South Asia Economic Focus

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The South Asia Economic Focus is a biannual economic update presenting recent economic developments and a near-term economic outlook for South Asia. It includes a Focus section presenting more in-depth analysis of an economic topic of relevance for stability, growth, and prosperity in the region as well as country briefs covering Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It concludes with a data section providing key economic indicators for South Asia “at a glance." Overall, it aims at providing important background information and timely analysis of key indicators and economic and financial developments of relevance to World Bank Group operations and interaction with counterparts in the region, particularly during annual and spring meeting.\r + \r + This biannual series is prepared by the Office of the Chief Economist for the South Asia region.

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    South Asia Economic Focus, Spring 2014 : Time to Refocus
    (Washington, DC, 2014-04-06) World Bank
    South Asia experienced a strong cyclical rebound in 2013Q3 growth but has since slowed again. The strong regional growth performance between July and September 2013 can be largely attributed to a temporary pick up in export growth, investment activity, as well as stronger agricultural output. Since the large impact of global portfolio rebalancing in May 2103, emerging markets have separated into a diverse group ranging from continuously fragile to resilient vis-a-vis external pressures. India has managed to turn around the wheel and minimize exposure to further tapering in 2014. Weak growth and exchange rate depreciation have characterized India for some time. Capital inflows into South Asia have regained some momentum and proved more resilient in January 2014 as opposed to May 2013. This report presents recent economic developments; outlook and policy; focus: from external to domestic risk; South Asia country briefs for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; and South Asia at a glance.
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    South Asia Economic Focus, June 2012: Creating Fiscal Space through Revenue Mobilization
    (Washington, DC, 2012-06) World Bank
    This book focuses on the creation of fiscal space through revenue mobilization, although such efforts are best made using a comprehensive framework that examines all available sources. Those sources include: (a) reducing lower-priority spending, (b) enhancing the capacity to implement priorities so that capital investment and social service provision can be carried out at reduced cost, (c) reforming subsidies or transfer programs to make them more targeted and efficient, and (d) rationalizing administered prices of publicly provided goods and services. The book is organized as follows: chapter two examines the factors that could account for the low revenue collection in South Asia. Chapter three describes the tax systems in South Asia and assesses them against a number of benchmarks that are commonly used in the literature, such as international comparisons, estimates of buoyancy, and tax yields, and then discusses key elements of tax administration in South Asia. Chapter four presents information on nontax revenues, and chapter five concludes with some key policy implications.
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    South Asia Economic Focus, June 2011 : Food Inflation
    (Washington, DC, 2011-06) World Bank
    This report focuses on the impact of policies and exogenous shocks on food inflation. It deals with four elements: 1) the pass-through of global food (and other commodity) prices, 2) macroeconomic policies, 3) market regulation and short-term supply shocks, and 4) long-term structural shifts and the terms of trade between agriculture and other sectors of the economy. This report examines food and overall inflation trends in South Asia, which is experiencing relatively high inflation, and is home to a large number of poor. There are many more poor people who are net buyers of food than there are those who benefit from higher prices of agricultural products even in the predominantly rural countries of South Asia. The report examines both short-term and longer-term drivers of rising food prices in the region, including developments in international commodity prices, domestic supply shocks, accommodative demand side policies, structural changes in demand patterns, and long-term agricultural productivity trends. The impact on poverty is examined, as is the region's preparedness for food price shocks. The priorities laid out in the Bank's post-crisis directions paper (2010) and the mandates given to the Bank by the G20 are to focus on food price volatility, agriculture and food security, and agricultural productivity. In line with these priorities, the report ends with some policy directions to manage the macroeconomic impact of food price inflation, and the potential spillover into generalized inflation, to manage the social impact of the food price hikes, and to hedge against risks associated with food price volatility. The report is organized as follows: section two discusses the anatomy and short- and longer-run drivers of food and overall inflation in South Asia. Section three discusses the impact of government policies affecting agricultural marketing, inputs and trade in South Asian countries. Section four presents an assessment of the impact of food price increases on poverty and an assessment of the preparedness of South Asian countries social protection schemes to cope with this impact. Section five concludes with some policy directions that could be pursued by South Asia to improve agricultural productivity and mitigate the impact of food price volatility on its population.