Country Economic Insights

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Country Economic Insights - Row 3 - 9

As requested, I have updated rows 3-9 of the attached spreadsheet with data from the provided sources. The information from the first source was entered in columns B-L. The information from the second source was entered in columns M-O. The information from the third source was entered in column P.

Please note that the majority of countries in rows 3-9 were not addressed by the sources provided. Guyana was the only country mentioned in the first source. Antigua, Barbados, and St. Kitts were the only ones included in the second source. In the third source, Barbados and Guyana were the only countries mentioned. When the information wasn't available in the provided sources, we marked the appropriate cells "N/A" in the attached spreadsheet.

FINDINGS

GUYANA

As noted in the attached spreadsheet, the strengths, weaknesses, and risk assessment information for Guyana was not provided there due to character limits. I have provided this information below. As requested, this information has been copy-pasted directly from the provided source.

COLUMN J - Guyana's strengths:

1) "Significant investment in infrastructure and telecommunications.
2) Attractive prospects for investors in mining, hydroelectric power and agriculture.
3) Exploitation of oil reserves off the coast of Guyana from 2020.
4) Member of CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market)."

COLUMN K - Guyana's weaknesses:

1) "Reliance on exploitation of gold, bauxite, sugar, rice and timber.
2) Shortcomings in infrastructure, transport, education and health.
3) Sensitive to weather events (region strongly affected by hurricanes).
4) Territorial dispute with Venezuela.
5) Reliance on international creditors.
6) Expansion of the informal economy.
7) High crime rate linked to drug trafficking against a background of poverty and corruption."

COLUMN L - RISK ASSESSMENT for guyana

In 2018, GDP growth will stabilise at a comfortable level, driven by public investment (almost 17% of GDP). The main sectors concerned are transport (48% of loans from the Inter-American Development Bank in Guyana) and energy. The Minister of Public Infrastructure completed his Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) in late 2017, with a total investment of 10 million Guyanese dollars (EUR 41 million), which represents 2.5% of GDP. The project includes the building of roads, electrical installations, an international airport and a prison. The private sector has not been left behind, benefiting from a huge operating contract with investments estimated at USD 4.4 million (130% of GDP), between the State and a large US oil company following the discovery of the Liza oilfield off the Guyanese coast. The country will become an oil exporter by 2020 (120,000 barrels a day). The search for and exploratory drilling of potential oil fields will continue in 2018 at Liza II, Payara and Snoek. With much of the economy devoted to agriculture (30% of GDP in 2016) and mining, economic momentum still depends on weather conditions. After recovering in 2017, rice production will climb modestly while sugar production will decline further in 2018. More favourable weather conditions will encourage the expansion of gold production, which is destined exclusively for export. Inflation, which remains dependent on agricultural and oil commodity prices, is expected to stabilize at a moderate level."

The government is expected to introduce major fiscal reforms in 2018, consisting in the removal of exemptions for several industries, even if weak institutions and lobbying by businesses benefiting from these advantages could slow this process. Tax collection should increase thanks to oil drilling. Over 900 million Guyanese dollars generated by the oil industry were collected during the first half of 2017 and this income should continue to grow. On the other hand, spending will also rise with the weight of subsidies in the budget, especially those for the state-owned sugar producer, GuySuCo. Austerity will no longer be relevant to the government, as it wants to increase spending in anticipation of future oil income. With regard to the external accounts, imports, mainly of oil, will fall in the medium term as the exploitation of offshore hydrocarbon fields materialises. Exports, mainly of gold (the country’s gold output reached a historic high during the first nine months of 2017), will continue to grow. Remittances from Guyanese workers abroad (9.6% of GDP in 2016), the main source of incoming foreign exchange, could be affected by the new 2% tax on money transfers introduced in 2017 in the United States (almost 300,000 people of Guyanese origin live there, representing 40% of Guyana’s population). The current account deficit, which is small, will help maintain foreign exchange reserves at a level equal to about four months of imports in 2017. The monetary authorities will continue with their generally flexible exchange rate policy, thus increasing the local currency’s resistance to external shocks."
After over twenty years in power, the Indo-Guyanese People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) gave way to the multi-ethnic coalition led by the Afro-Guyanese Party A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change during the 2015 general elections. The coalition won 50% of the votes cast which gives them a very small majority of one seat in Parliament. The coalition candidate, David Granger, won the presidential elections. Ethnic tensions remain and the PPP/C is expected to continue its policy of blocking constitution and institutional reforms with the aim of winning the 2020 elections. Nonetheless, the outlook for positive change is to be noted, with the holding of the first local elections in 2016 and constitutional reforms planned aimed at ending a political system with proportional representation based on ethnic origins. Despite some progress, Guyana’s business climate remains difficult (126th out of 190 countries in the 2018 World Bank’s Doing Business rankings). Despite an international ruling fixing the current borders, Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela decided unilaterally in 2015 to affirm Venezuela’s sovereignty over almost two thirds of Guyana’s territory and maritime borders with the publication of an official decree. This came one week after the announcement of the discovery of an oilfield off the coast of Guyana, in the area disputed by Venezuela and rekindled a controversy that dates back over a century. The UN accordingly agreed to give the two countries time to negotiate (until end 2017). Following the failure of these negotiations, the dispute will return to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2018."
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Country Economic Insights - Row 10 - 16

As requested, I have copied information from the sources you provided, into the attached spreadsheet. Specifically, information provided in columns B through L have been taking from your first source, columns M through O from your second source, and column P from your third source. For this request, I have focused on rows 10 through 16.

