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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

2017 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Federated States of Micronesia

International Monetary Fund

The authorities have made solid progress in rebuilding institutions and implementing sound economic policies, although huge challenges still remain. The IMF has been providing extensive policy advice and technical assistance to the authorities. With the help of the international community, the authorities have made impressive strides in rebuilding institutions and implementing sound economic policies. The economic recovery is strong, but comes from a very low level. Preliminary data suggest that expenditures were again off to a slow start in 2003/04.

International Monetary Fund
The Joint Staff Advisory Note report assesses that Maldives has achieved notable development progress through sound macroeconomic management, tourism development, and public service provision improvement under the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Executive Directors emphasized the need to strengthen the fiscal policy framework, develop institutions, implement structural reforms and a realistic budget to mitigating risks, and ensure macroeconomic stability. Directors welcomed the Seventh National Development Plan, the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, and stressed the need for significant efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the economic development program.
International Monetary Fund
Sri Lanka’s 2005 Article IV Consultation reports that the fiscal deficit exceeded budget targets, and with a significant amount of government financing provided by the central bank, the growth in monetary aggregates increased, contributing to higher inflation. The near-term economic outlook is to a large extent shaped by the post-tsunami reconstruction effort. Reconstruction and a quick rebound in tourism should maintain growth momentum, but demand pressures and fuel price adjustments are expected to keep inflation in double digits.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Micronesian economy continued its gradual recovery in fiscal year 2016 (ending September 30), after three years of contraction during 2012–14. Real GDP is estimated to have grown by 3.0 percent in 2016, driven by increased construction activity related to infrastructure projects. Consumer prices remained broadly stable. The fiscal balance recorded an estimated surplus of 9 percent of GDP, after another year of strong revenues from fishing license fees. In 2017, growth is expected to moderate to 2 percent, as the recovery continues at a slower pace. Despite the recovery, risks are tilted to the downside beyond the near term.
International Monetary Fund
The floods in Pakistan are a natural disaster of massive proportions. The overall impact will critically depend on how the floods will affect agricultural output along the Indus and its tributaries. The Pakistani authorities request financial assistance under the IMF policy for Emergency Natural Disaster Assistance (ENDA). Based on these developments, prior to the floods, IMF staff had projected a GDP growth rate of 4¼ percent and an annual inflation rate of 11.5 percent for 2010/2011. The economic outlook has deteriorated sharply as a result of the floods.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the joint advice of the staffs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP). This I-PRSP outlines the main areas envisaged to reduce poverty and the measures for the implementation of the full Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS). The full PRSP could improve on the I-PRSP by building on its strength of inclusiveness, strengthening its policy focus, including the link between policy and resource use, and elaborating a clear framework for the coordination and monitoring of the strategy.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Samoa was hit hard by a strong tropical cyclone, and the authorities are to be commended for their swift response to the resulting disaster. Economic growth this fiscal year is expected to be significantly lower than projected prior to the cyclone, but there are encouraging signs of early recovery. The need is to aim the fiscal strategy at securing sufficient resources while minimizing borrowing. With subdued inflationary pressures and the need to support the recovery, monetary policy should remain accommodative.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Context. Growth remains rapid, but has moderated from the 7¼ percent recorded in 2013. Remittances and accommodative monetary and financial conditions remain the primary growth drivers, despite volatile capital flows, slowing activity in the region and severe natural disasters. Inflation has picked up to over 4 percent, while the current account remains in surplus. Local financial markets were moderately impacted by the Fed’s “taper talk and action,” weakening the peso and equity prices. Credit growth has quickened, especially to construction. Potential growth has risen to about 6?6¼ percent. However, persistent weakness in the business climate is a risk to sustained growth and hinders job creation. Foreign ownership restrictions, inadequate infrastructure and high doing-business costs have held back overall investment and employment. Along with frequent natural disasters, this has kept poverty elevated, thereby sustaining outward migration. Outlook and risks. Normalizing financial conditions are forecast to ease growth to 6?6½ percent over the medium term, while keeping inflation within the band and moderating the current account surplus. Abrupt changes in global financial conditions and a sharp growth slowdown in EMs are among the external growth risks. On the domestic front, excessive flow of real and financial resources to the property sector could increase volatility of asset prices and GDP growth over the longer run. Policy recommendations. A more restrictive policy stance is needed to preserve macro- financial stability, with rebalancing of the mix to allow higher public investment spending, while implementing reforms to sustain vibrant growth and make it more inclusive: • Absorbing liquidity and raising official interest rates would address second-round inflation effects and potential overheating and financial stability risks. Allowing the exchange rate to adjust more fully to structural inflows, while smoothing the effect of cyclical flows, would limit further sustained reserve buildup. • Addressing specific risks from real estate and large credit exposures requires further targeted measures and broadening the BSP’s mandate to include financial stability. This would help prevent diversion of systemic risk to shadow banking and strengthen tools to manage risks from deepening cross-border financial integration. • Raising the fiscal deficit from below 1½ percent of GDP in 2013 to 2 percent of GDP in 2014 to accommodate reconstruction spending should be accompanied by tighter monetary and financial conditions. Mobilizing sizable additional stable revenue would ensure room for structural spending priorities while preserving fiscal prudence. • Improving the investment climate by relaxing foreign ownership limits, reducing red tape, limiting tax holidays, and reducing labor and product market rigidities would enhance competition, support PPP execution and create employment opportunities within the Philippines.