This Technical Assistance report focuses on strengthening public assets and liabilities management (ALM) in Mexico. The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) has been making consistent efforts over the last two decades to compile the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (PSBS) and expand its coverage of institutions, flows, and stocks. The PSBS could serve as a powerful analytical tool to assess the resilience of Mexico’s public finances. The SHCP should enhance its understanding of the structure and evolution of the PSBS and could start computing a few PSBS strength indicators, as suggested in the report, to gauge its overall exposure to risk, though some indicators may require additional data collection. Expanded fiscal indicators, based on PSBS data and going beyond gross public debt, can provide useful insight into public finances and improve fiscal policymaking. Improved quality of the cash forecast is important to underpin the move to more active cash management. Moreover, in the federal context of Mexico, a Sovereign ALM strategy should focus on optimized management of risks from mismatches in the financial characteristics of financial assets and liabilities of the central public sector, supplemented by oversight of fiscal risks from subnational governments.
Strong fiscal institutions have contributed to Chile’s macroeconomic stability, and recent reform initiatives have focused on enhancing these institutions and fiscal transparency. This report assesses fiscal transparency practices in Chile in relation to the requirements of the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code and confirms that many elements of sound fiscal transparency practices are already in place. Chile’s practices meet the principles of the code at a good or advanced level for 21 out of the 36 principles. This is a good score, compared to the average for Latin American Countries and Emerging Market Economies. On a further nine principles, Chile meets the basic standard of practice. Chile’s fiscal transparency practices are very strong for fiscal forecasting and budgeting, followed by fiscal reporting, while fiscal risk analysis and management demonstrate more mixed results. Further improvements could be achieved relatively easily through the publication of some internal analyses or through a more timely or user-friendly publication of already available information.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
This paper discusses that the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has also launched three new evaluations—which will analyze the IMF’s role on fragile states, its financial surveillance activities, and its advice on unconventional monetary policies—and two evaluation updates—which will look into the IMF’s exchange rate policy advice and structural conditionality. The evaluation found that, for the most part, the IMF’s euro area surveillance identified the right issues during the pre-crisis period but did not foresee the magnitude of the risks that would later become paramount. The IMF’s surveillance of the financial regulatory architecture was generally of high quality, but staff, along with most other experts, missed the buildup of banking system risks in some countries. The report found several issues with the way decision making was managed by the IMF. In May 2010, the IMF Executive Board approved a decision to provide exceptional access financing to Greece without seeking preemptive debt restructuring, even though its sovereign debt was not deemed sustainable with a high probability.
This paper discusses key findings of the Fiscal Transparency Evaluation report on Guatemala. Guatemala has transparency practices that achieve the ratings of basic, good, and advanced regarding three-quarters of the principles established in the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code. The wealth of information available and the systems in place related to the public sector’s execution of its budget, finances, and accounts allow for easy access by the population to an impressive volume of fiscal data. However, there is much room for improvement in the area of fiscal transparency. Establishing a new fiscal pact in which the medium-term fiscal targets are defined would help create fiscal predictability and ensure that the major challenges of social and economic development are met.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Context. Growth remains rapid, but has moderated from the 7¼ percent recorded in 2013. Remittances and accommodative monetary and financial conditions remain the primary growth drivers, despite volatile capital flows, slowing activity in the region and severe natural disasters. Inflation has picked up to over 4 percent, while the current account remains in surplus. Local financial markets were moderately impacted by the Fed’s “taper talk and action,” weakening the peso and equity prices. Credit growth has quickened, especially to construction. Potential growth has risen to about 6?6¼ percent. However, persistent weakness in the business climate is a risk to sustained growth and hinders job creation. Foreign ownership restrictions, inadequate infrastructure and high doing-business costs have held back overall investment and employment. Along with frequent natural disasters, this has kept poverty elevated, thereby sustaining outward migration. Outlook and risks. Normalizing financial conditions are forecast to ease growth to 6?6½ percent over the medium term, while keeping inflation within the band and moderating the current account surplus. Abrupt changes in global financial conditions and a sharp growth slowdown in EMs are among the external growth risks. On the domestic front, excessive flow of real and financial resources to the property sector could increase volatility of asset prices and GDP growth over the longer run. Policy recommendations. A more restrictive policy stance is needed to preserve macro- financial stability, with rebalancing of the mix to allow higher public investment spending, while implementing reforms to sustain vibrant growth and make it more inclusive: • Absorbing liquidity and raising official interest rates would address second-round inflation effects and potential overheating and financial stability risks. Allowing the exchange rate to adjust more fully to structural inflows, while smoothing the effect of cyclical flows, would limit further sustained reserve buildup. • Addressing specific risks from real estate and large credit exposures requires further targeted measures and broadening the BSP’s mandate to include financial stability. This would help prevent diversion of systemic risk to shadow banking and strengthen tools to manage risks from deepening cross-border financial integration. • Raising the fiscal deficit from below 1½ percent of GDP in 2013 to 2 percent of GDP in 2014 to accommodate reconstruction spending should be accompanied by tighter monetary and financial conditions. Mobilizing sizable additional stable revenue would ensure room for structural spending priorities while preserving fiscal prudence. • Improving the investment climate by relaxing foreign ownership limits, reducing red tape, limiting tax holidays, and reducing labor and product market rigidities would enhance competition, support PPP execution and create employment opportunities within the Philippines.