Asia and Pacific > Samoa

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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Samoa has shown resilience to past economic shocks, underpinned by the authorities’ strong commitment to support the economy and financial assistance provided by the international community. Samoa was among the first countries in the world to secure its border to protect its citizens from COVID-19. The authorities’ quick response to the measles outbreak and the global pandemic has identified the policy priorities well. The international community also responded swiftly, including the IMF disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in April 2020 which helped unlock record budget support grants by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB). The authorities strengthened the health care system and provided support to the private sector, with assistance targeted to vulnerable businesses and households to safeguard livelihoods.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that Samoa faces several economic challenges but continues to show resilience and a high level of engagement with IMF. Growth is expected to rebound after reaching a five-year low. Price pressures driven by temporary factors are receding and inflation is projected to return to below the authorities’ target of 3 percent. Samoa remains vulnerable to natural disasters and correspondent banking relationship (CBR) pressures. The authorities have made progress in implementing measures to mitigate these risks. Policies should focus on tightening fiscal policy to ensure sustainability while achieving progress towards development goals; mitigating risks from CBR pressures; improving the monetary policy transmission mechanism; and implementing structural reforms to boost potential growth and make it more inclusive. It is important to tighten fiscal policy compared to the baseline. The report also advises to introduce focused structural reforms on building resilience to natural disasters, enhancing the business environment, encouraging female labor participation, and improving the trade facilitation framework.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Samoa’s economy has shown resilience and continues to perform well. Growth remained robust at 2.5 percent in 2016/17, driven by commerce, services and agriculture. Inflation picked up to 1.3 percent in 2016/17, compared with close to zero in the previous year, but remains well below the authorities’ target of 3 percent. The current account deficit narrowed to 2.3 percent, driven by temporary factors. The Samoan Tala appreciated against the United States dollar during 2016/17, although there was little change in the nominal and real effective exchange rates. Growth is projected to moderate to 1.8 percent in 2017/18 and then rebound in 2018/19, as two new businesses scale up operations at the old Yazaki plant and several infrastructure projects are completed.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights Samoa’s continued good economic performance. Economic activity picked up during 2015/16 driven by tourism arrivals, lower fuel prices, and new fish processing facilities, further boosted by two major sporting events and infrastructure projects. Although the pace will moderate in 2017/18 and in 2018/19 with the closure of a large manufacturing plant, growth is expected to remain buoyant. The outlook is moderately positive though subject to downside risks related to Samoa’s vulnerability to natural disasters, elevated contingent liabilities, and withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships. Given Samoa’s reliance on workers’ remittances, the closure of bank accounts of money transfer operators heightens the risk of a disruption to remittance payments.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the key findings and recommendations of assessment of Banking Supervision and Regulation for Samoa. Little progress has been achieved toward implementing the recommendations of the 2007 Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision assessment. Initiatives by the Central Bank of Samoa to deal with weaknesses identified in supervision and regulation of domestic banks in 2007 were disrupted by a series of natural disasters and the use of limited supervisory resources on other priorities. Progress was achieved, however, in issues related to Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism, with Samoa upgraded to a “normal reporting" regime by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering in 2014, from its previous status of "enhanced reporting."