Business and Economics > Exports and Imports

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International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department, and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This paper undertakes a comprehensive review of the Fund’s sovereign arrears policies. Staff assesses that the Fund’s Lending into Arrears to Private Creditors (LIA) policy (established in 1989 and last reviewed in 2002) remains broadly appropriate, while recommending some improvements given the experience gained over the last 20 years. Staff also sees merit in codifying the existing practice guiding the Fund in preemptive debt restructurings into a Fund policy, together with an amendment focusing on debt transparency. Given limited experience with the application of the LIOA policy (established in 2015), staff does not propose any amendments but only one restatement confirming current practice. Given recent developments in the international creditor community, staff proposes refining the Fund’s arrears policies with respect to multilateral creditors. Finally, recent developments raise questions about the perimeter between official bilateral and private claims, with significant implications for the Fund’s arrears policies.
International Monetary Fund
This paper proposes that the Executive Board approve the disbursement of a second 6-month tranche of CCRT debt service relief to 28 of the 29 members, covering the period October 14, 2020 through April 13, 2021, given staff’s assessment that sufficient financial resources are available.2 In this context, the paper also provides brief updates for each beneficiary country on its policy responses to the pandemic and staff’s assessment of these policies and the use of resources freed up by debt service relief. It also provides an update on the finances of the CCRT and the fundraising efforts to secure adequate resources for grant assistance in the future. Based on grant pledges to date, resources are not sufficient to extend CCRT relief beyond the proposed second sixth-month period.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
It has been two years since the trade tensions erupted and not only captured policymakers’ but also the research community’s attention. Research has quickly zoomed in on understanding trade war rhetoric, tariff implementation, and economic impacts. The first article in the December 2019 issue sheds light on the consequences of the recent trade barriers.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Marco Marini, and Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello
Vessel traffic data based on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a big data source for nowcasting trade activity in real time. Using Malta as a benchmark, we develop indicators of trade and maritime activity based on AIS-based port calls. We test the quality of these indicators by comparing them with official statistics on trade and maritime statistics. If the challenges associated with port call data are overcome through appropriate filtering techniques, we show that these emerging “big data” on vessel traffic could allow statistical agencies to complement existing data sources on trade and introduce new statistics that are more timely (real time), offering an innovative way to measure trade activity. That, in turn, could facilitate faster detection of turning points in economic activity. The approach could be extended to create a real-time worldwide indicator of global trade activity.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for the Malta summarizes the findings of a targeted review of several aspects of Malta’s progress in addressing AML/CFT vulnerabilities in the financial sector, specifically the banking sector. The report recommends that while Malta has strengthened AML/CFT requirements for banks in recent years, the implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures should be improved further. Although important milestones have been implemented by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and Malta Financial Services Authority to enhance AML/CFT supervision since mid-2017, recent AML/CFT violations raise doubts as to their capacity to effectively identify and address AML/CFT compliance breaches. A multiprong strategy is needed to address these deficiencies. The focus needs to be on developing more effective AML/CFT enforcement and ensuring that banks apply appropriate preventive measures in relation to their high-risk activities and clients. AML/CFT supervision needs to more stringently evaluate banks’ risk mitigation models, ensure that customer due diligence requirements are properly followed, and apply corrective actions and sanctions when deficiencies are identified.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Malta’s economic growth remains one of the strongest in Europe, owing to favorable economic conditions and sound policies, which advanced structural reforms and supported the strengthening of private and public balance sheets. Output is estimated to have expanded by 6.8 percent in 2017, accompanied by dynamic job creation, which brought unemployment to a record low. Strong inflows of foreign workers and rising labor force participation kept wage pressures contained in most sectors, thus contributing to low inflation despite a positive output gap. The outlook is favorable, with growth decelerating gradually and converging to about 3 percent over the medium term.
Mr. Dmitry Gershenson, Mr. Albert Jaeger, and Mr. Subir Lall
In 2011, following years of large-scale external imbalances financed by debt, Portugal’s economy reached a crisis point. To restore economic growth and credibility with international lenders, the country embarked on a difficult path of fiscal adjustment and structural reforms. By many metrics, Portugal’s 2011–14 macroeconomic stabilization program has been a success, but going forward Portugal would benefit from policies to reduce vulnerabilities, absorb labor slack, and generate sustainable growth.