Please note that majority of countries in this request were not addressed by the sources provided. Specifically, the only country for which all of the requested data was available is Suriname. Where necessary, the relevant cells have been marked "N/A" on the attached spreadsheet. Per your request, I did not utilize any outside sources to complete this request.

SURINAME

As noted in the attached spreadsheet, the Risk Assessment information for Suriname was too extensive to be provided within the spreadsheet, due to character limits imposed by Google Sheets. As a result, I have provided this information below. As requested, this information has been copy-pasted directly from the provided source.

In 2018, Suriname is expected to exit from three years of recession, which started with falling commodity prices and was then fueled by the devaluation of the currency, hyperinflation, fiscal austerity, and high interest rates. Economic recovery will likely be supported by buoyant mining output and exports, in part due to the completion of significant investments in 2017. Output is set to be boosted by the opening of the Merian gold mine, the expansion of the Staatsolie oil refinery, as well as by the resumption of bauxite production. The moderate rise in commodity prices (gold, aluminium, oil) will also boost state revenues and FDIs in the energy and mining sectors. The construction sector will benefit from these new investments, especially after the discovery of new gold reserves close to the Gross Rosebel mine. In addition, exports (excluding commodities) will continue to benefit from the depreciation of the local currency, which increases their competitiveness.
"Public investment is likely to remain modest, due to financing constraints and a fiscal consolidation policy. Austerity measures (higher taxes on fuel, gradual removal of subsidies on water and electricity) will contribute to the weakness of private consumption. In addition, inflation, although markedly declining, will remain high and put pressure on household purchasing power. A tighter monetary policy will help lower inflation as will the fading impact of the devaluation of the Suriname dollar on the price of imported goods.
Higher mining revenues, together with fiscal consolidation, will help to gradually reduce the fiscal deficit, mostly financed by international donors. Fiscal austerity, in place since 2016, comprises a freeze on civil service wages, the introduction of VAT at 10% in 2018, cuts in subsidies on water and electricity, and cuts in operating expenditure. This was written into a stand-by arrangement with the IMF, which has allowed the disbursement of USD 478 million over two years. In May 2017, the government cancelled this agreement, judging that it no longer needed IMF aid, while pursuing its reform programme. As a result, the deficit will be funded through international loans (specifically from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the World Bank), as well as by issuing debt on international markets. However, the country’s fiscal position remains worrying especially in the event of another depreciation of the local currency, which would put pressure on the substantial level of public debt, mostly denominated in foreign exchange. Moreover, the parliament has approved the creation, from 2018, of a sovereign wealth fund managed by the central bank for savings of mining revenues, in order to mitigate the future disappearance of this income source and the volatility of prices.
"The current account surplus is expected to fall in 2018, but should still remain relatively high. It will mainly be supported by rising exports of gold and oil associated with increased production capacity. In addition, exports of non-oil products (rice, wood) will be more competitive due to the earlier depreciation of the local currency. Nevertheless, the trade surplus will likely fall as a result of more expensive imports. Monetary policy is expected to remain cautious, while the central bank’s room for manoeuvre will continue to be limited by the weakness of the foreign exchange reserves (less than two months of imports). However, these are expected to increase thanks to the current account surplus and the removal in May 2016 of the United States currency peg.
President Désiré Bouterse, leader of the National Democratische Partij (NDP), is expected to pursue his reform programme so as to maintain the support of international donors, despite the large-scale protests in 2017 against austerity (especially the hike in electricity and water prices). Despite his growing unpopularity and his legal problems (resumption of proceedings for murder during the coup d’état in 1982), President Bouterse is expected to remain in post until his term of office ends in 2020. Internationally, President Bouterse’s relations with the Netherlands and the United States will remain tense. Over the past fifteen years, the former dictator is alleged to have secretly supported drug trafficking and money laundering.
Restricted access to credit, underdeveloped infrastructure, and a lack of skilled labour will continue to impact the business climate."
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Country Economic Insights (Row 17 - 23)

OVERVIEW

As requested, I have updated rows 17-23 of the attached spreadsheet with data from the provided sources. The information from the first source was entered in columns B-L. The information from the second source was entered in columns M-O. Data from the third source was entered in column P.

Please note that the majority of countries in rows 18,19, 21 and 23 were not addressed by the sources provided. Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic were the only countries mentioned in the first source.

From the second source, the Economic, Political and Financial System Risks were only found for the countries of Jamaica and Dominican Republic. In the third source, the overall assessments for Jamaica, French Guiana, Haiti, Belize, Dominican Republic were found.

When the information wasn't available in the provided sources, we marked the appropriate cells "N/A" in the attached spreadsheet.


Sources
Sources