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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the income dispersion and comovement in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union region. It finds that incomes are diverging, with the Leeward Islands converging to a higher income level than the Windward Islands. The paper examines the macroeconomic impact of trade preference erosion on the Windward Islands and demonstrates the substantial impact from preference erosion on growth, trade balances, and fiscal positions. The paper also analyzes the size of the informal economy in the Caribbean.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper reviews the influence of the tropical climate on economic development. The paper highlights that the effect of climate is clearly not the only ruling constraint on economic development. It is claimed that climatic factors severely hamper development through their impact on both human beings and their agriculture. Human economic activity is directly and adversely affected through the widespread extent and impact of diseases; and tropical agriculture suffers in the quality of its soils, its rainfall, and its multiplicity of pests and diseases.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper focuses on currency convertibility and the exchange rate system. The paper explains some of the factors involved in extending the freedom of currency convertibility, one of the IMF’s principal policy aims. It highlights that the IMF’s Articles of Agreement make the distinction between currency convertibility for residents and for nonresidents, but make it an obligation in principle to avoid restrictions on current payments of both categories. The paper also discusses management in developing countries as well as the link between growth and structural change.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the 2008 Article IV Consultation of Trinidad and Tobago highlights economic developments and policies. Faced with a prospective decline in energy resources, the government has embarked on an ambitious development and diversification strategy. External vulnerability is low as a result of large international reserves and low debt ratios, and the banking sector has entered the period of global turmoil from a position of strength and with little reliance on external borrowing.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economy of Trinidad and Tobago is poised for a modest recovery in 2013, after disappointing growth in 2012 that was owing to largely supply constraints, including maintenance operations in the energy sector and an industrial dispute in the nonenergy sector. The IMF staff projects real GDP growth of some 1.5 percent in 2013, with risks slightly to the downside, should development spending be under-executed. Headline inflation rose to 9.3 percent in 2012. Executive Directors welcomed the signs of economic recovery, fueled by growth of the nonenergy sector.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
KEY ISSUES The economy is embarking on sustainable growth, but the main challenge will be to boost long-run growth by structural reforms and reorienting fiscal policy. Supply-side slowdowns in the energy sector are ending, while available evidence suggests non-energy growth is robust and economic slack is being used up. Non-energy growth should settle around a long-term 2–2½ percent per annum rate, while new energy sector investment may begin to bear significant fruit over the medium term. Headline inflation is trending down (in part for statistical reasons), while core inflation remains moderate. Domestic risks are to the upside. The main medium-term external risk would be a sustained decline in energy prices. With excess capacity in the labor market significantly diminished, the time is drawing near for policy tightening. Although ad hoc measures will reduce the budget deficit this fiscal year, the underlying baseline suggests a growing overall imbalance and unsustainable debt accumulation on unchanged policies, although the authorities have announced their intention to pursue fiscal consolidation. The CBTT will have to carefully consider how to tighten the monetary stance given high excess bank liquidity. Sustainable growth requires re-configuring fiscal policy, although achieving this will be challenging for the time being in view of national elections due in 2015. Ad hoc measures should be replaced with policies that durably improve non energy-based revenues and spending. The proceeds from extracting non-renewable resources should be saved and invested as a stepping stone to lasting prosperity. Fuel subsidies need to be curtailed and social programs rationalized. Non-energy sector tax bases should be broadened and tax expenditures limited. Greater flexibility is needed in the foreign exchange market. Despite sizable reserves, foreign exchange shortages, which impose unnecessary economic costs, have recurred. There is no concrete evidence of either a parallel market or arrears on foreign exchange, and the CBTT has recently sold foreign exchange with the objective to clear the market, but a recurrence of the situation could indicate the existence of an exchange restriction. The CBTT can address the problem through increased flexibility in the foreign exchange system. Structural reforms are underway, but more are needed to foster a diversified economic base. Financial sector reform is advancing, including expanding the CBTT’s regulatory perimeter to systemically important non-bank financial institutions. Recent streamlining of regulations that have hampered business activity is welcomed, but needs to be further advanced. Government operations are increasingly hamstrung by a poorly functioning civil service. Perceptions of corruption can be reduced by adopting a transparent procurement process. Programs that mask underemployment should be replaced with more effective training. Growing statistical shortcomings have rendered the conduct of surveillance ever harder, and must be addressed.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa’s remarks on the inauguration of East AFRITAC could not have been clearer or more emphatic. If Africa is to define its own economic destiny, it must strengthen its ability to design and implement sound economic policies. And policy ownership and capacity building are what the new regional technical assistance center, which opened October 24 in Dar es Salaam, is all about.