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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses Jamaica’s Sixth Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). All quantitative performance criteria, indicative targets, and the structural benchmark at end-June were met, marking a successful completion of the SBA. Discussions centered on policies to lock-in macroeconomic stability and advance supply-side reforms to promote inclusive growth, including: building institutions and advancing fiscal reforms to safeguard and sustain economic stability and debt reduction; improving monetary operations and policy transmission; and bolstering financial inclusion, access to credit, and formality. Most structural policy commitments are on track, although some key reforms to public sector transformation, the compensation framework for public employees, legislation to establish a fiscal council, and creating a special resolution regime for financial institutions have been delayed due to capacity constraints and the need to build stakeholder support for these reforms. Important gains have been made in the oversight of financial institutions.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper presents Financial System Stability Assessment of Australian financial systems. The report highlights that financial supervision and systemic risk oversight have been enhanced. And the authorities have taken successful policy action to calm rapid growth in riskier segments of the mortgage market. Restrictions on the growth of investor loans and the share of interest-only mortgages, as well as the introduction of stronger lending standards, appear to have led to a slowdown in mortgage credit growth, and the housing market is now cooling. Financial supervision shows generally high conformity to international best practices, although there are opportunities to close identified gaps and strengthen arrangements. Steps are recommended to bolster the independence and resourcing of the regulatory agencies, by removing constraints on their policy making powers and providing additional budgetary autonomy and flexibility. The paper explains that greater formalization and transparency of the work of the Council of Financial Regulators would further buttress the financial stability framework.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Hong Kong SAR’s economy benefitted from a strong cyclical upswing through the first half of 2018, supported by the continued global recovery, buoyant domestic sentiment, and the booming property market. However, near-term risks have significantly increased – including those from trade tensions, tighter global financial conditions, and capital outflows from emerging markets. Also, long-term challenges, including from aging, elevated inequality, and the persistent housing shortage, need to be tackled. Prudent macroeconomic policies and ample buffers are in place to help smoothen the transition and ensure continued stability.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights Iceland’s continued real GDP growth, driven by tourism. Growth reached 7.2 percent in 2016 and is projected at almost 6 percent in 2017 before tapering to about 2.5 percent over the medium term. Bank credit to the nonfinancial private sector remains muted, growing only 4.3 percent in 2016, but it is expected to pick up. Thus far, growth has been driven not by leverage but by exports, private consumption, and investment. Iceland’s current account surplus is projected to shrink modestly over time, with some export sectors suffering while others thrive.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
KEY ISSUES Politics: President Bachelet won the Presidential election on a platform to foster inclusive growth and reduce inequality. Her government took office in March 2014 and is launching an ambitious policy agenda that includes important reforms in several areas, including taxation, education, productivity, and energy. Outlook and risks: Chile’s global environment is shifting, with a dimmer outlook for its main export, copper, and normalization of global monetary conditions. Growth has slowed markedly, resulting in a modest output gap. The peso has depreciated, feeding into inflation. Staff projects growth to bottom out in 2014 and then gradually recover. Key risks relate to a large and lasting drop in copper prices and global financial volatility. Policy mix: The freely floating peso is working as a shock absorber and will support the economic recovery. The policy mix with broadly neutral fiscal and accommodative monetary policy is appropriate. Room for further monetary easing has narrowed but space remains if domestic demand flounders, so long as inflation expectations remain well anchored. On fiscal, given the strong public finances, automatic stabilizers should be allowed to operate unimpeded and there is space for stimuli in the event of a major downturn. The commitment to close the structural fiscal deficit by 2018 is appropriate and should be phased in a way that avoids undue drag on the recovery. Should risks materialize, the freely floating currency is the first line of defense. Growth and equity reforms: Achieving strong growth while reducing inequality will require structural reforms. The authorities’ agenda focuses on the right areas but many details remain work in progress. Clarity on the details, timetables, and prioritization will reduce uncertainty and the risk of delays. Financial stability: Risks to financial stability appear contained, but it will be important to push through with regulatory reforms underway, including initiatives currently in Congress. Further effort will be needed to close regulatory gaps, in particular bank capital requirements, relative to international benchmarks.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (HKSAR) growth recovered to 2.9 percent in 2013 as resilient domestic demand helped offset the continued drag from net exports. As the global recovery takes hold, external demand is forecast to improve and lift growth to about 3¾ percent in 2014, although domestic demand remains solid. Inflation is expected to remain at about 4 percent, given the slow pass-through of housing costs. In line with the improved economic outlook, the 2014/15 budget includes a reduction in one-off measures of about 1.9 percent of GDP.
Mr. Fabian Lipinsky and Li Lian Ong
Stock markets play a key role in corporate financing in Asia. However, despite their increasing importance in terms of size and cross-border investment activity, the region’s markets are reputed to be more “idiosyncratic” and less reliant on economic and corporate fundamentals in their pricing. Using a model that draws on international asset pricing and economic theory, as well as accounting literature, we find evidence of greater idiosyncratic influences in the pricing of Asia’s stock markets, compared to their G-7 counterparts, beyond the identified systematic factors and local fundamentals. We also show proof of a significant relationship between the strength of implementation of securities regulations and the “noise” in stock pricing, which suggests that improvements in the regulation of securities markets in Asia could enhance the role of stock markets as stable and reliable sources of financing into the future.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is highly dependent on external aid. Following a recession in FY2006–08, the FSM economy has grown by 2–2½ percent for FY2010 and FY2011. The economy remains dependent on the large public sector, although the fisheries and agriculture sectors have shown signs of growth. Despite some deterioration in current account balance, external balance also has sustained a stable flow of official transfers. However, economic growth is likely to slow in the near term owing to a decline in public sector demand.
International Monetary Fund
In this study, the risks related to the euro area sovereign debt crisis are analyzed. Methods used to implement the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) are overviewed, and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), and the European Supervisory Authority (ESA) are the important framework for financial reforms and macroprudential policies. In this paper, the improvement over the fiscal and structural governance stability and growth pact (SGP) and excessive deficit procedure (SDP) is discussed. Finally, the findings of spillover analysis are outlined.