What obstacles are there to the growth of emerging markets? “Round up the usual suspects,” advised Columbia University’s Frederic Mishkin at a January 11-12 Brookings-Wharton conference that focused on integrating emerging market countries in the global financial system. In response to Mishkin’s call, presenters looked at the role of property rights, bankruptcy law, standards and codes of best international practice, security market development, corporate governance, accounting standards, and bank regulation and supervision. Many also underscored how vital it is for emerging markets to be consistent in implementing the policies and the practices they choose to follow.
The Timorese economy has improved owing to high oil-financed public spending and a rebound in agriculture, non-oil growth. Despite high bank deposit growth, private sector credit has remained stagnant. The medium-term outlook for growth is positive. Timor-Leste’s key challenge remains to use its petroleum wealth wisely to build a strong non-oil economy and raise living standards. Improvements in financial management and budget execution will be important. Productivity-enhancing structural reforms and efforts to build labor skills would improve competitiveness in non-oil industries and services.
Timor–Leste’s initial efforts to develop a stable and healthy economy have been interrupted by the civil unrest of the past two years. The security situation remains fragile and an economic burden. The key challenge remains how to manage the abundant petroleum revenue to alleviate near-term social problems and develop a sustainable non-oil economy. Growth has rebounded in 2007, although the civil unrest continues to undermine the economy. Inflation has risen sharply, but remains low relative to regional comparators. Access to financial services remains limited and credit growth has stalled.
The recent rise in inflation in Timor–Leste has raised concerns about international competitiveness and the cost of living. After remaining relatively subdued for several years, inflation in Timor–Leste rose decisively over the past two years. Higher food prices account for most of the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) in 2006–07. In contrast, the pace of non-food CPI inflation decelerated slightly in 2007, to below 3.5 percent on average. Further, based on Q1 2008 data, the second-round impact of oil price increases on inflation is emerging.