Global activity strengthened in the second half of 2013 and is expected to pick up further in 2014–15, on account of a faster recovery in the advanced economies. In contrast, the growth momentum in emerging markets remains subdued, reflecting tighter external financing conditions and homemade weaknesses in some cases. Risks around the outlook for global growth have diminished somewhat, but remain tilted to the downside.
Economic activity in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is expected to remain relatively subdued in 2014. While the faster recovery of the advanced economies should strengthen external demand, this effect is likely to be offset by the negative impact of lower commodity prices and tighter financial conditions on domestic demand. Policy priorities include strengthening public finances, addressing potential financial fragilities, and implementing structural reforms to ease supply-side constraints and raise potential growth.
A stronger U.S. recovery will impart a positive impulse primarily to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, whereas the anticipated normalization of U.S. monetary policy will affect all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Traditional exposures to U.S. interest rates have diminished, as governments in LAC have reduced their reliance on U.S. dollar–denominated debt. However, U.S. monetary shocks also spill over into local funding and foreign exchange markets. Spillovers to domestic bond yields have typically been contained over the past decade, but the market turmoil of mid-2013 illustrates the risk of outsized responses under certain conditions. In a smooth normalization scenario, net capital inflows to LAC are unlikely to reverse, although new risk premium shocks could trigger outflow pressures. Countries cannot fully protect themselves against such external shocks, but strong balance sheets and credible policy frameworks provide resilience in the face of financial volatility.
This chapter takes another look at the commodity boom experienced by Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) since the early 2000s and analyzes how the region will be affected by a more subdued outlook for commodity prices. The analysis suggests that growth in the years ahead could be significantly lower than during the commodity boom even if commodity prices were to remain stable at their current relatively high levels. The results caution against trying to offset the current economic slowdown with demand-side stimulus and underscore the need for ambitious structural reforms to secure strong growth over the medium term.
For many decades, fiscal policy in Latin America has been, on average, procyclical. However, country-specific estimates for the cyclicality of fiscal policy are mostly insignificant, with only a few exceptions of clearly procyclical policy. Some countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico), meanwhile, appear to have moved toward less procyclical or more countercyclical policy in recent years. Nonetheless, other important attributes of sound fiscal policy, including fiscal sustainability, transparency, and efficiency, need to be strengthened further in many countries.
Following a two-year long recession, a gradual recovery of St. Kitts and Nevis’ highly indebted economy is under way. The government has shown remarkable resolve in pursuing fiscal consolidation. Notwithstanding the fiscal adjustment, a comprehensive and timely public debt restructuring is critical for the program to be fully financed and to achieve debt sustainability. Available financial sector indicators point to a well-capitalized banking system. Regulation of the non-bank financial sector has been strengthened, but continued efforts are needed to ensure effective supervision.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that economy of St. Kitts and Nevis continued its strong growth at about 5 percent, recording the strongest growth in the region during 2013–15. Strong growth has been underpinned by construction and tourism sector activity and their favorable spillovers on the rest of the economy, supported by surging inflows from its Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) program. Large CBI inflows continued in 2015, albeit at a slower pace. The medium-term outlook is positive, but remains dependent on developments in CBI inflows. Growth is expected to moderate to 3.5 percent in 2016 and 3 percent, on average, over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that following the opening of a modern international airport, signs of an economic recovery have emerged, with increased direct flights from major cities in the United States and Canada and renewed interests from foreign investors in tourism projects. The overall fiscal balance has improved over the past few years, and the debt to GDP ratio fell in 2017 for the first time since 2007. However, despite these positive developments, St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces challenges in sustaining the growth momentum over the longer-term. Like other Caribbean economies, its high exposure to natural disasters, limited land, narrow production and exports base, weak business competitiveness, and limited physical and human capital constrain potential growth. The financial system remains broadly stable but has vulnerable spots in the non-bank financial sector. It is important to implement structural reforms to foster private sector activity, by improving the investment environment and strengthening physical and human capital.
The recent boom and bust in commodity prices has raised concerns about the impact of volatile commodity prices on Latin American countries’ fiscal positions. Using a novel quarterly data set-which includes unique country-specific commodity price indices and a comprehensive measure of public expenditures-this paper analyzes the dynamic effects of commodity price fluctuations on fiscal revenues and expenditures for eight commodity-exporting Latin American countries. The results indicate that Latin American countries’ fiscal positions react strongly to shocks to commodity prices, yet there are marked differences across countries. Fiscal variables in Venezuela display the highest sensitivity to commodity price shocks, with expenditures reacting significantly more than revenues. At the other end of the spectrum, in Chile expenditure reacts very little to commodity price fluctuations, and the dynamic responses of its fiscal indicators are very similar to those seen in high-income commodity-exporting countries. This distinct behavior across countries may relate to institutional arrangements, which in some cases include the efficient application of fiscal rules amid political commitment and high standards of transparency.
Los cinco informes sobre las perspectivas económicas regionales (informes REO) que el FMI publica semestralmente abarcan Asia y el Pacífico, Europa, Oriente Medio y Asia Central, África sub-sahariana y las Américas. En cada informe se analizan la evolución reciente y las perspectivas económicas de la respectiva región, tanto en su conjunto como en países específicos. Los informes incluyen datos clave sobre los países de cada región. En cada informe se enfocan los acontecimientos de política económica que han incidido en los resultados económicos de la región y se analizan los desafíos que tienen ante sí las autoridades. También se analizan de manera exhaustiva las perspectivas a corto plazo, los principales riesgos y los desafíos de política conexos, como por ejemplo cuándo y cómo retirar las intervenciones públicas en los sistemas financieros a escala mundial, preservando al mismo tiempo una recuperación económica que aún es frágil. Estos estudios indispensables son el producto de exámenes interdepartamentales exhaustivos de la evolución económica basados principalmente en la información que el personal del FMI recopila en las consultas con los países miembros.