Declining commodity prices during mid-2014-2016 posed significant challenges to commodity-exporting economies. The severe terms of trade shock associated with a sharp fall in world commodity prices have raised anew questions about the viability of pegged exchange rate regimes. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain its spread have been associated with a significant disruption in several economic sectors, in particular, travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, adding to the downward pressure on commodity prices, a sharp fall in foreign exchange earnings, and depressed economic activity in most commodity exporters. This paper reviews country experiences with different exchange rate regimes in coping with commodity price shocks and explores the role of flexible exchange rates as a shock absorber, analyzing the macroeconomic impact of adverse term-of-trade shocks under different regimes using event study and panel vector autoregression techniques. It also analyzes, conceptually and empirically, policy and technical considerations in making exchange rate regime choices and discusses the supporting policies that should accompany a given regime choice to make that choice sustainable. It offers lessons that could be helpful to the Caribbean commodity-exporters.
Mr. Giovanni Melina, Ms. Susan S. Yang, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
This paper presents the DIGNAR (Debt, Investment, Growth, and Natural Resources) model, which can be used to analyze the debt sustainability and macroeconomic effects of public investment plans in resource-abundant developing countries. DIGNAR is a dynamic, stochastic model of a small open economy. It has two types of households, including poor households with no access to financial markets, and features traded and nontraded sectors as well as a natural resource sector. Public capital enters production technologies, while public investment is subject to inefficiencies and absorptive capacity constraints. The government has access to different types of debt (concessional, domestic and external commercial) and a resource fund, which can be used to finance public investment plans. The resource fund can also serve as a buffer to absorb fiscal balances for given projections of resource revenues and public investment plans. When the fund is drawn down to its minimal value, a combination of external and domestic borrowing can be used to cover the fiscal gap in the short to medium run. Fiscal adjustments through tax rates and government non-capital expenditures—which may be constrained by ceilings and floors, respectively—are then triggered to maintain debt sustainability. The paper illustrates how the model can be particularly useful to assess debt sustainability in countries that borrow against future resource revenues to scale up public investment.
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about policy options for emerging market countries (by Marcos Chamon, Chris Crowe, and Jun Il Kim); research summaries on “Does Trade and Financial Globalization Cause Income Inequality?” (by Chris Papageorgiou) and “The Current Account of Oil-Exporting Countries (by Irineu E. de Carvalho Filho); an article on the launch of the IMF’s new research journal, IMF Economic Review, and the contents of the upcoming IMF Staff Papers, which the new the new journal will succeed in 2010; an article on the upcoming Tenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference; a listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during July–September 2009; and listings of recent IMF Working Papers and Staff Position Notes.