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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a deep recession and worsened fiscal and external positions from already weak levels. The opposition People’s United Party won the November 2020 elections by a wide margin, which gives the new government a unique opportunity to jump start much needed reforms to reduce large imbalances and anchor strong and inclusive growth.
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Mr. Jun I Kim, and Miss Mahvash S Qureshi
In this note, the authors reexamine the issue of debt sustainability in a large group of advanced economies. Their hypothesis is that, when debt is in a moderate range, its dynamics are sustainable in the sense that increases in debt elicit sufficient increases in primary fiscal balances to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio. At high debt levels, however, the dynamics may turn unstable, and the debt ratio may not converge to a finite level. Such a framework allows the authors to define a “debt limit” that is consistent with a country’s historical track record of adjustment in the sense that, without an extraordinary fiscal effort, any debt increment beyond this limit would cause debt to increase without bound. This debt limit is not an absolute and immutable barrier, however, but rather defines a critical point above which a country’s normal fiscal response to rising debt becomes insufficient to maintain debt sustainability. Nor should this debt limit be interpreted as being in any sense the optimal level of public debt. Indeed, since this limit delineates the point at which fiscal solvency is called into question—and the analysis abstracts entirely from liquidity/rollover risk—prudence dictates that countries will typically want to be well below their debt limit. Given a country’s normal pattern of adjustment, “fiscal space” is then simply the difference between its debt limit and its current level of debt.
Luc Eyraud
Studies suggest that fiscal multipliers are currently high in many advanced economies. One important implication is that fiscal tightening could raise the debt ratio in the short term, as fiscal gains are partly wiped out by the decline in output. Although this effect is not long-lasting and debt eventually declines, it could be an issue if financial markets focus on the short-term behavior of the debt ratio, or if country authorities engage in repeated rounds of tightening in an effort to get the debt ratio to converge to the official target. We discuss whether these problems could be addressed by setting and monitoring debt targets in cyclically-adjusted terms.
International Monetary Fund
This 2001 Article IV Consultation highlights that strong economic growth continued in Greece in 2001, but the economy was not immune from the global slowdown. GDP increased by about 4 percent, led by robust domestic demand. Investment growth accelerated, following interest rate convergence with euro area rates, and further easing by the European Central Bank, although private consumption was buoyed by rapid credit growth. Core inflation has remained well above the euro area average. Falling energy prices have lowered headline inflation, as in the rest of the euro area.