Publication: Bhutan Development Update, March 2020
Growth in Bhutan is estimated to have remained subdued in 2018-19 as hydropower production declined further. Inflation decelerated to its lowest level in 2018-19 since 2003, reflecting a rapid decline in food prices. Growth in bank lending to the private sector remained strong in 2018-19 (16.7 percent, YoY) but risks to the financial sector are on the increase. The current account deficit (CAD) widened in 2018-19 on the back of lower electricity and tourism receipts. The fiscal balance improved in 2018-19 due to a sharp decline in capital spending. Risks to the outlook arise primarily from delays in the completion of the remaining large hydro projects, volatile hydropower revenues, and slippages in the implementation of non-hydro revenue measures. Bhutan faces two key challenges: making growth more inclusive and less reliant on hydropower. Therefore, Bhutan needs to facilitate more private-sector-led growth to increase employment opportunities and domestic revenues. While Bhutan achieved great strides in poverty alleviation, the pace of progress in shared prosperity has slowed in recent years. Also, disparities in poverty and other development outcomes across districts persist.
“World Bank. 2020. Bhutan Development Update, March 2020; Bhutan Development Update, March 2020. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/33450 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”