(Trinidad Guardian) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday issued as part of its Article IV consultations its staff report for 2017, highlighting three pertinent issues/recommendations which it believes T&T must address.

The three issues pointed out by IMF were: restoring macroeconomic stability, managing external imbalances and supporting broad-based and inclusive growth.

The recommendations come in the context of continued low energy prices and three years of recession which have significantly widened fiscal deficits in T&T.

The Fund said: "absent consolidation, fiscal balances and public debt are projected to be on an unsustainable medium-term trajectory."

On the issue of restoring macroeconomic stability, the IMF noted: "Despite some policy actions already undertaken, sustainable fiscal adjustment requires additional measures. Given the urgency of consolidation, staff advocated high impact measures to achieve the required adjustment, with an eye towards increasing revenues and reducing current expenditures. Increasing public investment remains critical for a return to sustainable growth."

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(Barbados Today) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has refused to rule out the possibility of a devaluation of the Barbados dollar should the country enter a fiscal programme with the lending institution.

IMF Director for the Western Hemisphere Alejandro Werner told Barbados TODAY that devaluation would have to be a choice for Government to make. The Barbados dollar is currently pegged at BD$2 to US$1.

The Central Bank of Barbados and several noted economists have raised concerns about the future stability of the currency due to the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

At the same time, the Freundel Stuart administration is coming under increasing pressure to enter into a formal arrangement with the IMF in order to drag the local economy out of its present state of virtual disrepair.

Suggesting that the international financial market was losing confidence in Barbados, Werner said Government would have to consider its competitiveness while building “a programme that is consistent and sustainable” when it ponders devaluation.

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HOUSTON/DUBAI (Reuters) - As Venezuela’s dilapidated energy sector struggles to pump enough crude oil to meet the country’s OPEC output target, rival producers within the exporters group have started to plug the gap, OPEC and industry sources said.

The South American country’s oil output hit a 28-year low in October as state-owned oil giant PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] struggled to find the funds to drill wells, maintain oilfields and keep pipelines and ports working.

Venezuela's oil production, which has been falling by about 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) per month since last year, is on track to fall by at least 250,000 bpd in 2017 according to numbers reported to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as U.S. sanctions and a lack of capital hobble operations.

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