IMF Executive Board Concludes 2018 Article IV Consultation with Peru

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Peru has been one of the top performers in Latin America since the turn of the century. Robust growth has helped close the income gap with the largest regional economies and reduce poverty significantly, while inflation has remained low. Sound macroeconomic and structural reforms have played an indispensable role in this.

After a difficult 2017, the economy is recovering. Extreme weather caused by El Niño and spillovers from the Odebrecht investigation led to subpar growth in 2017, and the poverty ratio increased. While high commodity prices are currently supporting investment and broader economic activity, domestic headwinds have continued. The Odebrecht case led to the resignation of President Kuczynski. The authorities have also been facing the challenge of rebuilding infrastructure damaged by El Niño. In the face of this, the new Cabinet has moved quickly to implement various measures and receive special legislative powers from Congress to speed up the reconstruction and implement needed reforms. Recent indicators suggest a pickup in economic activity.

Against this backdrop, growth in 2018 is expected to increase to 3.7 percent, supported by countercyclical fiscal and monetary stimulus. In 2019–20, the recovery of private domestic demand is expected to push growth above 4 percent, even as gradual fiscal consolidation takes place. In the medium term, growth is projected to converge to its potential of 4 percent. Headline inflation is expected to gradually increase to the center of the central bank target range of 1–3 percent by end-2018.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities for implementing sound macroeconomic policies and key structural reforms over the past two decades, which have helped keep inflation low, raise incomes and reduce poverty. While medium‑term risks are tilted to the downside, high copper prices and reduced political uncertainty create a window of opportunity for addressing remaining challenges and increasing potential growth.

Directors agreed that the fiscal policy stance should remain countercyclical in 2018. Given the negative output gap, Directors supported the authorities’ objective to expand public investment to meet the significant reconstruction needs after the flooding and landslides, while also stressing the importance of increasing implementation capacity of subnational governments.

Directors welcomed the commitment to medium‑term fiscal consolidation, under the fiscal responsibility framework. They supported the focus on revenue mobilization through strengthening tax policy and administration, and streamlining current expenditures to help free up space for much needed public investment.

Directors considered that the accommodative monetary policy stance remains appropriate and that monetary policy should remain data dependent. While the central bank has improved the communication of its policy guidance, it could consider further enhancements in this area. Directors underscored that exchange rate flexibility is an important shock absorber, and foreign exchange interventions should continue to be two‑sided and limited to addressing disorderly market conditions.

Directors observed that the financial sector remains sound and resilient to severe macroeconomic shocks, as shown by the stress tests, thanks to a robust supervisory framework, although high concentration, off‑balance sheet positions, and common exposures call for continued monitoring of risks and for increasing capital surcharges for systemically‑important banks. Directors welcomed the reduction in financial dollarization, but stressed the importance of taking steps to reduce it further. Directors recommended further improvement of the macroprudential framework, including by giving enhanced mandates for macroprudential policy to the central bank and the financial supervisor.

Directors underscored the need for continued structural reforms to tackle the long‑standing challenge of high informality and low productivity. Directors called for further efforts to strengthen governance, improve education, increase labor market flexibility, and enhance financial deepening and inclusion. They highlighted the importance of reforming the pension system to enhance social protection and reduce inequities.

Peru Selected Indicators Table
          Prel. Proj.  
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Social Indicators        
Life expectancy at birth (years) 74.2 74.4 74.7 74.9
Infant mortality (per thousand live births) 13.5 12.9 12.4 11.9
Adult literacy rate 93.8 93.7 94.2 94.2
Poverty rate (total) 1/ 23.9 22.7 21.8 20.7 21.7
Unemployment rate 5.9 6.0 6.5 6.7 6.9
               
Production and prices              
Real GDP 5.8 2.4 3.3 4.1 2.5 3.7 4.1
Real domestic demand 7.3 2.2 2.9 1.1 1.6 4.5 4.7
Real domestic demand (contribution to GDP) 7.4 2.2 2.9 1.1 1.6 4.4 4.7
Consumption (contribution to GDP) 4.3 3.1 3.7 2.0 1.7 3.0 2.9
Investment (contribution to GDP) 3.0 -0.9 -0.7 -1.0 -0.1 1.4 1.8
Net Exports (contribution to GDP) -1.5 0.2 0.4 3.0 0.9 -0.7 -0.6
Output gap (percent of potential GDP) 1.7 -0.2 -0.9 -0.6 -1.1 -1.1 -0.8
Consumer prices (end of period) 2.9 3.2 4.4 3.2 1.4 2.2 2.0
Consumer prices (period average) 2.8 3.2 3.5 3.6 2.8 1.3 2.0
               
External sector              
Exports -9.6 -7.8 -12.9 7.6 21.3 13.2 4.0
Imports 3.3 -3.1 -9.0 -5.9 10.0 9.8 6.0
Terms of trade (deterioration -) -5.2 -5.4 -6.4 -0.7 7.3 6.0 0.4
Real effective exchange rate (depreciation -) -0.2 -1.6 0.8 -2.4 1.4 n.a. n.a.
               
Money and credit 2/ 3/              
Broad money 15.3 9.5 11.6 4.3 8.8 8.8 8.5
Net credit to the private sector 18.3 13.2 14.0 5.0 5.1 7.5 7.3
               
Public sector              
NFPS revenue 27.7 27.7 24.9 23.2 23.0 23.4 23.9
NFPS primary expenditure 25.7 26.9 25.9 24.6 24.9 25.4 25.2
NFPS primary balance 2.0 0.8 -1.0 -1.4 -1.9 -2.0 -1.3
NFPS overall balance 0.9 -0.3 -2.0 -2.5 -3.1 -3.3 -2.7
NFPS structural primary balance 4/ 0.7 -0.3 -0.5 -1.1 -1.5 -1.7 -1.1
External sector              
External current account balance -4.6 -4.4 -4.8 -2.7 -1.3 -1.7 -1.8
Gross reserves              
 In billions of U.S. dollars 65.7 62.4 61.5 61.7 63.7 63.7 64.2
 Percent of short-term external debt 5/ 536 534 523 450 312 478 454
 Percent of foreign currency deposits at banks 274 258 224 230 225 220 222
               
Debt              
Total external debt 6/ 29.9 34.1 38.1 38.2 35.7 33.1 31.2
Gross non-financial public sector debt 7/ 19.9 20.6 23.9 24.4 25.3 26.6 27.6
 External 8.8 8.7 11.1 10.3 8.7 8.5 8.3
 Domestic 11.1 11.8 12.8 14.0 16.6 18.2 19.4
               
Savings and investment              
Gross domestic investment 25.8 24.9 24.1 22.6 21.4 21.9 22.6
 Public sector (incl. repayment certificates) 5.8 5.6 5.0 4.8 4.5 4.8 5.0
 Private sector (incl. inventories) 20.1 19.3 19.1 17.8 16.9 17.1 17.6
National savings 21.2 20.5 19.3 19.9 20.2 20.2 20.8
 Public sector 7.0 6.0 3.8 2.7 2.0 2.2 3.0
 Private sector 14.2 14.5 15.6 17.2 18.2 18.0 17.7
               
Memorandum items              
Nominal GDP (S/. billions) 548.2 576.5 612.7 659.7 701.8 749.0 796.9
GDP per capita (in US$) 6,655 6,586 6,168 6,208 6,762 7,198 7,533

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