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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Growth has been strong in recent years and some moderation is expected, with risks skewed to the downside. High fishing revenues improved the fiscal position, but generated pressure to increase spending. There has been progress on fiscal and structural reforms. Yet, public spending needs are large, driven by an infrastructure gap and climate adaptation costs, and the country remains at high risk of debt distress.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Solomon Islands has made substantial progress since the Tensions in the early 2000s but faces considerable economic and governance challenges and is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. The logging industry confronts depletion and new sources of growth are needed. Governance challenges are significant, stemming from weak oversight of the resource sectors, a lack of transparency and a need to strengthen public financial management.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Tuvalu is a fragile micro state. The country’s remoteness, narrow production base, and weak banking sector constrain private sector activity, leaving public expenditure as the main source of growth. The DSA finds that Tuvalu remains at high risk of debt distress.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Context. Donor-financed large infrastructure projects, increased public spending, and a pick-up in credit to households have boosted real GDP growth to close to 4 percent in 2014 and to about 3 percent in 2015. Inflation remains low, underpinned by lower food and commodity prices. Steps are being taken to reduce the many hurdles to private growth that Kiribati faces, among which are high transportation and communication costs and an increasing impact of climate change. Fiscal policy. The fiscal outlook has improved, but further efforts are needed to ensure sustainability. The recurrent balance was in large surplus in 2014 and is expected to remain positive in 2015, reflecting high revenue from license fees, and notwithstanding a large increase in expenditures. But under the historic pace of spending the sovereign wealth fund (Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund—RERF) would be depleted in about 20 years. Ensuring sustainability requires containing nominal expenditure growth to around 1½ per annum over the next five years (after accommodating climate-change-related costs), with transparent and symmetric transfers and withdrawals from the RERF around this path. Structural reforms. There is a consensus among donors that significant progress has been achieved. The State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) Reform Act is being implemented in a satisfactory way, as illustrated by the recent successful privatization of the telecommunication company. Key outstanding issues include further reforming the energy and copra sectors and improving the investment climate.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Micronesia’s economy is stagnating, as externally funded infrastructure projects are moving slowly. Difficulties in the business climate, in particular those related to land tenure issues, continue to hold back private sector development. Real GDP growth of about 0.1 percent is estimated for the fiscal year 2014. The Micronesian economy is projected to grow at 0.6 percent in the medium term, while risks on the outlook are tilted to the downside. Growth in 2015 is projected to remain subdued at 0.3 percent, while consumer prices are projected to further decline to negative 1.0 percent thanks to the continued pass through of low oil prices.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Kiribati’s key economic challenges are to reduce large structural fiscal imbalances and increase growth and employment opportunities, while facing obstacles posed by remoteness, lack of scale, vulnerabilities to external shocks and climate change. The significant fiscal consolidation envisaged by the authorities will help stabilize Kiribati’s sovereign wealth fund (the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund, or RERF) in real per capita terms. This stabilization effort would also require that fishing license fees remain close to recent exceptionally high levels, with windfall incomes relative to the conservative budgeted baseline saved. In the event of weaker fishing license fee revenues, a more ambitious adjustment in the non-fishing budget would be needed. The small private sector share in the economy due to remoteness and weaknesses in business climate constrains growth and puts strain on public finances. Continuing the fiscal and structural reform program is essential. Climate change brings additional risks and fiscal costs. Main Recommendations: • Continue fiscal reforms designed to deliver fiscal consolidation and improved public financial management. Seek to maintain fishing license fees above the current conservative budget baseline, with windfalls saved to strengthen RERF balances. If fishing license fee windfalls cannot be sustained, explore other options to further strengthen fiscal balances. • Continue reforms of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). • Facilitate growth through improving the business climate and infrastructure, including through streamlining government services.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Kiribati is one of the poorest and most remote microstates in the Pacific. It is highly dependent on volatile fishing license fees, remittances, and donor assistance. The challenge is to implement fiscal and structural reforms to help ensure fiscal sustainability, promote private sector development, and increase its resilience to external shocks. Fully using its marine potential beyond fishing license fees will help to improve fiscal revenues and growth opportunities. More generally, private sector development is critical for both increasing growth and reducing fiscal pressures.
International Monetary Fund
This 2007 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth of Solomon Islands rose to an estimated 6 percent in 2006, driven by fish, palm oil production, and services. However, it is expected to ease to 5½ percent in 2007, as a further escalation in logging will be likely offset by lower growth of fish and traditional crops. With the natural forest expected to be depleted within the next few years, structural reforms are necessary to generate higher sustainable growth, raise living standards, and reduce the economy’s vulnerability to shocks.