International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
"This paper is the fourth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in Low Income Developing Countries (LIDCs). LIDCs are Fund member countries where gross national income (GNI) per capita lies below a threshold level and where external financial linkages and socioeconomic indicators have not lifted them into emerging market status. There are 59 countries in the LIDC grouping, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s population and 4 percent of global output.
The paper examines macroeconomic trends across LIDCs in recent years, contrasting key features of the current situation with the period prior to the 2014 decline in commodity prices. Particular attention is given to the evolution of fiscal positions and public debt levels, including detailed analysis of the drivers of debt accumulation and the current severity of debt vulnerabilities. The analysis is grounded in, and draws on, the analysis and databases used to compile the World Economic Outlook: this report drills down into the WEO database to look in detail at the experience of LIDCs."
This paper is the third in a series assessing macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income developing countries (LIDCs). The first of these papers (IMF, 2014a) examined trends during 2000–2014, a period of sustained strong growth across most LIDCs. The second paper (IMF, 2015a) focused on the impact of the drop in global commodity prices since mid-2014 on LIDCs—a story with losers (countries dependent on commodity exports, notably fuel) and winners (countries with a more diverse export base, where growth remained robust).
The overarching theme in this paper’s assessment of the macroeconomic conjuncture among LIDCs is that of incomplete adjustment to the new world of “lower for long” commodity prices, with many commodity exporters still far from a sustainable macroeconomic trajectory (Chapter 1). The analysis of risks and vulnerabilities focuses on financial sector stresses and medium-term fiscal risks, pointing to the actions, including capacity building, needed to manage and contain these challenges over time (Chapter 2). With 2016 the first year of the march towards the 2030 development goals, the paper also looks at how infrastructure investment can be accelerated in LIDCs, given that weaknesses in public infrastructure (such as energy, transportation systems) in LIDCs are widely seen as a key constraint on medium-term growth potential (Chapter 3).
With the sharp adjustment in commodity prices now into its third year, some of the key messages of the paper are familiar: a) many commodity exporters, notably fuel producers, remain under significant economic stress, with sluggish growth, large fiscal imbalances, and weakened foreign reserve positions; b) countries with a more diversified export base are generally doing well, although several have been hit by declines in remittances, conflict/natural disasters, and the contractionary impact of macroeconomic stabilization programs; c) widening fiscal imbalances, in both commodity and diversified exporters, have resulted in rising debt levels, with severe financing stress emerging in some cases; and d) financial sector stresses have emerged in many LIDCs, with expectations that these strains will increase in many commodity exporters over the next 12–18 months. Key messages on financial sector oversight, on medium-term fiscal risks, and on tackling infrastructure gaps are flagged below.
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This paper examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income developing countries (LIDCs) against the back-drop of a sharp fall in international commodity prices. The focus here—by contrast with IMF (2014a)—is on recent developments and the near-term outlook, recognizing that the new price environment is likely to remain in place for several years to come. The paper also includes a section examining the experience of LIDCs with capital inflows over the past decade.
Low-income countries are being hit hard by the global financial crisis. They are facing a sharp contraction in export growth, FDI inflows, and remittances, and lower-than-committed aid. But a marked recovery is in prospect for 2010 helped by rising world demand and supported by short-term domestic policies.
Countries are using fiscal and other policies to respond to the crisis and should continue to do so, where appropriate, until the economic recovery is clearly underway. However, the risks to debt sustainability are rising and countries should begin preparing to realign policies toward medium-term sustainability once the recovery is clearly on the move. Additional highly concessional donor support is needed to ensure that countries are not forced to make these adjustments prematurely, and to facilitate a smooth return to a sustainable debt path, with strong growth, over the medium term.
In this paper, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have drawn together available research findings on the benefits of trade liberalization as well as on the obstacles to trade-oriented development.