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International Monetary Fund

This 2005 Article IV Consultation reports that Belarus experienced strong economic growth in 2004, supported by policies aimed at raising incomes and credit, and a favorable external environment. Inflation was halved during 2004, and slowed down further to 11 percent in April 2005, aided by a balanced budget, exchange rate stability, and continued remonetization. Although the economy’s current momentum is likely to result in significant growth in 2005, its long-term prospects are uncertain in the absence of wide-ranging structural reforms and a phasing out of massive quasi-fiscal activities.

International Monetary Fund

Honduras’s First Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria are discussed. The authorities are taking measures to contain inflation. The inflation target has been raised to accommodate the first-round impact of the oil price increase, and measures to limit foreign borrowing and credit growth are being taken to restrain domestic liquidity in the face of high foreign exchange inflows. A cautious monetary policy is particularly important given the role of expected inflation in wage settlements.

Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Mr. Chad Steinberg, and Mr. Murtaza H Syed
This paper assesses how pro-poor and inclusive Asia’s recent growth has been, and what factors have been driving these outcomes. It finds that while poverty has fallen across the region over the last two decades, inequality has increased, dampening the impact of growth on poverty reduction. As a result, relative to other emerging and developing regions and to Asia’s own past, the recent period of growth has been both less inclusive and less pro-poor. Our analysis suggests a number of policies that could help redress these trends and broaden the benefits of growth in Asia. These include fiscal policies to increase spending on health, education, and social safetynets; labor market reforms to boost the labor share of total income; and reforms to make financial systems more inclusive.
International Monetary Fund

Honduras’s request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and Interim Assistance Under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries is discussed. The social consultation has allowed the government to implement a vital reform of public sector wage policy. A reduction in the pressure of the civil service wage bill is the key for restoring the sustainability of the public finances. An ambitious financial sector reform is designed to address bank fragilities; and far-reaching transparency and anti-corruption measures aim to improve governance.