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International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses that from shifting demographics to climate change, Southeast Asia confronts a host of challenges. Summoning them will require both resilience and flexibility. Advances in artificial intelligence, including robotics, together with innovations such as 3-D printing and new composite materials, will transform manufacturing processes, making them less labor-intensive while creating opportunities for new products. This will enable new ways of making things and change the drivers of competitiveness. There will be indirect effects as well. For example, aircraft manufacturers, taking advantage of new composite materials such as carbon fibers, have developed a class of superlong-haul aircraft that could bring more tourists to Southeast Asia as relatively cheap point-to-point travel options emerge. The region should still enjoy synergies from globalization and other modes of economic integration, but the form and shape of such integration could change. For Southeast Asia, the next couple of decades could prove exhilarating in terms of the opportunities presented by technology and global growth, but also tumultuous because of the continuing risks, such as those posed by an unreformed and unstable international financial architecture. There clearly is much hard work to be done. Policymakers still have not gotten everything right, but they are heading in the right direction.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Estonia examines impact of assessing competitiveness and exposure to shocks integrating global value chains (GVCs). This paper strengthens the analytical underpinnings of competitiveness assessments and exposure to shocks by incorporating GVCs. Standard real effective exchange rates (REER) indexes assume trade is only in final goods. However, like most European economies, Estonia is highly integrated into GVCs. This implies that assessments of competitiveness should consider trade in value added. Based on a structural model, the paper assesses competitiveness and exposure to trade shocks accounting for the GVC participation in Estonia. The analysis using a REER index considering the GVC architecture suggests potential competitiveness problems in Estonia. The paper also estimates the impact of overvaluation (and appreciation) of the GVC related REER measure on value added export and real GDP growth and finds observable effects. Further, trade tension induced tariff hikes may have important costs for value added produced in Estonia.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on the Republic of Armenia seeks to quantify the macroeconomic impact of the government’s reform agenda, which covers three broad areas: tax policy and pension; governance, government efficiency, and corruption; and labor market and competition. Strengthening growth and competitiveness and addressing governance problems requires comprehensive reform efforts. The new government has made it clear that fighting corruption and improving governance remain top priorities. Measures have been proposed to enhance corporate transparency, including through accounting and auditing reforms. A more systematic support program for small and medium-sized enterprises, along with labor market reforms, should also help alleviate unemployment difficulties. The simulations suggest that the government’s tax policy reform can have a positive impact on output in the medium run if it is accompanied by supporting measures. The results suggest that a full implementation of the reform package would yield substantial benefits for the economy. In particular, it could increase real GDP by as much as 7 percent over the long run.