Uruguay and the IMF

Press Release: IMF Executive Board Completes Sixth Review Under Uruguay's Stand-By Arrangement
November 29, 2004


Country's Policy Intentions Documents

Free Email Notification

Receive emails when we post new items of interest to you.

Subscribe or Modify your profile




UruguayLetter of Intent and Technical Memorandum of Understanding

Montevideo, November 12, 2004

The following item is a Letter of Intent of the government of Uruguay, which describes the policies that Uruguay intends to implement in the context of its request for financial support from the IMF. The document, which is the property of Uruguay, is being made available on the IMF website by agreement with the member as a service to users of the IMF website.
 

Mr. Rodrigo de Rato
Managing Director
International Monetary Fund
Washington, D.C. 20431


Dear Mr. de Rato:

1. Since completion of the fifth review under the Stand-By Arrangement last August, the Uruguayan economy has recovered faster than expected, financial indicators have continued to improve, and good progress is being made in implementing the program. In this letter, we update our economic program through the end of the Stand-By Arrangement (March 2005), maintain the end-December quantitative performance criteria (PCs) set at the fifth review, propose modification of the structural performance criterion on the completion of audits of the liquidation funds, and deletion of the monthly structural performance criterion on the submission of financial statements of the liquidation funds, which had been set at that same review. We have reached understandings on an additional structural performance criterion on the incorporation of debtor information from the liquidation funds into the credit registry of the Superintendency of Banks and a structural benchmark on the performance of the liquidation funds' asset manager. The liquidation funds will continue to submit monthly financial reports to the Ministry of Finance (MEF) and central bank (BCU), but we request eliminating the monthly structural performance criteria on this reporting. The end-September PCs on NIR, NDA, and general government noninterest expenditure were observed, as were the end-June PCs on the primary surplus of the combined public sector and the gross debt of the nonfinancial public sector. The last purchase under the arrangement is subject to a program review to be completed by mid-February 2005.

2. Real GDP grew by 13.6 percent during the first half of 2004. Inflation is under 9 percent, despite higher energy and electricity prices. Consistent with these developments, we have raised our projection for real GDP growth in 2004 to 11 percent, and we expect inflation to end the year at around 9 percent. The current account is expected to show a modest deficit, reflecting the strong pickup in imports that, in part, is being financed by foreign direct investment. Gross international reserves are expected to increase, raising the coverage of dollar liabilities in the banking system by official reserves and banks' foreign assets to about 62 percent.

3. The fiscal program is well on track, and we are aiming to exceed the primary surplus target of 3.4 percent of GDP in 2004. Expenditure restraint will be maintained, and public tariffs will continue to be adjusted in line with operational costs. No further tax reductions will be granted, and any overperformance of revenue will be saved. We will continue with the modernization of the tax administration, including by establishing a Large Taxpayers Unit by end-December (structural benchmark). To strengthen the budget process, we intend to submit with the expenditure authorization for the remainder of this administration, which will limit the increase in real expenditure in in the first quarter of 2005 (y/y) to 1.5 percent, supporting documentation that would include a discussion of the macroeconomic outlook and fiscal risks.

4. The strong growth and fiscal performance in 2004 has enabled Uruguay to achieve a larger reduction in public debt (as a percentage of GDP) than previously envisaged. Our debt sustainability analysis has been revised to reflect the latest developments and shows that with a primary surplus for the combined public sector of about 3¾ percent of GDP in 2005, rising to 4 percent in subsequent years, the debt-to-GDP ratio would decline to 48 percent by 2012.

5. The monetary program is on track, and we expect to meet the end-December program targets on NDA and NIR with comfortable margins. Base money growth targets have been maintained at the level announced in June, consistent with the attainment of a targeted inflation range of 6-8 percent by September 2005. The government will maintain the floating exchange rate policy.

6. The implementation of measures to reform the banking system is moving ahead.

  • We have transferred all remaining assets of the three liquidation funds to the asset manager (end-October PC); and the asset manager has started operating and is expected to complete a business plan by end-November. A structural benchmark has been established for the asset manager to reach 700 payment agreements approved by its creditor committee by end-January 2005.

