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Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

This issue of the Asia & Pacific Small States Monitor focuses on the challenges facing Asia and Pacific small states associated with natural disasters and climate change. Most tourism-oriented economies experienced a robust increase in arrivals, partly reflecting country-specific factors. Among commodity exporters (Bhutan, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste) and other Asia and Pacific small states, growth remains uneven: robust activity in Bhutan was driven mainly by hydropower-related construction activities; Solomon Islands experienced a continuing decline of logging stocks and a short-term disruption of gold production; and Timor-Leste’s ongoing depletion of oil reserves has led to a tighter budget constraint and lower government spending in the non-oil sector.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx

Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

Context: Bhutan is a small, until recently fast-growing, lower middle-income country with deep economic ties to India and a peg to the Indian rupee. Growth in Bhutan was robust during the last Five-Year Plan (2008/09 to 2012/13), driven by the development of the hydropower sector (exporting electricity to India) and a credit-fueled private consumption boom.

International Monetary Fund

This 2001 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Republic of Palau faces a number of development challenges. Substantial improvements in human and physical infrastructure are needed to sustain higher growth rates. About 80 percent of the land area is on the Babeldaob Island, which is virtually inaccessible now, but it is expected to develop rapidly after the completion of a Japan-funded bridge in 2002 and a United States-funded island access road in 2004. Asset balances have been declining as a result of drawdowns to finance fiscal deficits, as well as recent investment losses.

International Monetary Fund

The Republic of Palau is a small island economy, heavily dependent on tourism and external assistance. Economic growth has been modest in the last few years and inflation is low. The authorities launched a wide range of reform initiatives since 2001, but several important ones have stalled in the legislative process. Although the banking regulatory framework still needs improvements for effective implementation, a tax reform package, a new foreign investment law, a statistics law, and proposals related to streamlining the executive and legislative branch have not yet been enacted.

International Monetary Fund

Over the past two years, economic activity in Palau has been slowed. Executive Directors welcomed the authorities’ disciplined policies, strong financial sector legislation, and prudent management of foreign grants. They encouraged the authorities to build a strong fiscal consolidation and improve the business environment. Directors applauded the authorities’ strong efforts to reduce expenditure. They stressed the need for strengthening tax administration and commended the well regulated financial sector, and encouraged the authorities to improve the coverage, reliability, and timeliness of key economic statistics.

International Monetary Fund

The key findings of the Republic of Palau’s 2010 Article IV Consultation shows that the single most important issue in Palau remains fiscal policy, including its effect on medium-term growth, as fiscal consolidation proceeds. The global financial crisis followed on the heels of a massive terms-of-trade shock, leading to a sharp curtailment of foreign direct investment and private credit. Tourism tumbled following an airline bankruptcy, and construction activity fell as major infrastructure projects reached completion.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that after two years of strong expansion, growth is estimated at about zero percent in the fiscal year 2013 (FY2013, ending in September) in the Republic of Palau owing to declines in construction and tourism. Inflation moderated to 2¾ percent (annual average) in FY2013 thanks to stable international food and fuel prices, and it is expected to stay at about 3 percent in FY2014. Growth is projected to increase to 1¾ percent in FY2014 and to 2¼–2½ percent over the medium term driven by the recovery in tourism and infrastructure developments.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Palau is a middle-income micro state in the Pacific (population: 18,000) that relies heavily on tourism and grants, and is exposed to natural disasters. The economy grew strongly at 9.4 percent in FY2015 led by robust tourism and construction activity, but the surge in tourist arrivals strained infrastructure and was tilted to low budget tourism. The fiscal position has improved, but further efforts are needed to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability. The outlook is favorable although subject to significant downside risks. The discussions focused on