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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Selected Issues
IMF Research Perspective (formerly published as IMF Research Bulletin) is a new, redesigned online newsletter covering updates on IMF research. In the inaugural issue of the newsletter, Hites Ahir interviews Valeria Cerra; and they discuss the economic environment 10 years after the global financial crisis. Research Summaries cover the rise of populism; economic reform; labor and technology; big data; and the relationship between happiness and productivity. Sweta C. Saxena was the guest editor for this inaugural issue.
Mr. Sergi Lanau, Adrian Robles, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
We study inflation dynamics in Colombia using a bottom-up Phillips curve approach. This allows us to capture the different drivers of individual inflation components. We find that the Phillips curve is relatively flat in Colombia but steeper than recent estimates for the U.S. Supply side shocks play an important role for tradable and food prices, while indexation dynamics are important for non-tradable goods. We show that besides allowing for a more detailed understanding of inflation drivers, the bottom-up approach also improves on an aggregate Phillips curve in terms of forecasting ability. In the baseline forecast scenario, both headline and core inflation converge towards the Central Bank’s inflation target of 3 percent by end-2018 but these favorable inflation dynamics are vulnerable to large supply shocks.
Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Alexander Herman, Mr. Andrew J Swiston, and Gabriel Di Bella
Output gap estimates are subject to a wide range of uncertainty owing to data revisions and the difficulty in distinguishing between cycle and trend in real time. This is important given the central role in monetary policy of assessments of economic activity relative to capacity. We show that country desks tend to overestimate economic slack, especially during recessions, and that uncertainty in initial output gap estimates persists several years. Only a small share of output gap revisions is predictable ex ante based on characteristics like output dynamics, data quality, and policy frameworks. We also show that for a group of Latin American inflation targeters the prescriptions from typical monetary policy rules are subject to large changes due to output gap revisions. These revisions explain a sizable proportion of the deviation of inflation from target, suggesting this information is not accounted for in real-time policy decisions.
International Monetary Fund
This 2011 Article IV Consultation—Selected Issues paper focuses on estimating potential output and the output gap and spillovers from agriculture in the case of Uruguay. It introduces additional economic information and theory to estimate potential output, shedding some light on the discussion of current monetary and fiscal policies. The objective is to take advantage of economic data to disentangle the most recent economic performance by introducing multivariate techniques. The paper also presents an overview of the labor market and pension system of Uruguay.
Leandro Medina, Carlos Caceres, and Ms. Ana Corbacho
In recent years, many countries have adopted Fiscal Responsibility Laws to strengthen fiscal institutions and promote fiscal discipline in a credible, predictable and transparent manner. Still, results on the effectiveness of these laws remain tentative. In this paper, we test empirically whether fiscal performance, measured as the level of primary fiscal balances and their volatility, indeed improved after the implementation of Fiscal Responsibility Laws in a sample of Latin American and advanced economies. We show that traditional econometric approaches, which rely on the use of dummies in time series or panel regressions, yield biased estimates. In contrast, our empirical strategy recognizes that, a priori, the timing of the effect of these laws on fiscal performance is unknown, while controlling for the impact of the business and commodity cycles on fiscal outcomes. Overall, we find limited empirical evidence in support of the view that Fiscal Responsibility Laws have had a distinguishable effect on fiscal performance. However, Fiscal Responsibility Laws could still have other positive effects on the conduct of fiscal policy not analyzed here, for instance, through enhanced transparency and guidance in the budget process and lower risk premia.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

El informe sobre las Perspectivas Económicas para las Américas abarca Estados Unidos, Canadá, América Latina y el Caribe. El informe examina la evolución reciente de la economía, analiza las perspectivas económicas y describe los riesgos y desafíos por delante.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

This Western Hemisphere Regional Economic Outlook covers the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The report reviews recent economic developments, discusses the economic outlook, and outlines risks and challenges ahead.

International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses South Africa’s recent growth performance and its new growth targets. It analyzes the history of exchange rate volatility, compares it with other countries, and examines the relationship between volatility and trade flows in South Africa. It highlights facts on reserves holding and presents an empirical analysis of a model in assessing the adequacy of South Africa’s reserves. It also analyzes the cyclical balances to determine revenue performance and discusses the penetration of the South African financial conglomerates into State Security Agency and assesses potential vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes economic developments in Colombia during 1996–99. Output growth slowed sharply in 1996 and early 1997, but subsequently rebounded owing to stronger exports, a temporary boom in world coffee prices, and an easing of credit policy. Despite efforts at addressing the fiscal imbalances, the nonfinancial public sector deficit widened further to more than 4 percent of GDP in 1997. Monetary policy during 1996 and most of 1997 was geared toward stimulating domestic demand.