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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper analyzes how Myanmar can manage its natural resources for people’s development. Myanmar’s natural resource endowments provide much needed national wealth to finance the country’s development. Given Myanmar’s low tax revenue, mobilizing resource revenues is particularly important in the current macroeconomic environment of widening fiscal and current account deficits, inflationary pressures and exchange rate depreciation. The government should consider revising the fiscal regime for natural resources and introducing a resource rent tax to maximize the revenue stream in an efficient way. To better manage the impact of volatile resource revenues on the budget, consideration could be given to anchoring fiscal policy on an expenditure rule over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Niger’s Second and Third Reviews Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and for Extension of the Program Period and Arrangement. Fiscal performance was broadly in line with program targets. The medium-term outlook appears favorable, with robust growth benefiting from important natural resource sector investments. However, the outlook is vulnerable to high domestic and external risks, including potential spillovers from the security situation in the region and climatic shocks. The IMF staff recommends the completion of the second and third reviews under the ECF.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Despite the difficult global environment, economic growth in Mozambique has remained buoyant. Inflation has come down more rapidly than anticipated. Foreign direct investment in the natural resource sector has resulted in rapid import growth. The contribution of coal production and exports and the implementation of large infrastructure projects are projected to boost economic growth. However, capacity building is urgently needed for the country to secure full benefits from an imminent natural resource boom. New mining and hydrocarbon framework laws have also been prepared.
Mr. Alan H. Gelb, Mr. Arnaud Dupuy, and Mr. Rabah Arezki
This paper studies the optimal public investment decisions in countries experiencing a resource windfall. To do so, we use an augmented version of the Permanent Income framework with public investment faced with adjustment costs capturing the associated administrative capacity as well as government direct transfers. A key assumption is that those adjustment costs rise with the size of the resource windfall. The main results from the analytical model are threefold. First, a larger resource windfall commands a lower level of public capital but a higher level of redistribution through transfers. Second, weaker administrative capacity lowers the increase in optimal public capital following a resource windfall. Third, higher total factor productivity in the non-resource sector reduces the degree of des-investment in public capital commanded by weaker administrative capacity. We further extend our basic model to allow for "investing in investing" - that is public investment in administrative capacity - by endogenizing the adjustment cost in public investment. Results from the numerical simulations suggest, among other things, that a higher initial stock of public administrative "know how" leads to a higher level of optimal public investment following a resource windfall. Implications for policy are discussed.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to record strong economic growth, despite the weaker global economic environment. Regional output rose by 5 percent in 2011, with growth set to increase slightly in 2012, helped by still-strong commodity prices, new resource exploitation, and the improved domestic conditions that have underpinned several years of solid trend growth in the region's low-income countries. But there is variation in performance across the region, with output in middle-income countries tracking more closely the global slowdown and with some sub-regions adversely affected, at least temporarily, by drought. Threats to the outlook include the risk of intensified financial stresses in the euro area spilling over into a further slowing of the global economy and the possibility of an oil price surge triggered by rising geopolitical tensions.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
In this issue, authors from the IMF and from Argentine institutions team up to review how different banks behaved and were hurt during the country's crisis. Atsushi Iimi looks at how countries can escape from the resource curse in a comparative analysis that focuses on Botswana. John Cady and Jesus Gonzalez-Garcia examine the relationship between exchange rate volatility and the transparency of reserves. The issue also includes a comprehensive index of all Volume 54 papers by author, title, subject, and JEL classification.
International Monetary Fund
This paper suggests that it is essential to save a substantial portion of mineral revenues now to ensure fiscal sustainability for a post-diamond period. Taking the non-mineral primary balance into account can help clarify desirable fiscal policies. Botswana’s real effective exchange rate is broadly in line with economic fundamentals and consistent with external sustainability, indicating no threat to external stability. Export performance and other indicators suggest a number of structural competitiveness obstacles that could explain the low labor productivity and poor export and export diversification outcomes.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) review the macroeconomic impact of the resource sector. Lao PDR’s economic performance is becoming increasingly dependent on the activities of the large mining and hydropower projects. The economic value of the resource projects is significant, even if only proven mineral reserves and hydropower plants are considered. The overall macroeconomic impact of the resource sector over the medium term will depend on the quality and timeliness of the policies adopted to sustain the growth of the non-resource sector.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
IMF and low-income countries; De Rato in Tokyo; U.K. poverty initiative; Palau, Lithuania, Ethiopia, Kuwait; Volatility in Latin America; U.S. home equity withdrawal; Botswana: avoiding the resource curse; India: tax reform; U.S corporate cash balances.
Mr. Paolo Mauro and Mr. Andre Faria
A widespread view holds that countries that finance themselves through foreign direct investment (FDI) and portfolio equity, rather than bonds and loans, are less prone to crises. But what determines countries' external capital structures? In a cross section of emerging markets and developing countries, we find that equity-like liabilities (FDI and, especially, portfolio equity) as a share of countries' total external liabilities (or as a share of GDP) are positively and significantly associated with indicators of educational attainment, natural resource abundance, and especially, institutional quality. These relationships are robust to attempts to control for possible endogeneity, suggesting that better institutional quality may help improve countries' capital structures. The results might also provide an explanation for the observed correlation between institutional quality and the frequency of crises.