  • The end-September PC on completion of the financial statements covering operations of the three liquidation funds since inception was missed and this measure is a prior action for completion of this review. The delay in these statements also resulted in the end-October PC on completion of financial audits of the funds to have been missed, and this PC is proposed to be reset for end-December 2004. Two of the three audits have been completed and we will be working on strengthening the financial records of the liquidation funds based on the auditor's findings.

  • We have been transmitting monthly cash flow statements and estimates of the fund's assets and liabilities to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Central Bank; however, the monthly PC for September 20 and October 20 on submitting full financial statements have not been fully observed (and will not be observed for November 20 as well) as resource constraints in gearing for the audits complicated preparation of full balance sheets. Consistent with our laws, we will publish, semi-annually, audited financial statements of the liquidation funds starting in 2005. While monthly reporting on the liquidation funds will continue, in light of the coming publication of fully audited reports, we request eliminating the monthly PC under the program.

  • The government has not increased its compensation plan for depositors and other creditors of the three liquidated banks beyond the exchange offer made in July, and we will continue to refrain from any such assistance.

  • BROU is continuing to make good progress in its operational restructuring, and its asset management trust has already exceeded its recovery targets for the year. The transfer of all remaining nonperforming loans will be completed at end-December, as envisaged under the program (structural PC). In view of the bank's strong liquidity position and the good economic environment, we have decided to advance in a cautious manner the unfreezing of the third (and last) tranche of reprogrammed deposits (US$773 million), originally scheduled to start in August 2005. Between October 13 and November 5, US$113 million of deposits were unfrozen, with BROU retaining 94 percent of the deposits and 57 percent remaining in time deposits. In the rest of November, we will release another US$51 million, with the rest to be released over the period December 2004-April 2005. This will complete the return of all deposits frozen during the 2002 financial crisis.

  • BHU's operational performance is satisfactory, and its note to BROU is being serviced on time (continuous structural PC). With the completion of the due diligence of BHU's investments and progress in the installation of its information systems, the World Bank disbursed US$50 million in October.

  • We are continuing to take steps to improve governance at NBC, and have contracted an investment bank to seek a suitable majority partner.

  • All remaining private claims against the liquidation fund of Banco de Crédito have been extinguished. Remaining nonperforming loans have been outsourced to an asset manager, and we are in the process of securitizing the performing portfolio.

  • We are continuing to strengthen bank supervision and expect to increase the number of staff by 36 before the end of the year. Also, we are working to incorporate fully the information from the loan portfolio of the liquidation funds into the national credit registry, and this has been established as a structural performance criterion under the program for end-December 2004.

7. An investment treaty has been signed with the United States, and several major foreign direct investment projects have started or will begin next year. Legislation has been passed, consistent with international best practice, to strengthen the framework for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Consistent with the safeguards recommendations, one (of four) supplementary external audit of the FSBS has been completed, and we are working to implement International Financing Reporting Standards in published financial statements.

8. Financing needs are covered through June 2005 and we intend to make repurchases to the Fund on an expectations basis through end-May 2005. We request the conversion of all remaining repurchase expectations in 2005 to an obligations basis, in light of the balance of payments need arising from the large repurchase obligations in the second half of the year.

9. We are confident that the policies we have set out will ensure the continuing success of the program and justify the requested waivers and completion of the review. In support of its program, the government requests: (i) completion of the sixth review under the Stand-By Arrangement, with availability of a purchase equivalent to SDR 139.8 million; (ii) waivers of applicability for the fiscal and debt PCs for end-September, for which data would not be available by the time of the Board meeting; and (iii) waivers for the nonobservance of the end-September structural performance criterion on the completion of financial statements of the liquidation funds since their inception, the end-October structural performance criterion on completion of external financial audits of the funds, and the monthly structural performance criteria on the submission of financial statements of the liquidation funds to the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance. The waivers of nonobservance are requested on the basis that the financial statements of the funds' since inception have been completed as a prior action for this review, audits for two of three funds have been completed and the third should be completed by the end of the year (completion of all three audits we request to reset as an end-December 2004 PC), and future semi-annual financial reports, beginning with end-December 2004, will be audited and published. The government stands ready, in consultation with the Fund, to take additional measures necessary to ensure the success of the program.

