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Mr. Clinton R. Shiells, Mr. John R Dodsworth, and Mr. Paul Henri Mathieu
This paper explores from a regional perspective the distorted nature of trade in energy products within the CIS countries. The persistence of pricing distortions, barter arrangements, and discriminatory access to pipelines, as well as failure to honor contracts, has disrupted and distorted energy exports to non-CIS countries, undermined energy sector reforms, and distorted investment decisions. The paper focuses on cross-border issues as an integral component of the wider problem of inefficient energy use within the CIS. Several policy recommendations are proposed, including measures to foster greater competition, reduce state involvement, and promote regional cooperation.
Mr. Stéphane Cossé
This paper assesses the main issues faced by the energy sector in a transition economy such as Romania and their macroeconomic dimension. It examines how the size of quasi-fiscal subsidies, owing mainly to inappropriate prices and the lack of financial discipline, has led to an increased focus on the energy sector under the IMF-supported programs. The paper analyzes the macroeconomic impact of recent reform measures and discusses the next steps to improve price policy and collection in energy utilities. Shifting to targeted budgetary subsidies appears also to be a crucial reform step.
Amer Bisat
This paper discusses issues related to the gas arrears ‘crisis’ in Ukraine. It concludes that the problem, which can be traced to policy distortions, can be contained through an acceleration of structural reforms. The paper examines the nature of the contractual relations between Ukraine and its foreign suppliers; the role of the de facto government guarantee for gas import payments; the process of imposing financial discipline on non-payers; the nature of gas-related subsidy schemes; and the methods used in calculating domestic energy prices. An Appendix derives lessons from the Estonian case--an economy which, despite relatively similar initial conditions, avoided the emergence of energy payment difficulties. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.
Mr. Bright E Okogu
This paper discusses the rising profile of natural gas in global energy, factors constraining its further development, the gas contracting process, and the absence of a global market, which is analyzed in the context of the economic rent in the gas price and the opaque nature of gas contracts. A proposal for rationalizing the trade to ease these constraints is offered. Gas pricing, and factors driving demand are also analyzed using evidence from the literature. FDI can help to monetize some of the 'stranded' gas reserves, but success would depend on an investor-friendly climate, including appropriate tariff regimes in the domestic markets.
Mr. Aleh Tsyvinski, Mr. Martin Petri, and Mr. Günther Taube
A decade into the transition, many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union (FSU) continue to use energy sector quasi-fiscal activities (QFAs), especially low energy prices and the toleration of payment arrears, to provide large implicit and untargeted subsidies. These activities disguise the overall size of the government, cause overconsumption and waste, and contribute to macroeconomic imbalances. This paper analyses such activities in FSU countries, with particular emphasis on two case studies (Azerbaijan and Ukraine). The paper's policy conclusions point to the need to increase energy prices, combined with a strengthening of safety nets to protect the poor, better enforcement of payment discipline, and more efforts to achieve fiscal transparency.
Mr. Dale F Gray
This paper examines the level and structure of fiscal revenues from the Baltics, Russia, and other former Soviet Union countries’ (BRO) energy sector and suggests reforms in energy tax policy. Revenues from the oil and gas sectors are about half the level that might be expected from international comparisons. Low oil revenues result from infrastructure constraints on oil exports, weak tax administration, and inappropriate tax structures. Low gas revenues are due to low statutory tax rates, a tax structure that does not capture monopoly or resource rents, and weak tax administration. Taxation of oil products could be increased.
Valentina Flamini and Mauricio Soto
Following a benchmarking exercise, we estimate the spending required to reach satisfactory progress in the Sustainable Development Goals in the health, education, and infrastructure sectors in Brazil. We find that there is room for savings in education (up to 1.5 percentage point of GDP) and health (up to 2.5 percentage points of GDP) without compromising the quality of services but additional investments for over 3 percent of GDP per year are needed to close large infrastructure gaps in roads, water, and electricity by 2030. Brazil can do more with less, but increasing efficiency of public spending will require substantial reforms.
Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz and Mauricio Soto
Raising living standards continues to be the main challenge facing Guatemala, as a matter of economic success and social cohesion. This paper discusses the spending, financing, and delivery capacity aspects of a viable development strategy for Guatemala couched within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. Overall, Guatemala faces additional spending of about 8½ percent of GDP in 2030 to attain health, education, and roads, water, and sanitation infrastructure SDGs. While substantial, these cost estimates are commensurate with a well-defined financing strategy encompassing continuing tax administration efforts, broad-based tax reform, scaled-up private sector participation, and greater spending efficiency. Improving delivery capacities is also essential to secure access of those public goods to all Guatemalans, irrespective of their place of residence, ethnic group, or ability to pay.
Gabriel Di Bella, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Karim Foda, Svitlana Maslova, Alex Pienkowski, Martin Stuermer, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
This paper analyzes the implications of disruptions in Russian gas for Europe’s balances and economic output. Alternative sources could replace up to 70 percent of Russian gas, allowing Europe to avoid shortages during a temporary disruption of around 6 months. However, a longer full shut-off of Russian gas to the whole of Europe would likely interact with infrastructure bottlenecks to produce very high prices and significant shortages in some countries, with parts of Central and Eastern Europe most vulnerable. With natural gas an important input in production, the capacity of the economy would shrink. Our findings suggest that in the short term, the most vulnerable countries in Central and Eastern Europe — Hungary, Slovak Republic and Czechia — face a risk of shortages of as much as 40 percent of gas consumption and of gross domestic product shrinking by up to 6 percent. The effects on Austria, Germany and Italy would also be significant, but would depend on the exact nature of remaining bottlenecks at the time of the shutoff and consequently the ability of the market to adjust. Many other countries are unlikely to face such constraints and the impact on GDP would be moderate—possibly under 1 percent. Immediate policy priorities center on actions to mitigate impacts, including to eliminate constraints to a more integrated gas market via easing infrastructure bottlenecks, to accelerate efforts in defining and agreeing solidarity contributions, and to promote stronger pricing pass through and other measures to generate greater energy savings. National responses and RePowerEU contains many important measures to help address these challenges, but immediate coordinated action is called for, with specific opportunities in each of these areas.
Ting Lan, Galen Sher, and Jing Zhou
We analyze the potential impacts on the German economy of a complete and permanent shutoff of the remaining Russian natural gas supplies to Europe, accounting for the curtailment of flows through Nord Stream 1 that has already taken place. We find that such a scenario could lead to gas shortages of 9 percent of national consumption in the second half of 2022, 10 percent in 2023 and 4 percent in 2024, which would be worse in the winter months, and would likely fall on firms, given legal protections on households. We combine the effects of less gas on production with the consequent effects of reduced supply of intermediate goods and services to downstream firms, and with reduced economic activity due to rising uncertainty. Together, these three channels reduce German GDP relative to baseline levels by about 1.5 percent in 2022, 2.7 percent in 2023 and 0.4 percent in 2024, with no gains in subsequent years from deferred economic activity. The associated rise in wholesale gas prices could increase inflation by about 2 percentage points on average in 2022 and 2023. Our simulations suggest that the economic impacts can be reduced significantly by having households voluntarily share a small part of the burden, and by rationing gas supplies more to more gas-intensive and downstream firms. We also suggest other ways to enhance German energy security.