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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Despite significant economic shocks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, twin natural disasters, and the war in Ukraine, Barbados has made good progress in implementing its Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan to restore fiscal and debt sustainability, rebuild reserves, and increase growth. International reserves increased to US$1.5 billion at end-2021 supported by IFI loans. This, and a successful 2018-19 public debt restructuring, helped rebuild confidence in the country’s macroeconomic framework. Economic growth is projected at 11 percent for 2022 premised on a robust recovery of tourism, which is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024. The outlook nonetheless remains highly uncertain, and risks are elevated, including from higher global commodity prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine that are feeding into inflation. Since Barbados imports the bulk of its food and energy needs, the government has adopted temporary VAT caps on oil products to contain retail price increases (fiscal cost of 0.3 percent of GDP). While fiscal accommodation was needed to respond to the pandemic and natural disasters over the past two years, the authorities are committed to running primary surpluses from FY2022/23 onwards which need to reach 5-6 percent of GDP in three years, consistent with meeting the 60 percent of GDP debt target by FY2035/36.
Mr. Daniel C Hardy
Market liquidity is of value to both investors and issuers of securities, and is therefore a crucial factor in asset pricing. For the important asset class of Eurobonds, significant feedback from liquidity to pricing is established, and it is shown that bid-ask spreads (a proxy for market liquidity) and yields are closely related to bond characteristics such as issue volume, time to maturity, the inclusion of collective action clauses, and the jurisdiction of issuance. Debt management offices can choose these characteristics in a way that has economically significant and persistent effects on both liquidity and pricing.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
While Barbados has been making good progress in implementing its Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan to restore fiscal and debt sustainability, rebuild reserves, and increase growth, it continues to face major challenges owing to the global pandemic. International reserves have increased to US$1.4 billion by October 2021 supported by IFI loans. This, and a successful 2018-19 public debt restructuring, have helped rebuild confidence in the country’s macroeconomic framework. However, a virtual standstill in the tourism sector during the pandemic took a significant toll in 2020, with the economy contracting by 18 percent. While Barbados was successful in containing the outbreak during 2020, renewed COVID-19 waves weighed on the economic recovery in 2021. In addition, Barbados was hit by the twin natural disaster shocks of volcanic ashfalls from neighboring St. Vincent in April and category 1 hurricane Elsa in July. Economic growth is projected at 1.6 percent for 2021 premised on a modest recovery of tourism towards the end of 2021—down from 3 percent projected at the time of the fifth EFF review. The outlook remains highly uncertain, and risks are elevated.
International Monetary Fund
As emerging and developing economies accumulate more domestic sovereign debt, it is likely to play a larger role in the resolution of future sovereign debt crises. This paper analyzes when and how to restructure sovereign domestic debt in unsustainable debt cases while minimizing economic and financial disruptions. Key to determining whether or not domestic debt should be part of a sovereign restructuring is weighing the benefits of the lower debt burden against the fiscal and broader economic costs of achieving that debt relief. The fiscal costs may have to be incurred in the context of restructuring because of the need to maintain financial stability, to ensure the functioning of the central bank, or to replenish pension savings. A sovereign domestic debt restructuring should be designed to anticipate, minimize, and manage its impact on the domestic economy and financial system. Casting the net wide across claims can help boost participation in the restructuring by lowering the relief sought from each creditor group. A strategy that engages creditors constructively, and as transparently as possible, that relies on market-based incentives, and that presents the exchange as part of a consistent macroeconomic plan typically works best.