/s/

Julio de Brun Isaac Alfie
President Minister of Economy and Finance
Central Bank of Uruguay Oriental Republic of Uruguay



Table 1. Uruguay: Quantitative Performance Criteria and Indicative Targets
Under the 2004-05 Economic Program1

   

Base

March 31, 2004
  June 30, 2004
   

Dec. 2003

Target

Adj. Target

Actual

Margin (+)

 

Target

Adj. Target

Actual

Margin (+)


A. Quantitative performance criteria

 

(In millions of Uruguayan pesos)

                       

1. Combined public sector primary balance
(cumulative floor )2,3

1,897

1,722

4,200

2,478

 

3,605

3,379

7,536

4,157

                       

2. General government noninterest expenditure (cumulative ceiling)2,4

10,016

10,254

9,581

673

 

19,757

19,757

19,603

154

                       

3. Change in the net
domestic assets of
the BCU (ceiling)2,5

1,480

3,030

-5,045

8,075

 

-750

800

-7,440

8,240

 
 

(In millions of U.S. dollars)

4. Net international reserves of the BCU
(- decrease)
(cumulative floor)2,5

-1,723

-30

-80

140

220

 

50

0

201

201

                       

5. Nonfinancial public sector gross debt (ceiling)3,6

8,772

8,853

8,810

8,780

30

 

8,864

8,797

8,788

9

                       

B. Indicative targets

                   
 

(In millions of Uruguayan pesos)

1. Combined public
sector overall balance
(cumulative floor)2,3,7

-5,171

-5,445

-2,967

2,478

 

-7,848

-8,010

-3,853

4,157

                       

2. Change in the monetary base
(ceiling)8

14,577

550

550

-705

1,255

 

800

800

-1,209

2,009



     
      September 30, 2004
  Target      
     

Target

Adj. Target

Prel.

Margin (+)

 

Dec. 31

     

 
     

A. Quantitative performance criteria

                   
 

(In millions of Uruguayan pesos)

 

1. Combined public
sector primary balance
(cumulative floor)2,3

10,238

...

...

...

 

12,525

     
                       

2. General government noninterest expenditure (cumulative ceiling)2,4

30,592

30,700

29,908

792

 

41,525

     
                       
3. Change in the net
domestic assets of
the BCU
(ceiling)2,5

-550

1,000

-7,552

8,552

 

-3,830

     

                     
 

(In millions of U.S. dollars)

 

4. Net international
reserves of the BCU
(- decrease)
(cumulative floor)2,5

50

0

187

187

 

180

     
                       

5. Nonfinancial public sector gross debt (ceiling)3,6

 

9,035

...

...

...

 

9,040

     
                       

B. Indicative targets

                   
 

(In millions of Uruguayan pesos)

 

1. Combined public
sector overall balance (cumulative floor)2,3,7

-9,040

...

...

...

 

-11,384

     
                       

2. Change in the
monetary base
(ceiling)8

 

1,000

1,000

-1,755

2,755

 

1,750

     

     
Sources: Ministry of Economy and Finance; and Central Bank of Uruguay.
1As defined in the Technical Memorandum of Understanding.
2Cumulative changes from end-December 2003.
3Adjusted upward/downward for changes in social security contributions,
as defined in the TMU.
4Adjusted upward/downward for changes in collections of the Fondos de
Libre Disponibilidad (FLD), as defined in the TMU.
5Adjusted upward/downward for changes in program disbursements from
the World Bank and IDB, as defined in the TMU.
6All maturities. The 2003 base includes all loans guaranteed by the government.
For December 2003, the debt ceiling has been adjusted upwards to reflect
the transfer of Brady bonds from the central bank to the government.
7Adjusted upward/downward for changes in interest payments, as defined in the TMU.
8Cumulative change from December 2003 average.          

