We estimate a variety of exchange rate elasticities of international tourism. We show that, in addition to the bilateral exchange rate between the tourism origin and destination countries, the exchange rate vis-à-vis the US dollar is also an important driver of tourism flows and pricing. The effect of US dollar pricing is stronger for tourism destination countries with higher dollar borrowing, indicating a complementarity between dominant currency pricing and financing. Country-specific dominant currencies (CSDCs) play only a minor role for the average country, but are important for tourism-dependent countries and those with a high concentration of tourists. The importance of the dollar exchange rate represents a strong piece of evidence of dominant currency pricing (DCP) in the international trade of services and suggests that the benefits of exchange rate flexibility for tourism-dependent countries may be weaker than previously thought.
Hoe Ee Khor, Mr. Roger P. Kronenberg, and Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello
Pacific island countries face unique challenges to realizing their growth potential and raising living standards. This book discusses ongoing challenges facing Pacific island countries and policy options to address them. Regional cooperation and solutions tailored to their unique challenges, as well as further integration with the Asia and Pacific region will each play a role. With concerted efforts, Pacific island countries can boost potential growth, increase resilience, and improve the welfare of their citizens.
Jan Gottschalk, Carl Miller, Lanieta Rauqeuqe, Isoa Wainiqolo, and Yongzheng Yang
This paper provides an assessment of real exchange rate measures and their impact on trade performance with special reference to two Pacific island countries, Fiji and Samoa. The analysis shows that the commonly used CPI-based real effective exchange rate (REER) measure provides a useful starting point of assessment, but alternative measures based on other price and cost indices should be used to check the robustness of the results, particularly given the large impact of global commodity prices on small open economies. The paper also offers some illustrations of how to quantify the impact of exchange rate movements on trade, especially in the face of data constraints in small open economies.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Fiji is enjoying a strong growth momentum due to accommodative policies, robust tourism and strong remittances, and an improvement in the terms of trade. The smooth and peaceful elections in September 2014 marked the return to democracy—leading to a normalization in relations with development partners, further boosting investor and consumer confidence. While addressing infrastructure gaps and further improving the business climate will be critical to ensure strong, sustainable and more inclusive growth, this must be balanced against the need to consolidate fiscal policy. Risks are tilted to the downside, related to external developments and prolonged accommodative policy settings.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper provides an overview of financial access and inclusion indicators, related causal factors, and both current and possible reform priorities for on Papua New Guinea (PNG). The paper presents indicators of financial market depth, development, and access for PNG and compares PNG’s performance against that of other countries in the region, at similar levels of development, and beyond. It provides an overview of country-specific challenges facing PNG related to financial inclusion that helps to explain its performance, as well as possible reform priorities in the near term. The government’s current initiatives aimed at promoting financial sector development and inclusion and their preliminary results are also discussed.
Yongzheng Yang, Hong Chen, Shiu raj Singh, and Baljeet Singh
This study aims to test within a relatively homogeneous group of small states what differentiates the growth performance of Pacific island countries (PICs) from their peers. We find that PICs are disadvantaged by distance and hampered by lower investment and exports compared with other small island states, but greater political stability, catch-up effects from lower initial incomes, and slower population growth have helped offset some of these disadvantages. On balance, policy-related factors, together with geography-related disadvantages, have led to growth rates in PICs that are much lower than in other small states. We also examine how real exchange rate appreciation, unfavorable developments in the external trade environment, and rising international transport costs may have contributed to PICs’ slower growth over the past decade.
Fiji’s economy has contracted by 3 percent in 2009, and marginal growth is estimated for 2010. Foreign exchange reserves have improved steadily following the April 2009 devaluation and stood at over 4 months of imports (US$710 million) at end 2010. Fiji’s economic growth was low in the past few years and the structure of the economy remained broadly unchanged. The weak business climate results in sluggish private investment and is the major impediment to economic growth in Fiji. Fiji’s economy––especially tourism and finance––is linked closely to its regional neighbors.
Mr. Jonathan C Dunn, Mr. Matt Davies, Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Mr. Shengzu Wang
During the global financial crisis, central banks in Pacific island countries eased monetary policy to stimulate economic activity. Judging by the ensuing movements in commercial bank interest rates and private sector credit, monetary policy transmission appears to be weak. This is confirmed by an empirical examination of interest rate pass-through and credit growth. Weak credit demand and underdeveloped financial markets seem to have limited the effectiveness of monetary policy, but the inflexibility of exchange rates and rising real interest rates have also served to frustrate the central banks’ efforts despite a supporting fiscal policy. While highlighting the importance of developing domestic financial markets in the long run, this experience also points to the need to coordinate macroeconomic policies and to use all macroeconomic tools available in conducting countercyclical policies, including exchange rate flexibility.
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that Fiji’s growth has been sluggish in recent years because of delays in economic reforms, worsening terms of trade, and political developments that have strained Fiji’s international relations and hurt business confidence. Fiji’s economy is expected to have contracted by 2½ percent in 2009, reflecting the adverse impact of the global crisis on exports and tourism. Recent developments have put considerable pressure on the budget. Executive Directors have supported a tight monetary policy to ensure that inflation returns to low levels and to protect foreign exchange reserves.
Mr. David William Harold Orsmond and Mr. Christopher Browne
This paper examines the potential advantages and disadvantages of adopting a common currency arrangement among the six IMF member Pacific island countries that have their own national currency. These countries are Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The study explains that the present exchange rate regimes-comprising pegging to a basket of currencies for five countries and the floating arrangement for Papua New Guinea-have generally succeeded in avoiding inflationary, balance of payments, external debt, and financial system problems. The study concludes that adopting a common currency in the Pacific would require greater convergence of domestic policies and substantial strengthening of regional policies, which would take time to achieve.