Asia and Pacific > Bhutan

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Weicheng Lian, Fei Liu, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, and Biying Zhu
While South Asia has gone a long way in diversifying their economies, there is substantial scope to do more. Some countries – India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – can build on their existing production capabilities; others – Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives – would need to undertake a more concerted push. We identify key policies from a large set of potential determinants that explain the variation in export diversification and complexity across 189 countries from 1962 to 2018. Our analysis suggests that South Asia needs to invest in infrastructure, education, and R&D, facilitate bank credit to productive companies, and open to trade in order to diversify and move up the value chains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in digital technologies as part of the infrastructure push and improving education are of even greater importance to facilitate the ability to work remotely and assist resource reallocation away from the less viable sectors.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Bhutan continued to make strides in raising per capita incomes and reducing poverty as it concluded the 11th Five Year Plan in 2018. Notably, poverty declined from 12 percent in 2012 to 8.2 percent, and extreme poverty fell to just 1.5 percent. The country is poised to transition to middle-income status, with per capita incomes at nearly US$3,600 in 2018, up from US$1,100 in 2004. Growth has remained robust, averaging 6 percent over the 11th Plan. In FY2018, growth is expected to slow to 5.8 percent from 7.4 percent in FY2017, reflecting slowing construction activity of hydropower projects set to come on stream in 2018 and beyond.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses the recent economic developments, outlook, and risks for Bhutan. Following a slowdown in activity in the wake of the rupee shortage, economic growth has picked up more recently. From an average of about 8 percent during the Ninth and Tenth Five-Year Plans spanning fiscal years (FYs) 2003/04–2012/13, real GDP growth fell below 4 percent in FY2012/13 and FY2013/14. Bhutan’s medium-term outlook remains favorable. Commissioning of new hydropower generation projects will boost output, exports, and fiscal revenues. However, domestic risks stem from the need to manage high debt and potentially volatile hydropower-related inflows, which may fuel rapid credit growth and lead to renewed external pressure.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper describes the current tax system in Bhutan and suggests options for tax policy reform. Though significant hydropower revenues are expected in the medium term as major projects come on-stream, reforms to the existing tax system in the interim will generate fiscal room and prevent recourse to domestic debt to finance development needs. Key reforms include reducing tax exemptions in the near term and introduction of value-added tax in the medium term. The paper also analyzes the adequacy of international reserves in Bhutan using a customized risk-weighted metric. The results indicate that Bhutan’s reserve levels are ample.
International Monetary Fund
Bhutan's growth has remained robust, but the current account deficit has widened. • Bhutan's economy has expanded at a robust pace driven by the hydropower sector developments. GDP growth is estimated at nearly 8 percent in 2011/12 (from 8.5 percent in 2010/11), and is projected to reach 12.5 percent in 2012/13 due to the acceleration in hydropower-related construction. Inflation has risen, reaching 13.5 percent in 2012Q2, with both food and nonfood components accelerating. Bhutan’s medium-term outlook is favorable, as growth should remain strong at around 8-9 percent over the medium term, driven by developments in the hydropower sector, manufacturing, and domestic services.
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the 2007 Article IV Consultation on Bhutan explains the macroeconomic setting, economic developments, outlooks, risks, and challenges. Bhutan’s economic prospects are bright. Construction of two hydropower projects will help sustain real GDP growth over the medium term. With the exchange rate peg to the Indian rupee, inflation is expected to be in line with price developments in India. Executive Directors commended Bhutan’s prudent macroeconomic policies and political stability, which have yielded robust growth, an appreciable improvement in social indicators, and progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Jose Daniel Rodríguez-Delgado
The paper evaluates the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) within the global structure of overlapping regional trade agreements (RTAs) using a modified gravity equation. First, it examines the effects of the Trade Liberalization Program which started in 2006. SAFTA would have a minor effect on regional trade flows and the impact on custom duties would be a manageable fiscal shock for most members. Second, the paper ranks the trade effects of other potential RTAs for individual South Asian countries and SAFTA: RTAs with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU) dominate one with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.