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Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

This issue of the Asia & Pacific Small States Monitor focuses on the challenges facing Asia and Pacific small states associated with natural disasters and climate change. Most tourism-oriented economies experienced a robust increase in arrivals, partly reflecting country-specific factors. Among commodity exporters (Bhutan, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste) and other Asia and Pacific small states, growth remains uneven: robust activity in Bhutan was driven mainly by hydropower-related construction activities; Solomon Islands experienced a continuing decline of logging stocks and a short-term disruption of gold production; and Timor-Leste’s ongoing depletion of oil reserves has led to a tighter budget constraint and lower government spending in the non-oil sector.

Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

Context: Bhutan is a small, until recently fast-growing, lower middle-income country with deep economic ties to India and a peg to the Indian rupee. Growth in Bhutan was robust during the last Five-Year Plan (2008/09 to 2012/13), driven by the development of the hydropower sector (exporting electricity to India) and a credit-fueled private consumption boom.

International Monetary Fund
The sharp global recession has been taking a toll on the St. Kitts and Nevis economy. The staff report examines the St. Kitts and Nevis 2009 Article IV Consultation and request for Emergency Natural Disaster Assistance. Economic activity has weakened markedly, particularly in tourism and foreign direct investment (FDI)-related construction, the drivers of growth in recent years. The drop-off in tourism receipts, FDI, and other capital flows could lead to a worsening of the balance-of-payments position.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Belize focused on structural reforms to raise growth and social inclusion; strengthening resilience to natural disasters; balanced medium-term fiscal consolidation; tax reform; and strengthening financial oversight and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism actions. Public debt remains above 90 percent of gross domestic product, the current account deficit is projected to remain large over the medium term, and international reserves are just below three months of imports of goods and services. The pace of structural reform has been slow. Downside risks, including from slower US growth, natural disasters, crime, and renewed pressures on correspondent banking relationships could weaken growth and financial stability. Belize is adapting its tax regime in response to concerns from multilateral institutions regarding potentially harmful features. Sustaining Belize’s recent economic expansion, spurring private investment, and facilitating structural diversification hinges on strengthening the business environment.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses a request from Samoa's authorities for a Disbursement Under the Rapid-Access Component of the Exogenous Shocks Facility (ESF-RAC). The tsunami that hit Samoa on September 29, 2009 has undercut Samoa’s economic resilience and prospects for a quick recovery from the global recession. Real GDP is likely to contract in 2010. The authorities have requested a disbursement equivalent to 50 percent of quota (SDR 5.8 million) under the IMF’s ESF-RAC. IMF staff supports the request on Samoa’s low public debt and credible commitment to sound macroeconomic policies.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses measures to enhance resilience to climate and natural disasters in Seychelles. Rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, increasingly intense and frequent tropical cyclones, and massive coral bleaching are compounding economic and social risks in Seychelles. A policy mix focused on combining adaptation and mitigation strategies is ideal for Seychelles. Such policies should not only be aligned with Seychelles’ Nationally Determined Contribution, but also with the technical and financial capacity of the government. Experience from other small states suggests that small policy changes can still have a significant impact. To the extent adaptation and mitigation measures are inadequate, insurance policies and innovative financial instruments need to be exploited further.
International Monetary Fund
Over the last decade, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) macroeconomic performance has deteriorated relative to the rest of the Caribbean. Tourism accounts for three-fifths of exports, and the import content of consumption and investment is high. The ECCB-operated quasi-currency board arrangement (CBA) has continued to deliver price and exchange rate stability. The region has strong social indicators, but poverty, health, and crime remain concerns. Despite the implementation of ambitious revenue reforms, limited progress has been made toward fiscal consolidation. Credit has continued to expand rapidly.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that growth in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2017 is expected to remain relatively flat. The current account deficit is expected to narrow reflecting additional profit repatriation by telecommunication companies. The domestic banking system remains stable, but credit to the private sector has been flat. The fiscal situation is projected to worsen substantially in 2017 owing to a projected decline in tax revenue after exceptional receipts in 2016 and higher outlays for transfers, subsidies and public investment. Growth is expected to pick up to 2.1 percent in 2018 and reach its potential over the medium-term.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
A mission was requested by the New Zealand authorities to the Cook Islands to focus on policy options for transitioning to high-income status, financial sector stability and regulatory framework, and debt sustainability.1 It evaluated these issues in the context of the medium-term outlook and against the context of a recently developed fiscal framework. The Cook Islands is a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand, but it is not an IMF member (Box 1).