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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that driven by popular frustration with high levels of corruption and inequality, Haiti has been experiencing a protracted political crisis and prolonged civil unrest. The baseline scenario assumes some stabilization in the political situation by early 2020 but no major political or economic reforms. This would allow growth to recover only gradually and in the absence of sustained implementation of good policies and structural reforms, potential growth would remain low at about 1.4 percent over the medium term. Downside risks, both domestic and external, remain elevated. A prolongation of political instability, extreme natural disaster, drop in remittances, and/or a contraction in exports because of trade tensions would worsen the outlook, particularly given the absence of buffers and fragile social conditions. The challenge is to stabilize the macroeconomic situation in an unstable political context. The IMF Staff encourages the authorities to continue their efforts to contain the fiscal deficit and its monetary financing by the central bank. Improving domestic revenue collection and redirecting current spending would help create space for much needed social and capital expenditures. Together with steps to strengthen the central bank’s autonomy and legal framework, this would help reduce fiscal dominance.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on Haiti near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. The outbreak has greatly amplified uncertainty and downside risks around the outlook. The IMF staff is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work on assessing its impact and the related policy response in Haiti and globally. Income inequality can hamper economic growth and development. Currently, the financial needs of the rural poor are sustained by microfinance institutions, financial cooperatives, humanitarian programs, and remittance providers. Greater financial inclusion could also be reached via solutions outside of traditional banking practices, including through fintech initiatives. In addition to being a moral imperative, addressing gender inequality is necessary for generating broad-based and inclusive growth. Formal employment opportunities for women need to be expanded. A good start would be to implement the 30 percent quota reserved for women in public-sector appointments, which was introduced in 2012 but never enforced.
International Monetary Fund
The Fund’s existing facilities for low-income countries (LICs) provide a vehicle for the speedy provision of financial assistance to member countries hit by natural disasters, either through the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) or through augmentation of the funding already being provided through other facilities such as the Standby or Extended Credit Facilities. The quick disbursement of funds strengthens national financial capacity, including external payments capacity, to tackle relief and recovery challenges. To address catastrophic disasters, the Fund created a mechanism in 2010 to provide additional relief to its poorest and most vulnerable member countries to help meet their exceptional balance of payments needs. Under this mechanism, the Fund can provide grants from a trust fund—the Post Catastrophe Debt Relief (PCDR) trust—that are used to pay off debt service falling due to the Fund. These grants ease pressures on the member’s balance of payments and create financial space by reducing its debt service burden. This paper proposes reforms to this mechanism to cover situations where the member is experiencing an epidemic of an infectious disease that constitutes a significant threat to lives, economic activity, and international commerce across countries.
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.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia
This paper seeks to determine the effects that natural disasters have on per capita GDP and on the debt to GDP ratio in the Caribbean. Two types of natural disasters are studied –storms and floods– given their prevalence in the region, while considering the effects of both moderate and severe disasters. I use a vector autoregressive model with exogenous natural disasters shocks, in a panel of 12 Caribbean countries over a period of 40 years. The results show that both storms and floods have a negative effect on growth, and that debt increases with floods but not with storms. However, in a subsample I find that storms significantly increase debt in the short and long run. I also find weak evidence that debt relief contributes to ease the negative effects of storms on debt.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise and Mr. Boileau Loko
This paper reviews the literature on the macroeconomic impact of natural disasters and presents the IMF’s role in assisting countries coping with natural catastrophes. Focusing on seven country cases, the paper describes the emergency financing, policy support, and technical assistance provided by the Fund to help governments put together a policy response or build a macro framework to lay the foundation for recovery and/or unlock other external financing. The literature and experience suggests there are ways to strengthen policy frameworks to increase resilience to natural disaster shocks, including identifying the risks and probability of natural disasters and integrating them more explicitly into macro frame-works, increasing flexibility within fiscal frameworks, and improving coordination amongst international partners ex post and ex ante.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
La inflación, Programa de trabajo del FMI, El precio de las materias primas, Impacto en África, Qué empuja el petróleo al alza, Reunión petrolera de Yeddah, Entrevista sobre Haití, El fondo soberano de Noruega, México, La política monetaria de Suiza, Mauricio, Notas breves
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
L'inflation, Programme du FMI, Envolée des prix des produits de base, impact sur les économies africaines, Causes de la flambée du pétrole, Réunion de Djeddah sur le pétrole, Haïti, Fonds souverain norvégien, Mexique, Suisse: politique monétaire, Maurice, l'actualité en bref
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Inflation, IMF work agenda, Food and fuel prices, Commodity price surge, Oil price surge, Jeddah meeting, Haiti interview, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, Mexico, Switzerland's monetary policy, Mauritius, News briefs.