 

Table 2. Uruguay: Structural Conditionality Under the 2004-05 Economic Program1


Structural conditionality

 

Expected timing


A. Prior actions

   

Completion of financial statements covering the operations
of the liquidation funds since inception.

 
     

B. Structural performance criteria

   

Completion of external financial audits of the liquidation funds.

 

December 31, 2004

Completion of the transfer to the BROU fiduciary trust of all new
and remaining Category 4 and 5 loans.

December 31, 2004

Incorporate into the credit registry of the Banking Superintendency
the information on nonperforming borrowers in the liquidation funds
whose loans were held by the liquidation funds.

December 31, 2004

Complete semiannual financial reports of the liquidation funds
for end-December 2004 for auditing and publication.

January 31, 2005

Government to ensure timely service of BHU note to BROU.

 

Continuous

     

C. Structural benchmarks

   

Establishment of a Large Taxpayers Unit at the Tax Administration
Department (DGI).

 

December 31, 2004

Approval by Congress of the reform of the pension funds for the police
and the military.

 

December 31, 2004

Approval by Congress of the reform of the pension funds for
bank employees.

 

December 31, 2004

Asset manager to reach 700 payment agreements approved by its creditor committee.

 

January 31, 2005


1As defined in the Technical Memorandum of Understanding.

 

Technical Memorandum of Understanding

This memorandum presents the definitions of the variables included in the performance criteria and benchmarks annexed to the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies.

1. Cumulative primary balance of the combined public sector. The combined public sector comprises the central administration (including as defined in "Article 220" of the Constitution, Salto Grande, and the funds managed directly in the ministries (Fondos de Libre Disponibilidad), the social security system (Banco de Previsión Social, Caja Militar, and Caja Policial), the local governments (Intendencias), the public enterprises (ANCAP, ANTEL, UTE, OSE, AFE, ANP, INC, and ANCO), and the quasifiscal balance of the Central Bank (BCU). The public sector primary balance, excluding valuation adjustments, will be calculated as the overall balance measured from below the line minus interest payments measured from above the line.

  • The below the line overall balance will be measured on the basis of information provided by the BCU on: (i) the change in the nonfinancial public sector debt (defined below), including all short term debt, in foreign currency and pesos; (ii) change in net bank credit to the nonfinancial public sector in foreign currency and pesos; (iii) other nonbank financing including privatization; and (iv) the quasi-fiscal balance of the BCU (defined below). All upfront payments relating to future concessions, including the sale of mobile phone licenses, will be treated below the line.

  • The floor on the primary balance of the combined public sector will be adjusted downward (upward) by the amount by which the actual social security contributions transferred to the private pension system exceeds (falls short of) the projected amounts in the program, specified in Schedule A.

Schedule A
(In millions of Uruguay pesos, cumulative basis)

     

Mar-04 Jun-04 Sep-04 Dec-04

Projected social security contributions

824 1,573 2,641 3,417

2. Cumulative balance of the combined public sector (indicative target). The combined public sector balance is calculated as the sum of the primary balance of the combined public sector described in 1 and interest payments. Interest payments are defined to exclude commissions and fees.

3. The quasi-fiscal balance of the BCU is defined as interest earnings on gross international reserves, as defined below, and other earnings including those on other foreign and domestic assets minus operating expenses, commissions paid, and interest paid on domestic and foreign debt administered by the BCU.

4. Cumulative ceiling on general government expenditure applies to total (current and capital) noninterest expenditure of the central administration (includes Fondos de Libre Disponibilidad but excludes transfers to the social security system, automatic transfers to the private pension funds (AFAPs), and earmarked revenue) and the social security system (BPS). The ceiling on general government expenditure will be adjusted downward for any expenses arising from pension adjustments which exceed the increase in the legal minimum adjustment. The ceiling on general government expenditure will be adjusted upward (downward) by the amount by which the actual revenues from the Fondos de Libre Disponibildad (FLD) exceeds (falls short of) the projected amounts in the program, specified in Schedule B.

