The speeches made by officials attending the IMF–World Bank Annual Meetings are published in this volume, along with the press communiqués issued by the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee at the conclusion of the meetings.
The global economic environment continued to provide little stimulus for SSA in 2003.2 While world economic growth increased from 3 percent in 2002 to 3.8 percent last year, world import demand did not keep pace and expanded by only 3.2 percent in the advanced economies, where most SSA exports are marketed. In addition, the external terms of trade for the region as a whole were largely unchanged, improving by about 2 percent for the oil exporters and declining by a similar amount for the non-oil economies. Some non-oil exporters received a boost to their terms of trade from stronger commodity prices, especially cotton (up 37 percent), groundnuts (up 30 percent), and robusta coffee (up 25 percent). However, despite these price increases, most key commodity prices remain very low relative to historical averages. On the positive side, world inflation remained low, helping contain inflation in SSA countries with exchange rate pegs. In addition, lower world interest rates kept domestic interest rates in SSA lower than would otherwise have been.
Six basic themes emerge from the 2003 outturn: (i) average growth in the region remains far below the 7 percent estimated to be needed for the region as a whole to reach the MDGs on income-based poverty; (ii) growth experiences continue to be diverse, and some countries appear to be on a path of relatively strong sustainable growth; (iii) domestic policies matter—countries facing the same external environment are having very different growth experiences; (iv) conflict, civil strife, drought, and poor policies continue to be the causes of the worst growth experiences; (v) net exports have not been the source of economic growth, except in the oil exporting countries; and (vi) the achievement of growth rates sufficient to significantly reduce poverty will require higher rates of investment, which, in the absence of higher rates of national savings, will need to be financed through larger official and private capital flows.
The outlook for 2004 is relatively upbeat. Economic growth rates will rise, inflation rates is expected to fall, investment and savings rates are projected to increase, external current account balances will be largely unchanged, and net international reserves coverage will stabilize. This improvement will be supported by a general reduction in fiscal deficits and a further tightening of monetary policy.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
On October 4, 2016 Haiti was struck by Hurricane Matthew, a strong Category 4 hurricane, which caused substantial loss of life and severe damage to property, infrastructure and agriculture. Total damage and loss is estimated at about US$1.9 billion, or about 23 percent of GDP. The impact has plunged Haiti into a new humanitarian crisis-7 years after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake ravaged Port-au-Prince-leaving an estimated 1.4 million people in need of urgent assistance. The hurricane forced a delay in the first round of the Presidential election, now scheduled for November 20.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper on the Philippines explores export performance in the context of global trade tensions. Unlike many Asian countries, the Philippines’ exports of goods have remained stable through the ongoing period of global trade tensions. Its low participation in global trade as well as in global value chains relative-to-peers seems to explain why the Philippines has not yet been negatively impacted by the trade tensions. On the other hand, despite its close trade ties with the United States, the Philippines has not benefitted much from trade diversion originated from the US–China bilateral tariffs, unlike Vietnam and Mexico. Philippines’ exports have slightly increased in dollar terms since 2017, but they have remained broadly stable in GDP terms. The Philippines does not appear to have benefitted much from the US–China trade tensions, but it has performed better than many of its peers at the aggregate level. The comparative advantages of the Philippines in terms of exports reside in high tech industries, which constitute its main exports. The Philippines has a revealed comparative advantage in exporting from high technology industries. In sum, the disaggregated trade data evidence suggests that the Philippines was not able to scale-up its exports to the United States as much as Vietnam and Mexico in many high- to medium-tech goods included in the US tariff lists.