International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
After a three-year recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy is recovering, boosted by the reopening of tourism. However, higher global commodity prices briefly raised inflation to double-digit rates. Disciplined fiscal policies, buoyant revenue and remittances, and donor support have contributed to fiscal and external stability. The banking system has remained resilient to the economic downturn, although there has been some deterioration in asset quality. Pressures on correspondent banking relationships continue. With the pandemic-driven decline in investment, as well as rising numbers of seasonal workers abroad, output is projected to remain well below pre-pandemic trends.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This management implementation plan (MIP) proposes actions in response to the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO)’s report on growth and adjustment in IMF-supported programs. The full implementation of the MIP package will help ensure that, at a time when many countries face strong headwinds, IMF-supported programs not only deliver necessary adjustment to address balance of payments needs but also pay greater attention to their growth effects. While the policy-related deliverables are already incorporated into current departmental work plans and budgets, the operational implementation of these recommendations may require mobilizing additional resources.
Samoa is highly exposed to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, and floods. These damage economic growth and impact debt sustainability adversely. Increasing frequency and intensity of coastal storms are likely to amplify damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. Slow-moving climate stresses such as sea level rise and increasing heat hazard are also likely to impact potential growth in the main economic sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and tourism.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Robin Koepke, and Jasper Verschuur
This paper proposes an easy-to-follow approach to track merchandise trade using vessel data and applies it to Pacific island countries. Pacific islands rely heavily on imports and maritime transport for trade. They are also highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters that pose risks to ports and supply chains. Using satellite-based vessel tracking data from the UN Global Platform, we construct daily indicators of port and trade activity for Pacific island countries. The algorithm significantly advances estimation techniques of previous studies, particularly by employing ways to overcome challenges with the estimation of cargo payloads, using detailed information on shipping liner schedules to validate port calls, and applying country-specific information to define port boundaries. The approach can complement and help fill gaps in official data, provide early warning signs of turning points in economic activity, and assist policymakers and international organizations to monitor and provide timely responses to shocks (e.g., COVID-19).
Vybhavi Balasundharam, Ms. Leni Hunter, Iulai Lavea, and Mr. Paul G Seeds
Pacific island countries (PICs) rely on national airlines for connectivity, trade, and tourism. These airlines are being struck hard by COVID-19. Losses will weigh on public sector balance sheets and pose risks to economic recovery. With a backdrop of tight fiscal space and increasing government debt, losses in airlines are adding to fiscal risks in some PICs. This paper discusses tools to evaluate and manage the fiscal risks from national airlines in the Pacific. We present a snapshot of the current state of Public Financial Management (PFM) practices in PICs and detail the best practices. This exercise would illustrate the areas in which PICs have scope to improve their risk management with regard to national airlines. We then discuss the use of diagnostic tools and capacity development to enhance monitoring and risk management. Greater transparency and accountability in the airlines, combined with rigorous oversight, would be the first step towards improved financial management of national airlines.