Schedule B
(In millions of Uruguayan pesos, cumulative basis)

     

Mar-04 Jun-04 Sep-04 Dec-04

Projected revenues from the FLD

... ... 3,910 5,258

5. Cumulative changes in net domestic assets (NDA) of the BCU is defined as the difference between end-of-period monetary base and net international reserves (NIR) of the BCU as defined in paragraphs 6 and 7 below. The flow of NIR will be valued at the accounting exchange rate of Ur$31 pesos per US$1. The limit on the change in the NDA will be adjusted by the difference between actual program loan disbursements by the World Bank and IDB and scheduled loan disbursements as reflected in Schedule C:

  • The NDA ceiling at end-March, end-June, end-September, and end-December will be adjusted upward in the event of shortfalls compared with projected program loan disbursements, up to a limit of US$50 million.

  • The NDA ceiling will be adjusted downward in the event of excesses over projected program loan disbursements by their full amount.

Schedule C
(In millions of U.S. dollars, cumulative basis)

     

Mar-04 Jun-04 Sep-04 Dec-04
Total program disbursements 110 110 160 160
World Bank 50 50 100 100
IDB 60 60 60 60

6. Monetary base (indicative target) is defined as the sum of (i) currency issue; (ii) nonremunerated and remunerated peso sight deposits of BROU, BHU, private banks, and other institutions defined below at the BCU; and (iii) call deposits of BROU, BHU, private banks, and other institutions at the BCU. Other institutions include pension funds (AFAPs), local governments, public enterprises, trust funds of the liquidated banks (FRPB), investment funds, offshore institutions (IFEs), insurance companies, exchange houses, stock brokers, and the nonfinancial private sector. The monetary base excludes central government deposits held at BROU subject to a 100 percent reserve requirement. The indicative target is defined as the cumulative change calculated using the monthly averages relative to the base month average.

7. Cumulative changes in net international reserves (NIR) of the BCU. NIR is defined as the difference between the gross international reserves and BCU reserve liabilities. Gross international reserves include all foreign exchange assets that are in the direct effective control of the BCU and are readily available for such purposes of the BCU as intervention or direct financing of payment imbalances. Such assets may be in any of the following forms, provided that they meet the test of effective control and ready availability for use: currency, bank deposits in nonresident institutions and government securities and other bonds and notes issued by nonresidents (with a rating not below "A" in the classification of Fitch and IBCA and Standard and Poor's or "A2" in the classification of Moody's). In addition, holdings of SDRs or of monetary gold would be included under gross international reserves (provided they meet the test of effective control and ready availability of use) as would the reserve position in the IMF.

  • Excluded from gross international reserves are all foreign currency claims arising from off-balance sheet transactions (such as derivatives instruments), claims on residents, capital subscriptions to international financial institutions, any assets in nonconvertible currencies, claims on any nonresident Uruguay-owned institutions, or any amounts (in all components of assets, including gold) that have been pledged in a direct or contingent way. Also excluded are certificates of deposit used to constitute reserve requirements at the BCU.

  • Also excluded from gross international reserves are foreign exchange assets in the escrow account at the BCU created to provide backing to sight and savings deposits at the public banks and the closed domestic banks (the escrow account at the BCU). Funds not used to support banks will be invested in highly liquid and secure international assets to be reported daily to the IMF and will be subject to periodic special audits.

  • BCU reserve liabilities include all foreign currency-denominated liabilities of the BCU with original maturity of one year or less to residents and nonresidents, all certificates of deposit used to constitute reserve requirements against bank deposits, the use of Fund resources, any net position on foreign exchange derivatives with either residents or nonresidents undertaken directly by the BCU or by other financial institutions on behalf of the BCU.

  • For the purpose of the NIR calculation, (i) the gold holdings of the BCU will be valued at the accounting rate of US$42 per troy ounce; (ii) liabilities to the IMF will be valued at the rate of US$1.395 per SDR; (iii) gains or losses from gold swaps and other operations will be excluded; and (iv) non-U.S. dollar denominated foreign assets and liabilities will be converted into U.S. dollars at the market exchange rates of the respective currencies as of December 31, 2003.

