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Jelle Barkema, Tryggvi Gudmundsson, and Mr. Mico Mrkaic
Estimates of output gaps continue to play a key role in assessments of the stance of business cycles. This paper uses three approaches to examine the historical record of output gap measurements and their use in surveillance within the IMF. Firstly, the historical record of global output gap estimates shows a firm negative skew, in line with previous regional studies, as well as frequent historical revisions to output gap estimates. Secondly, when looking at the co-movement of output gap estimates and realized measures of slack, a positive, but limited, association is found between the two. Thirdly, text analysis techniques are deployed to assess how estimates of output gaps are used in Fund surveillance. The results reveal no strong bearing of output gap estimates on the coverage of the concept or direction of policy advice. The results suggest the need for continued caution in relying on output gaps for real-time policymaking and policy assessment.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Samoa’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. Samoa has shown resilience to multiple past economic shocks, underpinned by the authorities’ strong commitment to support the economy, and financial assistance provided by the international community. The global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has exacerbated the impact of the measles outbreak of late-2019 on Samoa’s economy. The border closure, combined with a sudden stop of tourist arrivals and decline in remittances, has led to a precipitous fall in two vital sources of foreign earnings and resulted in an urgent balance of payments need. Beyond the immediate response, the authorities will continue to implement structural reforms, with policies appropriately balanced between safeguarding debt sustainability and promoting economic growth. They also need to continue their efforts to enhance spending efficiency, strengthen social protection programs and safety nets, further improve tax administration, strengthen public financial management, and safeguard financial stability. Addressing vulnerability to climate change remains a key medium-term challenge to create a fiscal buffer.
Ms. Alison Stuart, Jihad Alwazir, Ms. Yan Liu, Mr. Scott Roger, Mr. Si Guo, Chau Nguyen, Mr. Emmanuel Mathias, and Mr. Jonathan Pampolina
The paper looks at feasible concrete action that can be taken by correspondent and respondent banks, money transfer operators, the Pacific authorities, the Australian and New Zealand authorities, and international organizations.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This report discusses the report of technical assistance mission to support the Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) in further strengthening external sector statistics compilation and dissemination. The mission recommended that ESS compilers convert to using the International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) data as the source of exports data starting 2019; and adjust historical data at least as far back as 2014. Also, it would be beneficial to switch the source of trade in goods exports from exchange control records to Customs data to ensure better coverage and improve consistency with the IMTS published by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics. The CBS should adopt a step-by-step approach for the collection of offshore units’ data, initially focusing on offshore banks. As international requirements for the reporting of offshore units evolves, it is likely that the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA) and the offshore company trustees will need to expand data collection from the offshore units under their jurisdiction. The CBS should, therefore, keep abreast of developments with respect to offshore reporting and continue to liaise with the SIFA.