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Mr. Markus Rodlauer


The Philippines has received considerable attention in recent years as it “emerged” in the early 1990s from a long period of slow growth and economic imbalances, and then managed to escape the “Asian crisis” relatively unscathed. This suggests that the reforms under way since the late 1980s, and intensified in the 1990s, have paid off, and are continuing to bear fruit with the help of skillful crisis management through the recent turbulence. By the same token, the pressure of recent shocks has put the spotlight on the remaining structural weaknesses that need to be addressed for sustained rapid growth and development. The Philippines’ recent experience may contain valuable lessons for emerging economies’ efforts at crisis prevention and crisis management, as well as for the country’s own policy choices at the threshold of the next decade. This Occasional Paper describes this experience, focusing on the elements behind the relatively strong performance in recent years as well as the remaining reform agenda.

Ms. Piyabha Kongsamut and Mr. Athanasios Vamvakidis


The Philippine economy has long been set apart from many of its Asian neighbors by its weaker growth performance; its performance in recent years, however, offers grounds for optimism.

Ms. Kristina Kostial and Victoria Summers


Since the early 1990s, there has been a significant improvement in the Philippines’ fiscal accounts. The consolidated public sector balance moved from deficits in the range of one-half of 1 percent of GNP to 2 percent of GNP at the beginning of the 1990s to a balanced position in 1996. This reflected not only a substantial reduction in the deficit of the monitored government-owned and -controlled corporations and a strong consolidation in the national government balance, but also an improvement in the position of other public sector entities. Since 1997, fiscal balances have moved back into higher deficits, as fiscal policy turned expansionary in support of domestic demand mainly by accommodating the revenue losses associated with the crisis-related slowdown of growth.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about Large Fiscal Consolidation Attempts in the Past and Implications for Policymakers Today (by Fuad Hasanov and Paolo Mauro). The research summaries are "Booms and Busts" (by Roberto Piazza) and " Did Export Diversification Soften the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis?" (by Rafael Romeu). The issue also provides details on visiting scholars at the IMF (mainly from September through December 2011), as well as recently published IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes.
International Monetary Fund
The government’s plans to reform the tax system and administration are well founded. The Central Bank of Aruba is to be commended for its prudent management of monetary policy, as demonstrated by the continued credibility and strength of the peg to the U.S. dollar, buttressed by a robust foreign reserve position. There has been significant progress in expanding and strengthening the supervisory and regulatory framework of financial activities. Renewed initiatives on structural reforms will improve efficiency in the use of resources and attract strategic investment.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on the Republic of Korea reviews near-term economic prospects and risks. Korea experiences solid growth with low inflation, and vulnerabilities to potential shocks appear low. With Korea aging at an almost unprecedented rate, spending on pensions, health, and long-term care could rise by as much as 11 percent of GDP over the long term, threatening fiscal sustainability. Although risks facing financial institutions appear quite manageable, the authorities have focused on risks to the highly indebted household sector.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes quality upgrading and low-wage competition for Singapore. The analysis concludes that quality upgrading is indeed taking place in some products where low-wage competitors are entering. More generally, Singapore’s exports are of a higher quality than its regional competitors, and the quality gap has widened over time. This paper also assesses the factors behind the mixed results of Singapore banks’ outward expansion by examining the region’s industry structure and competitive conditions.
International Monetary Fund
The People's Republic of China showed an impressive rapid economic recovery following the Asian crisis. Executive Directors commended the prudent banking practice, and stressed the need to maintain fiscal and monetary stances. They appreciated the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's (SAR) rules-based approach to economic policy and the country's participation in the Financial Sector Assessment Program. They welcomed Hong Kong SAR's compliance with the Special Data Dissemination Standard, and urged the authorities to present monetary survey and fiscal accounts on a standardized international format.
Mr. Brad J. McDonald, Rob Gregory, and Ms. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek
The actions proposed here focus on trade integration, substantially increasing exports of the poorest countries and helping them to meet the Millennium Development Goals. As the foundation for these ambitions, we emphasize the role of a secure, open global trading environment—strengthened further by concluding the WTO Doha Round. From this base, the poorest countries also need better trade preferences from the advanced and major emerging market countries (EMs). Building the capacity to take advantage of trade opportunities will require support from the international community and policy reforms—such as to trade regimes—by the poorest countries themselves. The Fifteen Point Action Plan proposed here could increase annual exports of the least-developed countries (LDCs) by $10 billion or more, with additional benefits for other Low-Income Countries (LICs).
Mr. Tim Callen and Warwick J. McKibbin
This paper uses the G-Cubed (Asia-Pacific) model-a macroeconomic model with rich cross-country links-to explore the implications for Japan and Asia of several shocks to the Japanese economy. The results suggest that, while fiscal consolidation in Japan would initially dampen domestic growth, over the medium term the impact on both the domestic and regional economies would be positive. Quantitative monetary easing in Japan would boost domestic activity in the short-run, while being basically neutral for the region. Finally, a loss of confidence in the yen would be negative for Japan, but positive for the region because of a reallocation of capital flows toward non-Japan Asia.