Press Release No. 11/297
July 29, 2011
The following statement was released today in Managua, Nicaragua, by the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Nemat Shafik, the Director of the Western Hemisphere Department, Mr. Nicolás Eyzaguirre, the vice-president of the Central American Monetary Council, Mr. Rodrigo Bolaños Zamora, the President of the Central American Council of Finance Ministers, Mr. Alberto José Guevara Obregón, the Secretary General of the Central American Council of Financial Sector Superintendents, Mr. Victor Urcuyo, and Mr. Antenor Rosales Bolaños, President of the Central Bank of Nicaragua and host of the conference:
“The ministers of finance, central bank governors, and financial sector superintendents of Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, jointly with representatives of IMF management and staff, and representatives of other international financial institutions, met in Managua, Nicaragua, during July 28–29 to discuss the regional economic outlook and identify policies to consolidate macroeconomic and financial stability and raise growth. This year’s conference focused on the prospects for the global economy and its impact on the region, the fiscal policies that would be most appropriate for the region in the current juncture as well as on the structural reforms that would help boost economic growth over the medium term.
“The conference took place against the backdrop of a global expansion that remains unbalanced. Growth in many advanced economies is still weak, while growth in much of the emerging and developing world continues to be strong. The US economy is not likely to grow at very fast rates on the coming years. Similarly, commodity and food prices are expected to remain relatively high though stable. Participants agreed that greater risks are also posed by the depth of the fiscal challenges in Europe and United States.
“The economies of Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic are gradually recovering from the global economic crisis of 2008–09. In most countries, prudent fiscal policies in the years leading up to the crisis allowed to mitigate the impact of the global slowdown by letting fiscal deficits widen. Participants in the conference emphasized that, as the region recovers, fiscal policy should aim to rebuild the buffers used during the global recession, including ensuring sustainability of debt and public finances. Participants agreed that in most countries the consolidation process should focus on keeping government expenditure in check, increase its efficiency, and redoubling efforts to increase tax revenues. . . .