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Sophia Chen, Ms. Deniz O Igan, Mr. Nicola Pierri, and Mr. Andrea F Presbitero
We use high-frequency indicators to analyze the economic impact of COVID-19 in Europe and the United States during the early phase of the pandemic. We document that European countries and U.S. states that experienced larger outbreaks also suffered larger economic losses. We also find that the heterogeneous impact of COVID-19 is mostly captured by observed changes in people’s mobility, while, so far, there is no robust evidence supporting additional impact from the adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions. The deterioration of economic conditions preceded the introduction of these policies and a gradual recovery also started before formal reopening, highlighting the importance of voluntary social distancing, communication, and trust-building measures.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Ghana’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Growth is slowing down, financial conditions have tightened, and the exchange rate is under pressure. This has resulted in large government and external financing needs. The authorities have timely and proactively responded to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Ghana and support affected households and firms. The IMF continues to monitor Ghana’s situation closely and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed. The uncertain dynamics of the pandemic creates significant risks to the macroeconomic outlook. Ghana continues to be classified at high risk of debt distress. The authorities remain committed to policies consistent with strong growth, rapid poverty reduction, and macroeconomic stability over the medium term. Additional support from other development partners will be required and critical to close the remaining external financing gap and ease budget constraints.
Alexander F. Tieman
This paper describes the current state of the Macedonian electricity sector. It looks at ongoing structural changes, driven by the gradual adoption of the EU acquis on energy, and comes up with estimates for electricity subsidies. It concludes by discussing the longer term outlook and sketching policy options.
International Monetary Fund
This Joint Staff Advisory Note provides IMF staff advice on key priorities for strengthening the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) for Ghana and for ensuring its effective implementation. It highlights critical areas that could justify renewed focus. IMF staff commends the Ghanaian authorities for the breadth and scope of the document, as well as the candid treatment of some of the issues. IMF staff also welcomes the progress in several areas reported in the annual progress report.
International Monetary Fund
This Joint Staff Advisory Note focuses on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper–II for Cape Verde. Important progress was made in poverty reduction, but rural poverty still remains high. The strategy reports that Cape Verde is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. Despite progress made to date, the gap between urban and rural income growth is still wide; thus, efforts to raise rural incomes further and a more effective design of social inclusion programs are needed.
International Monetary Fund
This paper examines Armenia’s 2004 Article IV Consultation, Sixth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, and Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria. Armenia’s strong economic performance has been continuing in 2004. In January–September, the year-over-year rate of GDP growth was 10 percent, fueled by increases in agricultural production, housing construction, and services. Since mid-2003, banking sector performance has improved, and there has been a gradual return of confidence toward banks following the resolution of eight intervened banks.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the Request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility on Georgia focuses on economic developments and policies. The fiscal situation deteriorated sharply in 2003, especially because of a weakening in expenditure management and in tax enforcement. Policy discussions focused on strategies to address the challenges inherited from the previous administration and to reinvigorate the reform drive. Georgia’s vulnerability to exogenous shocks and lingering tensions between central and regional authorities will continue to pose downward risks.
International Monetary Fund
This paper examines Armenia’s Fifth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and Request for Extension of the Arrangement. Performance under the PRGF-supported program since mid-2003 has been satisfactory: the authorities met all quantitative targets and implemented most of the envisaged structural measures. Tax revenue collection was somewhat disappointing in 2003, although it has improved in early 2004. Future growth in Armenia will increasingly depend on the ability of the banking system to mobilize and allocate domestic savings.
International Monetary Fund
This paper evaluates Azerbaijan’s 2003 Article IV Consultation, Second Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), and Requests for Waivers of Performance Criteria, Extension of Arrangement and Rephasing of Purchases. Performance relative to the quantitative targets under the program was strong, as all quantitative performance criteria and most indicative targets were met. Implementation of the structural reforms under the program was slower than planned, delaying completion of the second review. The authorities are requesting several waivers related to delays in structural reforms.
International Monetary Fund
This paper evaluates the Republic of Armenia’s Third Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and a Request for Waiver of Performance Criterion. The PRGF-supported program remains on track. All but one of the December 2002 quantitative performance criteria were met, and all structural measures envisaged for implementation up until February 2003 have been carried out or implemented as a prior action for the third review. The targets on tax revenue, stock of domestic arrears, fiscal deficit, and net international reserves were met with comfortable margins.