The June 2007 issue of F&D spotlights gender equality. The lead article discusses progress toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on redressing gender discrimination and empowering women and related MDGs. The section also looks at how budgeting with gender issues in mind can help countries promote gender equality and what needs to be done to get girls from 'excluded' social groups into school. Other articles focus on Asia 10 years after the financial crisis, the implications of China's and India's growing ties with Africa, and making remittances work for Africa. 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Bulgaria now that it has joined the European Union, 'Picture This' highlights the globalization of labor, and 'Back to Basics' gives a primer on microfinance. Two other pieces discuss the efficiency of public spending in Latin America and how countries can use the public sector balance sheet approach to diagnose vulnerabilities that are not immediately visible in the budget.
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After the recession, Uruguay continued to face difficult economic conditions under the Stand-By Arrangement. Executive Directors emphasized the need to promote sustainable growth with low inflation and high employment. They welcomed Uruguay's continued commitment to trade liberalization, and stressed the need for fiscal discipline, improved competitiveness, strong fiscal and monetary policies, structural reforms, and measures to strengthen the performance of public enterprises. They observed that the country's economic statistics are adequate for the assessment and monitoring of macroeconomic policies.
This paper examines Uruguay’s Request for a Stand-By Arrangement. Although the external current account shifted to a moderate deficit, mainly reflecting the recovery in imports, export performance has been robust, and gross international reserves are now about three-fourths their pre-crisis level. The authorities’ program appropriately focuses on fiscal consolidation keeping inflation low through prudent monetary policy, promoting sound credit flows in a strengthened financial system, and other growth-oriented reforms. Key to maintaining macrostability will be achieving sufficiently large primary surpluses over the medium term to keep the public debt on a firm downward path.
With the recovery from the 2002 crisis well advanced, discussions focused on policies to reduce remaining vulnerabilities and sustain growth. Sensitivity analysis suggests that the economy, while having become more resilient in recent years, is still vulnerable. The authorities agreed to continue increasing buffers and strengthening Uruguay’s underlying performance, noting that under current strong policies and expected continued favorable external conditions, vulnerabilities should decline considerably with time. The estimates of sustainable expenditure paths for Russia are assessed. This study concludes by summarizing the policy implications of the analysis.
Sound policies and favorable external conditions have led to a strong economic recovery, but important challenges lie ahead. Uruguay’s near-term economic prospects are generally favorable. The main short-term challenge is rising inflation in the wake of vigorous growth and capital inflows. The reduction of vulnerabilities in recent years has been a major accomplishment, but challenges remain. The objectives and instruments of monetary policy should be clarified. Maintaining high primary fiscal surpluses is essential to reduce the debt burden. Further improving the business climate is key.
Uruguay has consolidated economic gains, supported by strong macroeconomic policies and a broadly favorable external environment. Growth has exceeded expectations, unemployment has reached record lows, and poverty has continued to fall, while economic vulnerabilities have been significantly reduced. Despite strong credit growth, financial system soundness indicators have improved, showing a well-capitalized banking system, low nonperforming loan ratios and high liquidity levels. Executive Directors have welcomed the measures the authorities have taken to reduce inflationary pressures, including increases in the policy rate and banks’ reserve requirements and tax administrative measures.
Uruguay: 2010 Article IV Consultation—Staff Report; Public Information Notice; and Statement by the Executive Director for Uruguay
Uruguay’s near-term outlook is positive, but with risks and policy challenges. Medium-term challenges include bolstering the economy’s resilience to shocks and fostering productivity growth. Inflation is a priority and monetary policy cannot fight inflation alone; concerted efforts on other fronts are also necessary. Near-term fiscal policy could better support monetary policy. A long-term policy challenge is to bolster growth prospects and reduce output volatility. The political cycle should be propitious for continued sound policies and progress with reforms.