Weicheng Lian, Fei Liu, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, and Biying Zhu
While South Asia has gone a long way in diversifying their economies, there is substantial scope to do more. Some countries – India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – can build on their existing production capabilities; others – Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives – would need to undertake a more concerted push. We identify key policies from a large set of potential determinants that explain the variation in export diversification and complexity across 189 countries from 1962 to 2018. Our analysis suggests that South Asia needs to invest in infrastructure, education, and R&D, facilitate bank credit to productive companies, and open to trade in order to diversify and move up the value chains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in digital technologies as part of the infrastructure push and improving education are of even greater importance to facilitate the ability to work remotely and assist resource reallocation away from the less viable sectors.
This paper investigates the effect of timeliness in accessing the intermediate inputs on the trade pattern. In particular, any country that has a higher ability to transport goods on time has a comparative advantage in industries that place a higher value on the timely delivery of their inputs, and this comparative advantage pattern is stronger for processed goods than for primary goods. To do this, a measure for how intensively any industry demands for the timely delivery of its intermediate inputs is constructed combining Hummels and Schaur (2013)’s calculations of the time sensitivity of products with the input-output tables.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Nepal’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Before the April 2015 earthquake, Nepal’s macroeconomic performance was broadly favorable but the government’s weak budget implementation capacity held back growth and propped up the external position. The authorities’ main challenge has been to boost their capacity to plan, prioritize, and implement capital spending. The authorities are requesting financial assistance under the IMF’s RCF to address the urgent balance of payments and fiscal needs associated with the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a disbursement under the RCF in the amount of SDR 35.65 million.
After years of macroeconomic stability, the global crisis is having a substantial, albeit somewhat delayed, impact on Nepal’s economy and exposing its structural weaknesses. Although the Nepalese rupee appears modestly overvalued, maintaining the peg should remain a key near-term policy objective. Risks in the financial sector are coming to a head and need to be addressed urgently. The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB)’s recent directives are welcome, but enforcement is crucial to their effectiveness. Bank licensing policy needs to be tightened, banking sector consolidation incentivized, and state-controlled bank reform tackled.
This Selected Issues paper examines the effect of political instability on economic growth in Nepal. It uses publicly available data on political economy variables for 167 countries worldwide from 1970–2004 to estimate the impact of political instability on growth. The findings reveal that Nepal has witnessed higher political instability compared with other countries in the region. The paper also presents the salient features of political instability and growth for Nepal and other South Asian countries, and the econometric estimates of growth regressions to measure the effect of political instability on economic growth.
This paper uses the Sjaastad model to estimate the optimal currency area for the Nepalese rupee and concludes that, currently, Nepal may be reasonably well off with its peg to the Indian rupee. As its economy opens and its trade base and trading partners expand, it may want to reevaluate whether moving toward an exchange rate basket including the U.S. dollar may be a better policy choice. The regression results indicate that, currently, the prices of imported goods in Nepal are solely influenced by India, suggesting that with the peg to the Indian rupee, Nepal can isolate the import side of its economy completely from external shocks. On the export side, the regression results indicate that Nepalese export prices seem, to a large extent, to be influenced by U.S. prices. However, the export price index had to be constructed, and the construction methodology is likely to entail an overestimation of the impact of the U.S. dollar.
This Statistical Appendix paper for the periods between 1996/97 and 2001/02 for Nepal discusses both nominal and real gross domestic product by sector; savings and investments; agricultural production and yields; Manufacturing Production Indices; energy consumption; tourism indicators; Consumer Price Index; summary of government operations; central government expenditure by economic classification; profits and losses of selected nonfinancial public enterprises; assets and liabilities of commercial banks and companies; balance of payments; composition of foreign trade and exports; summary of tax system; and other statistical data.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix reviews agricultural productivity in Nepal and examines its links at the regional and aggregate levels to the amounts of available inputs such as chemical fertilizers, irrigation water, and improved seeds, as well as rainfall, rural credit, and foreign aid. The paper highlights factors that are statistically correlated with agricultural productivity and, as importantly, those that are not. The paper examines causes for the recent export slowdown. The bottom-heavy civil service structure is also described.
This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that Nepal’s real GDP growth is estimated to have slowed to 0.8 percent in 2001/02 from 5 percent in the previous year (fiscal year ending mid-July). Agricultural growth slowed to less than 2 percent from more than 4 percent, reflecting irregular rainfall. The output of nonagricultural sectors was largely stagnant, with manufacturing and tourism sectors particularly hit hard by the domestic security situation as well as the global slowdown. Inflation was subdued at about 3 percent, reflecting weak domestic demand and stable Indian prices for most of the year.
Since the transition to democracy, the government of Nepal has pursued policies intended to promote a modern market-oriented economy. Inflation continues to be strongly influenced by supply shocks and price developments in India. There have been improvements in the external position with continued reserve accumulation, and the real effective exchange rate has remained stable. Budget performance reflects the prevailing weaknesses in overall fiscal policy implementation. Some progress has been made in the areas of price reform, privatization, and financial sector reform.