This Joint Staff Advisory Note reviews the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Progress Report for Mongolia. Recent economic developments have been broadly favorable. Real GDP growth exceeded 10.5 percent in 2004 and is expected to remain robust, at about 5.5 percent in 2005, with a recovery in livestock production and strong activity in the mining sector serving as the main drivers of growth. Fiscal performance has strengthened markedly, with the overall deficit narrowing to about 2 percent of GDP in 2004—the lowest level since the start of the transition in the early 1990s.
The obstacles to economic growth in Mongolia are modeled with a supply-side growth model calibrated to represent inefficient use of resources and intermediation. Progressive removal of inefficiencies over time by means of privatization of banks and industrial enterprises potentially leads to increased productivity and increased capital accumulation, raising economic growth and per capita output.
Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia and Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos
This paper examines the usefulness of testing the conformity of macroeconomic data with Benford's law as indicator of data quality. Most of the macroeconomic data series tested conform with Benford's law. However, questions emerge on the reliability of such tests as indicators of data quality once conformity with Benford's law is contrasted with the data quality ratings included in the data module of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (data ROSCs). Furthermore, the analysis shows that rejection of Benford's law may be unrelated to the quality of statistics, and instead may result from marked structural shifts in the data series. Hence, nonconformity with Benford's law should not be interpreted as a reliable indication of poor quality in macroeconomic data.
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that the global economic crisis and collapse in copper prices in 2008 hit the Mongolian economy hard. The loose macropolicies and tightly managed exchange rate pursued during the preceding boom years had made the economy particularly vulnerable, and the situation deteriorated markedly in early 2009. The authorities are making progress toward restoring health to public finances. Executive Directors have supported the authorities’ policy priorities to restore health to public finances, rebuild international reserves while maintaining a flexible exchange rate, bolster confidence in the banking system, and protect the poor.
This paper focuses on proposed Stand-By arrangement (SBA) for Mongolia. This proposed SBA would aim to smooth adjustment to the catastrophic terms-of-trade shock, restore health to the country’s fiscal finances, and allow for exchange rate flexibility in line with market conditions. In addition, the IMF program would outline a clear macroeconomic framework to provide the basis for the authorities to approach the broader international community for financial support. Monetary policy will be calibrated to lower inflation while maintaining a flexible exchange rate and safeguarding international reserves.
This paper is the third in a series assessing macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income developing countries (LIDCs). The first of these papers (IMF, 2014a) examined trends during 2000–2014, a period of sustained strong growth across most LIDCs. The second paper (IMF, 2015a) focused on the impact of the drop in global commodity prices since mid-2014 on LIDCs—a story with losers (countries dependent on commodity exports, notably fuel) and winners (countries with a more diverse export base, where growth remained robust).
The overarching theme in this paper’s assessment of the macroeconomic conjuncture among LIDCs is that of incomplete adjustment to the new world of “lower for long” commodity prices, with many commodity exporters still far from a sustainable macroeconomic trajectory (Chapter 1). The analysis of risks and vulnerabilities focuses on financial sector stresses and medium-term fiscal risks, pointing to the actions, including capacity building, needed to manage and contain these challenges over time (Chapter 2). With 2016 the first year of the march towards the 2030 development goals, the paper also looks at how infrastructure investment can be accelerated in LIDCs, given that weaknesses in public infrastructure (such as energy, transportation systems) in LIDCs are widely seen as a key constraint on medium-term growth potential (Chapter 3).
With the sharp adjustment in commodity prices now into its third year, some of the key messages of the paper are familiar: a) many commodity exporters, notably fuel producers, remain under significant economic stress, with sluggish growth, large fiscal imbalances, and weakened foreign reserve positions; b) countries with a more diversified export base are generally doing well, although several have been hit by declines in remittances, conflict/natural disasters, and the contractionary impact of macroeconomic stabilization programs; c) widening fiscal imbalances, in both commodity and diversified exporters, have resulted in rising debt levels, with severe financing stress emerging in some cases; and d) financial sector stresses have emerged in many LIDCs, with expectations that these strains will increase in many commodity exporters over the next 12–18 months. Key messages on financial sector oversight, on medium-term fiscal risks, and on tackling infrastructure gaps are flagged below.
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