This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper on Kuwait focuses on recent development in investment companies (ICs) and the business environment in the country. ICs continue to be vulnerable to swings in financial and real estate markets. They continue to have large exposures to domestic, regional, and international equity and real estate markets. Local banks’ lending to ICs declined in 2010–11 owing to banks’ write-offs of ICs loans. The financial situation of many ICs remains precarious, and there are 15 listed investment companies in a dire situation.
The Japanese Government Bond (JGB) market has been stable in Japan since the earthquake, but the factors holding down JGB yields could diminish over time. To limit these risks, fiscal policy should aim to reduce public debt quickly and lengthen maturity of JGBs. The Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) easing measures have had a significant and broad-based impact on financial markets. Policies to support employment and protect incomes have been effective, but have to be phased out and complemented with training and job search assistance programs to facilitate a smooth reallocation of labor.
Judith Gold, Mr. Ruben V Atoyan, and Miss Cornelia Staritz
After a period of exceptionally strong economic performance, Guyana's growth has stagnated since 1998. The paper tries to identify the factors that can explain this dramatic deterioration in economic performance. The paper first attempts to explain the decline of growth with a growth accounting exercise which shows that there was a significant swing in total factor productivity, and than uses a panel regression framework to analyze the growth impact of changes in various factors. Finally, through a series of cross-country exercises, the paper shows that the primary reasons for the divergence between the economic performance of Guyana and other Caribbean, HIPC, and PRGF-eligible countries in 1998-2004 are a substantial decline in share of net foreign and private domestic investment in GDP, a decline in the labor force, and a less favorable political and institutional environment.
The flow of workers' remittances to Pakistan has more than quadrupled in the last eight years and it shows no sign of slowing down, despite the economic downturn in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other important host countries for Pakistani workers. This paper analyses the forces that have driven remittance flows to Pakistan in recent years. The main conclusions are: (i) the growth in the inflow of workers' remittances to Pakistan is in large part due to an increase in worker migration; (ii) higher skill levels of migrating workers have helped to boost remittances; (iii) other imporant determinants of remittances to Pakistan are agriculture output and the relative yield on investments in the host and home countries.
This Selected Issues paper paints a picture of the Indian economy that has made great strides, but has more to do to accelerate growth and reduce poverty. The paper assesses empirically whether India has entered a new phase of higher trend growth. Two alternative methodologies are used to disentangle underlying structural growth trends from shorter-term cyclical fluctuations around this trend. The paper focuses on a number of the reforms required to ensure that needed high growth can be achieved on a sustained basis.
This Selected Issues paper presents an analysis of trends in growth and investment in India in the 1990s, with a focus on the slowdown in growth during the second half of the 1990s. The paper discusses the fiscal situation, outlining the key reasons for the deterioration in fiscal balances, how the fiscal situation compares with other developing countries, and the key lessons from countries that managed successful fiscal consolidation. The paper also contains an assessment of India’s opening to global trade and factors that may be affecting India’s export performance.
This paper discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—National Development Plan for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The plan has been a participative process, involving constituents in every sector of the economy to identify the problems they face and to suggest solutions to those problems. East Timor’s Development Strategy as described in this plan is to design programs and pursue initiatives that systematically address its main development goals. The first set of tasks during this early transition stage is to establish government capabilities, enabling legislation and the institutions required to pursue development priorities.
This paper describes the need to broaden the agenda for poverty reduction. The broadening of the agenda follows from a growing understanding that poverty is more than low income, a lack of education, and poor health. The poor are frequently powerless to influence the social and economic factors that determine their well being. The paper highlights that a broader definition of poverty requires a broader set of actions to fight it and increases the challenge of measuring poverty and comparing achievement across countries and over time.
This Selected Issues paper highlights that the authorities in the Republic of Korea recognize the pension policy challenges ahead, and a first wave of reforms has already been launched. Despite the reforms to date, much remains to be done. Without further reforms, the public pension systems in Korea are not financially sustainable. This paper considers options for moving to a funded first-pillar pension system. The main results show that a sustainable, funded pension system can be achieved in Korea with reasonably modest changes to key parameters and extra financing.