Asia and Pacific

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Cian Ruane
After impressive growth in the 2000s, China's productivity has more recently stagnated. We use firm-level data to analyze productivity and firm dynamism trends from 2003 to 2018. We document six facts that together show a decline in China’s business dynamism. We show that (i) the revenue share of young firms has declined, (ii) the life-cycle growth of young firms relative to older incumbents has slowed, (iii) weaker life-cycle growth can be explained by slower productivity growth and weaker investment in intangibles, (iv) younger and smaller firms are more capital constrained than their older and larger counterparts, (v) the responsiveness of capital growth to the marginal product of capital has declined, and (vi) large productivity gaps between SOEs and private firms persist. We find that business dynamism is weaker in provinces where SOEs account for a larger share of the capital stock. Our results suggest that declining private business dynamism is an important factor in explaining China's sluggish TFP growth and that SOE reform could boost productivity growth indirectly by stimulating business dynamism.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Economic activity has rebounded strongly on the back of waning COVID-19 infections and expansionary fiscal and monetary policies. However, strong import growth—fueled by the macroeconomic policy mix, higher international commodity prices, and credit growth—have led to a marked deterioration of the external position. The current account deficit has widened, the rupee depreciated markedly, and inflation remains persistently high.
Vybhavi Balasundharam, Ms. Leni Hunter, Iulai Lavea, and Mr. Paul G Seeds
Pacific island countries (PICs) rely on national airlines for connectivity, trade, and tourism. These airlines are being struck hard by COVID-19. Losses will weigh on public sector balance sheets and pose risks to economic recovery. With a backdrop of tight fiscal space and increasing government debt, losses in airlines are adding to fiscal risks in some PICs. This paper discusses tools to evaluate and manage the fiscal risks from national airlines in the Pacific. We present a snapshot of the current state of Public Financial Management (PFM) practices in PICs and detail the best practices. This exercise would illustrate the areas in which PICs have scope to improve their risk management with regard to national airlines. We then discuss the use of diagnostic tools and capacity development to enhance monitoring and risk management. Greater transparency and accountability in the airlines, combined with rigorous oversight, would be the first step towards improved financial management of national airlines.
Ms. Emilia M Jurzyk
We document that publicly listed Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are less productive and profitable than publicly listed firms in which the state has no ownership stake. In particular, Chinese listed SOEs are more capital intensive and have a lower average product of capital than non-SOEs. These productivity differences increased between 2002 and 2009, and remain sizeable in 2019. Using a heterogeneous firm model of resource misallocation, we find that there are large potential productivity gains from reforms which could equalize the marginal products of listed SOEs and listed non-SOEs.
Ms. Anja Baum, Mr. Paulo A Medas, Alberto Soler, and Mouhamadou Sy
Ensuring that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are efficient and managed prudently is important for economic and social reasons. It is also crucial to contain fiscal risks and reduce the burden on taxpayers from recurrent and large bailouts. Governments need to develop stronger capacity to monitor and mitigate the risks from SOEs. We present a risk tool to benchmark the performance of SOEs relative to their peers and assess their vulnerabilities, including through stress tests. A strategy to mitigate risks requires the right incentives for managers to perform and for government agencies to conduct effective oversight. Incorporating SOEs in overall fiscal targets would promote greater fiscal discipline and transparency.