Hee Soo Kim, Carlos Chaverri, Emilio William Fernandez Corugedo, and Pedro Juarros
Central America is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to extreme climate events. The literature estimates the macroeconomic effects of climate events mainly using annual data, which might underestimate the true effects as these extreme events tend to be short-lived and generate government and family support in response. To overcome this limitation, this paper studies Central American countries’ macroeconomic impact of climatic disasters using high-frequency (monthly) data over the period 2000-2019. We identify extreme climate events by defining dummy variables related to storm and flood events reported in the EM-DAT (Emergency Events Database) and estimate country-specific VAR and panel VAR. The results suggest that a climatic disaster drops monthly economic activity in most countries in the region of around 0.5 to 1 percentage points on impact, with persistent effects on the level of GDP. We show that even as extreme climate events were relatively less severe under our sample period, quantitative effects are similar or larger than previously estimated for the region. In addition, remittances (transfers from family living abroad) increase for most countries in response to a extreme climate event, acting as a shock absorber. The results are robust to controlling for the severity of the climate events, for which we construct a monthly climate index measuring severity of weather indicators by following the spirit of the Actuaries Climate Index (ACI).
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The St. Lucian economy is confronted with significant challenges from consecutive external shocks. While still recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to an output collapse in 2020 and 2021 mainly due to a halt in tourism, the war in Ukraine is adding inflation and balance of payments pressures given the dependence on fuel and food imports.
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.
Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Mr. Yasser Abdih, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Vahram Stepanyan, Abdullah Al-Hassan, Gareth Anderson, Ms. Anja Baum, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, Lamiae Agoumi, Chen Chen, Mehdi Benatiya Andaloussi, Sahra Sakha, Faten Saliba, and Jesus Sanchez
Climate change is among humanity’s greatest challenges, and the Middle East and Central Asia region is on the frontlines of its human, economic, and physical ramifications. Much of the region is located in already difficult climate zones, where global warming exacerbates desertification, water stress, and rising sea levels. This trend entails fundamental economic disruptions, endangers food security, and undermines public health, with ripple effects on poverty and inequality, displacement, and conflict. Considering the risks posed by climate change, the central message of this departmental paper is that adapting to climate change by boosting resilience to climate stresses and disasters is a critical priority for the region’s economies.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
Over the course of the pandemic, the Fund has made several modifications to the access limits on the use of Fund’s resources to increase the borrowing space under the hard caps on emergency financing and under the annual limits that trigger exceptional access (EA) safeguards under GRA and PRGT. The current temporarily-increased access limits expire at end-December 2021, and absent policy changes, the limits would return to the lower pre-pandemic levels or to the new PRGT annual access limit. Staff proposes to let all access limits return to pre-pandemic levels (or the new PRGT annual access limit), with the exception of the cumulative access limits for emergency financing instruments, which would be extended at the current level for another 18 months.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Border closures and other pandemic containment measures have kept Vanuatu free from COVID-19. However, they have dealt a heavy blow to economic activity as tourism has come to a virtual halt. On top of the pandemic, Tropical Cyclone Harold and a volcanic eruption in Tanna Island caused extensive economic damage in 2020. In the context of a continued loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) in the Pacific, Vanuatu also lost a key CBR at end-June 2021. Air Vanuatu, one of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs), is in the process of being restructured.