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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
In Turkey, as in other countries, the human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has been severe. Thousands of lives have been tragically lost and many livelihoods compromised. The initial policy response to the pandemic—and subsequent sharp growth rebound—set Turkey apart from its peers. Rapid monetary and credit expansion and large liquidity support meant that Turkey was among the few countries to experience positive economic growth in 2020. But these policies also aggravated pre-existing economic and financial vulnerabilities. Higher inflation, increased dollarization, and a large shift in the current account position increased pressure on the lira and gave rise to heavy foreign exchange sales, which led in turn to steep reserve declines from already-low levels. A policy shift in late 2020—mainly towards tighter and more transparent monetary policy and slower credit growth—was both welcome and necessary. But the durability and depth of the shift were called into question in March 2021, following the change in central bank leadership, as the lira weakened markedly and interest rate spreads widened.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Kosovo has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite policy support, economic activity is estimated to have fallen 6 percent in 2020 on account of the combined effect of strict domestic containment measures and international travel restrictions. The fiscal deficit increased to 7.7 percent of GDP, given the large fall in tax revenues and the implementation of mitigation and recovery measures of 4.2 percent of GDP. The current account deficit is estimated to have increased to 7.5 percent of GDP mainly due to a large decline in diaspora-related inflows, most notably in tourism. Gross international reserves declined but remain adequate in part due to the purchase under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) in April 2020 and the use of other external financing. Banks have weathered the recession well to date, and the high pre-COVID19 liquidity levels and ample capital buffers bode well for the system’s stability.
Marijn A. Bolhuis and Brett Rayner
We leverage insights from machine learning to optimize the tradeoff between bias and variance when estimating economic models using pooled datasets. Specifically, we develop a simple algorithm that estimates the similarity of economic structures across countries and selects the optimal pool of countries to maximize out-of-sample prediction accuracy of a model. We apply the new alogrithm by nowcasting output growth with a panel of 102 countries and are able to significantly improve forecast accuracy relative to alternative pools. The algortihm improves nowcast performance for advanced economies, as well as emerging market and developing economies, suggesting that machine learning techniques using pooled data could be an important macro tool for many countries.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Turkey discusses that economic growth has since resumed, buoyed by expansionary fiscal policy, rapid credit provision by state-owned banks, and more favorable external financing conditions. The lira also recovered as market pressures abated. Import compression and a strong tourism season have contributed to a remarkable current account adjustment. Inflation has fallen sharply, and the central bank cut policy rates by 1000 basis points since July 2019. Inflation peaked at around 25 percent—five times the target—in October 2018 due, in large part, to high exchange rate passthrough and rising inflation expectations. However, strong base effects, relative lira stability, and a negative output gap have since contributed to a steep inflation decline, although inflation expectations remain well above target. State-owned banks are supporting rapid credit growth. While private banks have cut back on their lending, state-owned banks have engaged in a major credit expansion which picked up pace in early-2019.
Mr. George M Kabwe, Elie Chamoun, Riaan van Greuning, Mowele Mohlala, and Ms. Julia Cardoso
Safeguards assessments are a key pillar of the risk management arrangements for IMF lending. Safeguards assessments aim to mitigate the risks of misuse of Fund resources and misreporting of program monetary data under Fund arrangements. Safeguards assessment reports are confidential and therefore the IMF Executive Board is provided with a periodic report on safeguards activities on a biennial basis, in addition to high-level summaries in member country staff reports on key findings and recommendations. This update on safeguards activity covers the period May 2017 to end-April 2019 (the period).