Qatar: 2012 Article IV Consultation

International Monetary Fund
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Qatar's economy is driven by high oil and natural gas prices and production, and remains strong with robust nonhydrocarbon growth. Its government has now shifted its focus to economic diversification and growth in nonhydrocarbon sectors through targeted infrastructure investments. The Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted the positive regional spillover effects of Qatar’s high growth, public spending, and increased financial assistance. The adoption of a three-year budget framework to help shield government spending from revenue volatility and enable better use of resources is welcomed.
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International Monetary Fund
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Published on
Jan 16, 2013
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Business & Economics / International / Economics
Business & Economics / Money & Monetary Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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In 1971, President Nixon imposed national price controls and took the United States off the gold standard, an extreme measure intended to end an ongoing currency war that had destroyed faith in the U.S. dollar. Today we are engaged in a new currency war, and this time the consequences will be far worse than those that confronted Nixon.


Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.

Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar itself.

Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S. Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of the current dilemmas.

While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action.

From the Hardcover edition.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF): A 36 month, SDR 4,393 million (425 percent of quota) Extended Arrangement under the EFF was approved by the Executive Board on September 4, 2013 and the sixth review was completed on March 27, 2015, for a total disbursement of SDR 2,520 million. The seventh tranche amounting to SDR 360 million will be available upon the completion of this review. Status of the program: All end-March 2015 quantitative Performance Criteria (PCs) were achieved, as well as the indicative target (IT) on cash transfers under the Benazir Income Support program. The Indicative Target on federal tax revenue was missed by a small margin, reflecting legal challenges to some of the tax measures and the negative impact of lower global commodity prices. The authorities have taken action to improve revenue and remain on track to meet the end-June 2015 fiscal deficit target. The end-March 2015 Structural Benchmarks (SBs) to (i) draft legislation to remove the authority to grant new administrative tax exemptions, (ii) reorganize the debt management office, and (iii) review to simplify tax payment processes were all met. Going forward, the authorities propose: an adjustment to the end-June PC on net international reserves (NIR) to reflect higher reserves accumulation by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP); end-September PCs; a new IT on accumulation of arrears in the power sector; and three new SBs in the areas of tax administration, debt management, and the power sector. Key issues: Discussions focused on: (i) end-March 2015 fiscal performance and the outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year; (ii) the draft FY2015/16 budget and measures to bring the fiscal deficit to 4.3 percent of GDP, including an adjustor of 0.3 percent of GDP for one-off priority spending on security enhancements related to fighting terrorism and resettlement of internally displaced persons; (iii) addressing arrears in the power sector; (iv) saving the windfall from falling oil prices to strengthen external buffers; (v) progress on safeguarding financial stability; and (vi) structural reforms in the energy sector, privatization, central bank independence, anti-money laundering framework, public debt management, trade, and business climate to unlock Pakistan’s long-term growth potential. Outreach activities included a joint press conference with the finance minister, TV and print media interviews, donor meetings, and roundtables with students and the donor community in Islamabad.
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