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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Peru’s very strong macroeconomic policies and institutional policy frameworks have helped anchor strong growth and stability over the past several years and navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The confluence of a sound inflation-targeting regime, flexible exchange rate, credible fiscal framework, reflected in very low public debt, and sound financial sector supervision and regulation have allowed the country to deploy a robust policy response to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic while sustaining strong access to international capital markets. Following the worst economic contraction in 30 years, economic activity is expected to rebound this year as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out, and the pandemic is gradually brought under control. Real GDP is expected to return to its pre-pandemic level by 2022, supported by improved terms-of-trade and a pick-up in domestic demand. The second round of presidential elections is scheduled for June 6.
Mauricio Cardenas, Mr. Luca A Ricci, Mr. Jorge Roldos, and Alejandro M. Werner
The fiscal policy response to the COVID-19 shock in most LAC countries was much larger than during the GFC, suggesting fiscal space was not as tight as expected. We argue that it is feasible and desirable, though not without risks, to embark in a more gradual consolidation path than currently envisaged by several countries in the region. Avoiding an early withdrawal of support in 2021 and 2022 is important given that countries are still facing high rates of contagion and deaths, vaccination will take place very slowly, the economic recovery is partial, uncertain and not strong enough to help those most affected by the twin public health and economic crisis. At the center of this discussion is our conviction that fiscal space is not set in stone and it is endogenous to the medium-term targets and commitments undertaken by governments and congresses throughout the region. Also, revisions to fiscal responsibility frameworks should help anchor fiscal sustainability, as well as improve their effectiveness and flexibility. In this context, low-for-long interest rates and easy market access is generating a situation that, in spite of higher debt levels, interest cost on public debt will remain contained in the foreseeable future. Especially if, as argued in this paper, a more gradual fiscal consolidation path is accompanied with stronger commitments and institutional frameworks that ensure debt is put on a credible downward trajectory once the pandemic is under control. Catalyzing these changes, as well as initiating the debate to design other fiscal reforms to strengthen social protection and increase the progressivity of public finances, would require a broad social consensus and political cohesion around several crucial dimensions of public finances: a fiscal pact. On the other hand, if this agenda is neglected the continuation of low growth, social discontent, and political polarization could drive Latin America towards a very dangerous path of institutional and economic decay.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The current FCL arrangement for Colombia was approved in May 2020. Colombia was cited for its very strong policy frameworks—anchored by a flexible exchange rate, a credible inflation-targeting regime, effective financial sector supervision and regulation, and a structural fiscal rule—and a track record of very strong policy implementation that served as a basis for the economy’s resilience prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau, Cheng Hoon Lim, Jose Daniel Rodríguez-Delgado, Mr. Bennett W Sutton, and Melesse Tashu
This paper suggests a novel approach to assess corporate sector solvency risk. The approach uses a Bottom-Up Default Analysis that projects probabilities of default of individual firms conditional on macroeconomic conditions and financial risk factors. This allows a direct macro-financial link to assessing corporate performance and facilitates what-if scenarios. When extended with credit portfolio techniques, the approach can also assess the aggregate impact of changes in firm solvency risk on creditor banks’ capital buffers under different macroeconomic scenarios. As an illustration, we apply this approach to the corporate sector of the five largest economies in Latin America.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Research Summaries in this issue of the IMF Research Bulletin cover “Tax Capacity and Growth” (by Vitor Gaspar, Laura Jaramillo, and Philippe Wingender), and “U.S. Shale Revolution and Its Spillover Effects on the Global Economy” (Ravi Balakrishnan, Keiko Honjo, Akito Matsumoto, and Andrea Pescatori). The Q&A coauthored by Amadou Sy and Mariama Sow covers “Seven Questions about the Relationship between Country Finance and Governance.” A listing of recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from IMF Publications is included in the IMF Research Bulletin. Readers can also find news on free-to-view articles from IMF Economic Review and a call for conference papers in this issue of the Bulletin.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses key issues related to the Colombian economy. Despite adverse global circumstances, Colombia’s successful policies and inclusive growth agenda continued in 2015. Colombia’s strong policy framework helped ensure an orderly adjustment to the deteriorated external conditions. Although the medium-term outlook is favorable, it is surrounded by downside risks. The main near-term risks stem from Colombia’s still significant near-term external financing needs and potential capital inflow reversals, the result of volatile global financial conditions. On the upside, bringing the peace process to fruition could further improve business confidence and capital inflows, reinforcing the recovery that will follow the necessary adjustment process.
Ms. Izabela Karpowicz
Financial inclusion has been one of the key pillars of Colombia’s development strategy for a number of years. Financial inclusion policies have aimed at channeling microcredit to poor, spreading formal banking system usage, fostering electronic payment acceptance, and making financial services more affordable. Using simulations from a general equilibrium model it is possible to identify the most binding financial sector frictions that preclude financial inclusion of enterprises, and study the effects on growth and inequality of efforts to remove these frictions. The study finds that lowering contraints on collateral promises higher growth while inequality is better tackled through measures that lower the financial participation cost.