Policy simulations show that compensatory monetary policy (increasing currency supply when deposits fall) mitigates the bank run but causes inflation and external imbalances. Combining compensatory monetary policy with tight fiscal policies also slows the bank run and mitigates insolvency, but at a lower macroeconomic cost. A devaluation is shown to have little positive impact.