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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Jordan’s Second Review Under the Stand-by Arrangement, Request for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria (PCs), and Modification of PCs. Program performance is broadly on track. The central bank rebuilt reserves, which are now at a comfortable level and well above what was programmed. The national electricity company’s losses were in line with the program through June, but the end-September PC is estimated to have been missed because a temporary interruption in gas flows required more expensive fuel imports. The IMF staff strongly supports the authorities’ plans to seek higher grants.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context: The economy is being severely tested by the Syria crisis. The refugee influx has reached one quarter of the population, fueling already high unemployment and poverty. The political impasse from the presidential elections—following months of negotiations over a new government—adds to the uncertainty. The economy is meanwhile suffering from a broad-based deterioration, with subdued growth and widening fiscal imbalances. Public debt is on the rise. Progress on structural reforms has been limited. On the positive side, deposit inflows have held up and foreign exchange reserves are sizeable; and security conditions have significantly improved, lifting tourism prospects. Key challenges: There is an urgent need for fiscal adjustment to achieve a sustainable debt reduction, and structural reforms to boost growth and address social inequities. Key policy recommendations: • Fiscal policy. The immediate priority is to stop the fiscal deterioration and return to primary surpluses, to avoid a possible loss of market confidence and put debt on a sustainable path. The consolidation strategy should minimize the impact of a planned salary increase for the public sector; include broad-based and non- distortionary revenue measures; and rebalance expenditure away from electricity transfers toward capital and social spending, to promote inclusive growth. Passing a budget for 2014 would help anchor confidence. Fiscal management should be strengthened and anchored in a medium-term perspective. • Monetary policy. The Banque du Liban (BdL) should continue to maintain high foreign exchange reserves as a buffer and signal of commitment to macro-financial stability. It should gradually withdraw from T-bill auctions, and adopt a strategy to improve its balance sheet over time. • Financial sector. Capital buffers should be strengthened, and the loan classification and restructuring rules and the AML/CFT regime further enhanced. • Structural reforms. Reforms in the electricity sector and the labor market are imperative to address current competitiveness pressures, lay the foundations for higher-productivity growth, and improve social conditions. • Refugee crisis. Lebanon cannot shoulder the costs of the massive inflow of Syrian refugees alone, and international budget support is needed. Strong government commitment to adjustment and reforms—along with a concerted policy framework to deal with the refugee crisis—would bolster credibility and help mobilize support.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses the Syrian Refugee Crisis (SRC) and conflicts in Syria and Iraq have weighed on investor sentiment, tourism, and exports but the influx of Syrians is likely to have increased aggregate demand. Labor market conditions deteriorated after the massive influx of refugees and nontradable prices accelerated. The balance of payment suffered pressures on the non-oil current account, owing to lower exports of goods and services and higher imports. The SRC has increased the direct fiscal costs persistently by above one percent of GDP, which could double after counting for quality and capital deterioration. The negative impact is decreasing as the influx of Syrian refugees slowed and the stock pushed up aggregate demand. The influx of more than 10 percent of Jordan’s original population may have certainly increased consumption, particularly, over time as the incomers settled and the likelihood of returning to their home country diminishes. Unemployment grew the most in governorates that host most of the refugees.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper presents a study to review fluctuations in Japan’s balance of payments and the role of short-term capital flows. Based on annual data, it appears that Japan has passed through two additional cycles after the 1952-55 and 1955-58 cycles covered by Narvekar's studies. In general, the annual data show clearly that the flows of short-term capital have tended to fluctuate in a direction opposite to that of the fluctuations in the basic balance of payments. Thus, the short-term capital inflow increased substantially as the basic surplus fell sharply from 1959 to 1960 and increased further still as the basic balance went into heavy deficit in 1961. Short-term capital flows helped to moderate the fluctuations in Japan's over-all balance of payments, compared with the fluctuations in its basic balance, and thus played an anticyclical role in Japan's balance of payments during 1959–1966. During 1965, the basic balance showed a small deficit in the first quarter, a small surplus in the second quarter, and large surpluses in the third and fourth quarters. This review of monetary policy changes indicates an intimate relationship between changes in Japanese monetary policy and fluctuations in Japan's basic balance of payments during 1959–1966.
Mr. Karim A. Nashashibi
This paper reviews the fiscal revenue performance of Southern Mediterranean Arab countries (SMCs) over the last decade and compares this performance with selected middle income and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. These revenues have been declining over the past few years, and this trend is expected to continue because of a fall in mineral receipts and trade liberalization. Individual income tax yields are substantially lower than in other regions but the introduction of the value-added tax has proven to be highly successful. Higher trade protection than in other regions must be reduced, if SMCs are to be integrated into the global economy. Loss of nontax and customs revenues can be offset by reforms in income tax systems, petroleum product pricing, and by ensuring, through flexible exchange rate policies, that competitiveness is maintained
Jørgen R. Lotz

THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM of the United Arab Republic has been changed in the past 12 years from a predominantly free enterprise system to a largely publicly owned and regulated economy. An impressive rate of growth has been attained; since 1956/57, the gross national product (GNP) is estimated to have grown at an average annual rate of more than 5 per cent and per capita income by more than 2.5 per cent a year.

U Tun Wai

IN UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES the government sector is usually more important than other sectors, not only in those countries where governments have taken upon themselves the task of increasing productive capacity, but also in those where the private sector is relied upon to ensure economic growth.1 In practically all underdeveloped countries it is now customary to have a development program, and fiscal policy is the kingpin in determining the total level of investment. Within fiscal policy, expenditure policies are important; but if tax receipts are not sufficient, governments cannot invest directly or lend to the private sector without resort to deficit financing.