Dyna Heng, Anna Ivanova, Rodrigo Mariscal, Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Joyce Wong
This paper examines the state of financial development in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region as well as potential growth and stability implications from further development. The analysis suggests that access to financial institutions has expanded notably in the past decade, and the region compares favorably with other emerging market regions on this dimension. The region, however, continues to lag behind peers on broader financial development, especially with respect to markets, though there is substantial heterogeneity across countries. Financial systems in many LAC countries are also underdeveloped relative to their macroeconomic fundamentals. Further financial development could convey net benefits to the region, provided there is adequate regulatory oversight to prevent excesses.
This paper reviews recent developments in the financing of the Fund’s concessional lending and debt relief since the October 2014 Update. It presents the latest available data including the new commitments of loan resources to the PRGT and the sources of initial financing for the newly created CCR Trust, replacing the PCDR Trust. It also discusses the PRGT’s potential self sustaining capacity in the context of longer term projections of the demand for concessional lending and robustness to alternative scenarios.
Articles in the June 2014 issue of the IMF Research Bulletin look at “The Rise and Fall of Current Account Deficits in the Euro Area Periphery and the Baltics” (Joong Shik Kang and Jay C. Shambaugh) and “The Two Sides of the Same Coin?: Rebalancing and Inclusive Growth in China” (Il Houng Lee, Murtaza Syed, and Xin Wang). The Q&A looks at “Seven Questions on the Monetary Transmission Mechanism in Low-Income Countries” (Andrew Berg, Luisa Charry, Rafael A. Portillo, and Jan Vleck). This issue of the Research Bulletin includes updated listings of IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from the IMF Bookstore. Readers can also find information on free access to a featured article from “IMF Economic Review.”
Mr. Sebastian Sosa, Ms. Evridiki Tsounta, and Miss Marie S Kim
A favorable external environment coupled with prudent policies fostered output growth in most of Latin America during the last decade. But, what were the drivers of this strong growth performance from the supply side and will this momentum be sustainable in the years ahead? We address these questions by identifying the proximate causes of the recent high GDP growth and estimating potential growth rates for the period ahead for a large group of Latin American countries based on standard (Solow-style) growth accounting methodologies. We find that factor accumulation (especially labor), rather than growth in total factor productivity (TFP), remains the main driver of GDP growth. Moving forward, given the expected moderation of capital accumulation and some natural constraints on labor, the strong growth momentum is unlikely to be sustainable unless TFP performance improves significantly.
Ms. Nita Thacker, Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, and Mr. Roberto Perrelli
After earlier success, growth performance in most Caribbean countries has been disappointing since the early 1990s. With slower growth, output has fallen behind that of relevant comparator countries. This paper analyzes the growth experience of the Caribbean countries from a cross country perspective. Three findings stand out. First, the slowdown in growth is explained more by a decline in productivity rather than a lack of investment. Second, tourism has been a significant contributor to higher growth (through both capital accumulation and productivity) and lower output volatility, and in many countries there is scope for further expansion of this sector. Third, the small size and the fact that most of these countries are islands have limited growth. Policies aimed at improving productivity, further development of the tourism sector, and regional integration could pay dividends in terms of higher growth in the region.
This paper seeks to document key characteristics of small island states in the Pacific. It restricts itself to a limited number of indicators which are macro-orientated - population, fertility of land, ability to tap into economies of scale, income, and geographic isolation. It leaves aside equally important but more micro-orientated variables and development indicators. We show that small island states in the Pacific are different from countries in other regional groupings in that they are extremely isolated and have limited scope to tap economies of scale due to small populations. They often have little arable land. There is empirical evidence to suggest that these factors are related to income growth.
This paper proposes the distribution of a portion of the Fund’s general reserve that is attributed to profits from recent Fund gold sales. The proposed distribution is part of a strategy endorsed by the Board in July 2009 involving the use of resources linked to gold sale profits to facilitate members’ contributions towards Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) subsidies. The strategy was formulated in the context of a comprehensive reform of the Fund’s Low Income Country (LIC) facilities and concessional financing framework approved by the Executive Board that included a financing package aimed at ensuring the PRGT’s capacity to lend concessional resources of up to SDR 11.3 billion ($17 billion) during the period 2009–14. The financing package included an agreement to raise SDR 1.5 billion in subsidy resources, of which SDR 0.5–0.6 billion (in end-2008 NPV terms) was expected to be generated from resources linked to profits from gold sales.
This paper examines the cyclicality of fiscal behavior in 28 developing oil-producing countries (OPCs) during 1990-2009. After testing five fiscal measures - government expenditure, consumption, investment, non-oil revenue, and non-oil primary balance - and correcting for reverse causality between non-oil output and fiscal variables, the results suggest that all of the five fiscal variables are strongly procyclical in the full sample. Also, the results are not uniform across income groups: expenditure is procyclical in the low and middle-income countries, while it is countercyclical in the high-income countries. Fiscal policy tends to be affected by the external financing constraints in the middle- and high-income groups. However, the quality of institutions and political structure appear to be more significant for the low-income group.