International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department, and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This paper undertakes a comprehensive review of the Fund’s sovereign arrears policies. Staff assesses that the Fund’s Lending into Arrears to Private Creditors (LIA) policy (established in 1989 and last reviewed in 2002) remains broadly appropriate, while recommending some improvements given the experience gained over the last 20 years. Staff also sees merit in codifying the existing practice guiding the Fund in preemptive debt restructurings into a Fund policy, together with an amendment focusing on debt transparency. Given limited experience with the application of the LIOA policy (established in 2015), staff does not propose any amendments but only one restatement confirming current practice. Given recent developments in the international creditor community, staff proposes refining the Fund’s arrears policies with respect to multilateral creditors. Finally, recent developments raise questions about the perimeter between official bilateral and private claims, with significant implications for the Fund’s arrears policies.
Executive Directors welcomed the report of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) on IMF Engagement with Small Developing States (SDS) and appreciated its insights and recommendations. They welcomed the report’s finding that the Fund has substantially stepped up its engagement with its SDS members over the past decade, and that SDS country officials generally considered Fund surveillance and capacity development (CD) activities of high quality and well-tailored to their needs.
The report and its recommendations should also be careful to not impinge upon areas that are still unfolding, such as the RST, crisis response, and CD provision, to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and ensure that a coherent and evenhanded framework is in place. I offer qualified and/or partial support to the recommendations, as discussed below, to serve better our SDS members.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This paper provides the basis for the quinquennial review by the Executive Board of the method of valuation of the Special Drawing Right (SDR). The review covers the composition and weighting of the SDR currency basket, and the financial instruments used to determine the SDR interest rate. In the five-year period for this review (2017‒21), developments in key variables relevant for the SDR valuation suggest that there have been no major changes in the roles of currencies in the world economy. The countries and the currency union (euro area) whose currencies are currently included in the SDR basket remain the five largest exporters and their currencies continue to account for the majority of international financial transactions. Moreover, staff analysis finds that the COVID-19 pandemic and recent fintech developments have no systematic or material impact on the SDR valuation. The paper proposes to maintain the current composition of the SDR currency and interest rate baskets, as well as the method for determining the currency weights and currency amounts in the basket. In line with the Board-approved methodology, the paper proposes updated weights for the currencies in the SDR basket. These maintain the same ranking of the initial weights set in the 2015 review, with slightly higher weights for the U.S. dollar and the Chinese renminbi and, accordingly, somewhat lower weights for the British pound, the euro, and the Japanese yen. The paper also proposes to make explicit the treatment of data gaps in the SDR valuation framework. Findings from a survey of SDR department participants and prescribed holders are used to follow up on operational issues raised in earlier valuation reviews. The new SDR valuation and interest rate baskets are proposed to come into effect on August 1, 2022 for a period of five years.
The coronavirus crisis has stiffened debt and development-related headwinds that had become strong even before 2020. Sustaining development while maintaining debt sustainability has been made harder by the protracted effects of the pandemic on public finances, earnings and employment, and human capital accumulation of vulnerable populations. The fiscal support programs financed by public debt provided relief and saved lives and livelihoods. But debt-induced uncertainty can now dampen investment and growth, especially given rising global interest rates. Bigger debt servicing burdens will reduce available fiscal space for development and stabilization and growing sovereign debt financing needs can crowd out domestic investment. Over-indebtedness can adversely affect economic development through many channels—"debt overhang,” “fiscal space,” “crowding out” and increased crisis risk —making countries vulnerable to abrupt changes in market sentiment, jeopardizing both stability and growth.