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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

Ms. Natasha X Che
This paper presents a set of collaborative filtering algorithms that produce product recommendations to diversify and optimize a country's export structure in support of sustainable long-term growth. The recommendation system is able to accurately predict the historical trends in export content and structure for high-growth countries, such as China, India, Poland, and Chile, over 20-year spans. As a contemporary case study, the system is applied to Paraguay, to create recommendations for the country's export diversification strategy.
Mr. Antonio David and Mr. Daniel Leigh
This paper presents a new database of fiscal consolidations for 14 Latin American and Caribbean economies during 1989-2016. We focus on discretionary changes in taxes and government spending primarily motivated by a desire to reduce the budget deficit and long-term fiscal health and not by a response to prospective economic conditions. To identify the motivation and budgetary impact of the fiscal policy changes, we examine contemporaneous policy documents, including Budgets, central bank reports, and IMF and OECD reports. The resulting series can be used to estimate the macroeconomic effects of fiscal consolidation for these economies
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Technical Assistance Report discusses measures to establish a structural balance rule and a public debt objective in Paraguay. The analysis suggests that the authorities’ structural balance formula should be more conservative and—to mitigate the risk of unwarranted expenditure growth—should assume that future structural revenues will grow at the same pace as trend GDP. Under this assumption, the structural balance rule is broadly equivalent to an expenditure rule, constraining spending to grow at trend GDP—a formula that is simpler to implement and easier to communicate to the public. Moreover, the formula should account for new revenue measures more explicitly, provided there are safeguards to ensure that they are estimated fairly.
Ms. Evridiki Tsounta and Anayochukwu Osueke
Income inequality in Latin America has declined during the last decade, in contrast to the experience in many other emerging and developed regions. However, Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world. This study documents the declining trend in income inequality in Latin America and proposes various reasons behind this important development. Using a panel econometric analysis for a large group of emerging and developing countries, we find that the Kuznets curve holds. Notwithstanding the limitations in the dataset and of cross-country regression analysis more generally, our results suggest that almost two-thirds of the recent decline in income inequality in Latin America is explained by policies and strong GDP growth, with policies alone explaining more than half of this total decline. Higher education spending is the most important driver, followed by stronger foreign direct investment and higher tax revenues. Results suggest that policies and to some extent positive growth dynamics could play an important role in lowering inequality further.
Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen and Ms. Olga Sulla
Banking credit to the private sector in Latin America has on average increased by 7 percent of GDP from primo 2004 to ultimo 2011, with real credit in some countries growing by up to 20 percent per year. This paper documents and analyzes the patterns of credit growth in 18 countries in Latin America and uses econometric methods to determine whether it is indicative of financial deepening or poses risks of credit booms. The strongest credit growth occurred for consumption and mortgages within the household sector and for construction within the corporate sector. At the same time credit has de-dollarized in most countries and there are some signs of maturity lengthening. To assess whether the recent credit growth is excessive two different methods are applied. First, by application of HP-filters the paper finds that credit-to-GDP levels in a number of countries are above their long-term trend. Second, using a panel co-integration approach on 107 high and mid-income countries the paper estimates a model for the credit-to-GDP levels. Comparing the actual levels of credit with the ones predicted by the model we find that some countries in Latin America show significant and positive deviations. These results indicate the existence of a certain level of risk in the recent credit developments.
Gustavo Adler and Mr. Nicolas E Magud
We study the history of terms-of-trade booms (during 1970–2012), with a focus on Latin America, through the prisms of a simple metric that quantifies the associated income windfall. We also document saving patterns during these episodes and propose a measure of how much of the income windfall was saved. We find that Latin America‘s terms-of-trade shocks of the last decade have not differed much in magnitude from those observed during the 1970s, but that the associated windfall have been substantially larger. While aggregate saving increased more than in past episodes, the share of the windfall saved (the marginal saving rate) seems to be lower, suggesting that greater aggregate saving reflects mainly the sheer size of the windfall rather than a greater 'effort' to save it. Finally, we find evidence that, while savings during the boom help to increase post-boom income, the composition of such savings matters. Specifically, in past episodes, savings allocated to foreign asset accumulation appear to have contributed more to post-boom income than those devoted to domestic investment.