8. The NIR floor will be adjusted by the difference between actual program loan disbursements by the World Bank and IDB, and scheduled loan disbursements by the World Bank and IDB as reflected in Schedule C, in the following manner:

  • The NIR floor at end-March, end-June, end-September, and end-December will be adjusted downward in the event of shortfalls compared with projected program loan disbursements, up to a limit of US$50 million.

  • The NIR floor will be adjusted upward in the event of excesses over projected program loan disbursements by their full amount.

9. The nonfinancial public sector gross debt refers to the outstanding stock of gross debt in domestic and foreign currency owed or guaranteed by the nonfinancial public sector, excluding the BCU.1 Debt in the form of leases will be calculated as the present value (at the inception of the lease) of all lease payments expected to be made during the period of the agreement excluding those payments that cover the operation, repair or maintenance of the property.2 The nonfinancial public sector debt ceiling will exclude the government guaranteed BHU note (estimated at US$610 million at end-December 2003) and the government guarantee covering notes issued by the fiduciary trust associated with the transfer of BROU's NPLs (estimated at US$370 million at end-December 2003). It will include debt issued by the Megaconcesión that has a guarantee of the government.

10. The overall nonfinancial public sector debt ceiling will be adjusted upward (downward) by (i) the upward (downward) revisions made to the actual nonfinancial public sector gross debt stock at end-2003; (ii) the difference between the actual and projected amount of social security contributions that are transferred to private pension funds according to Schedule A, i.e., the debt ceiling will be adjusted upward (downward) by the amount that social security contributions exceed (fall short of) those specified in Schedule A; (iii) the difference between the actual and projected interest payments, specified in Schedule D for end-March, end-June, and end-September, and end-December, i.e. the debt ceiling would be adjusted upward (downward) by the amount that interest payments exceed (fall short of) those specified in Schedule D; (iv) the difference between actual and scheduled program disbursements by the World Bank and IDB as reflected in Schedule C above, i.e., the debt ceiling will be adjusted upward (downward) by the amount that program loan disbursements exceed (fall short of) those in Schedule C, and any downward adjustment will be limited to US$50 million; (v) the amount of the government guarantee on the BHU note that is called in 2004, excluding the clearance of existing arrears of BHU to BROU, i.e., the debt ceiling will be adjusted upward by the amount of new debt issued by the government to cover its guarantee (principal plus interest) on the BHU note; and (vi) the amount of the government guarantee on the transfer of BROU's NPLs to the fiduciary trust that is called in 2004, i.e., the debt ceiling will be adjusted upward by the amount of new debt issued by the government to cover its guarantee on the schedule of principal and interest payments owed by the trust to BROU; and (vii) the debt ceiling will be adjusted upward to reflect overperformance with respect to the targets on the BCU's net international reserves up to a limit of US$250 million.

Schedule D
(In millions of Uruguayan pesos, cumulative basis)

     

Mar-04 Jun-04 Sep-04 Dec-04

Projected interest payments

7,068 11,454 19,278 23,909

11. The data for assessing observance of the quantitative performance criterion on net international reserves will be provided by the BCU no later than one week after each test date. The data for the assessment of all other quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets will be provided by the BCU no later than two months after each test date.

12. Data, reports, and other relevant information for assessing progress on bank restructuring will be provided to staff in a timely manner; in particular, financial audits and associated management letters will be shared with the Fund.

13. The structural performance criteria for the transfer of BROU's Category 4 and 5 loans (end-June and end-December 2004 performance criteria) are defined to mean the transfer of nonperforming Category 4 and 5 loans.


1 The term "debt" has the meaning set forth in point No. 9 of the Fund's Guidelines on Performance Criteria with Respect to Foreign Debt (Decision No. 6230-(79/140, August 3, 1979), as amended).
2 The suppliers' contracts of ANTEL with equipment providers Ericsson and NEC, which predate the Fund's consideration of lease contracts for programming purposes, are expensed under goods and services as rental outlays and, therefore, excluded from the definition of nonfinancial public sector gross debt for program purposes.
-->