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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
In the past two decades, Paraguay has seen strong growth and a sharp reduction in poverty. Strong GDP growth was the result of sound macro policies (with low inflation and low fiscal deficits and debt) and an agricultural commodity price boom which spilled over to the non-tradable sector. Growth was not just high but also volatile, as bad weather shocks led to poor harvests, which spill over to the broader economy. In early 2020, Paraguay was rebounding strongly from another weather shock, and full-year growth was forecast at over 4 percent. In 2019, bad weather had reduced the harvest, and GDP growth had come to a near standstill. A recovery started in the second half of 2019 and gathered strength in early 2020—in February economic activity was 7 percent higher than a year earlier. The Covid-19 epidemic halted the recovery. An early lockdown—which kept the death toll among the lowest in the region—led to a sharp contraction in economic activity, with April activity levels at 20 percent below those in February. Women, informal sector workers, and workers in the service sector were particularly hard hit; while children were severely affected by the closing of the schools until the end of 2020.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
In the past two decades, Paraguay has seen strong growth and a sharp reduction in poverty. Strong GDP growth was the result of sound macro policies (with low inflation and low fiscal deficits and debt) and an agricultural commodity price boom which spilled over to the non-tradable sector. Growth was not just high but also volatile, as bad weather shocks led to poor harvests, which spill over to the broader economy. In early 2020, Paraguay was rebounding strongly from another weather shock, and full-year growth was forecast at over 4 percent. In 2019, bad weather had reduced the harvest, and GDP growth had come to a near standstill. A recovery started in the second half of 2019 and gathered strength in early 2020—in February economic activity was 7 percent higher than a year earlier. The Covid-19 epidemic halted the recovery. An early lockdown—which kept the death toll among the lowest in the region—led to a sharp contraction in economic activity, with April activity levels at 20 percent below those in February. Women, informal sector workers, and workers in the service sector were particularly hard hit; while children were severely affected by the closing of the schools until the end of 2020.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
COVID-19 pandemic: The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) work was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this Technical Note (TN) does not assess the impact of the crisis or the recent crisis-related policy measures. Nonetheless, given the FSAP’s focus on vulnerabilities and policy frameworks, the findings and recommendations of the TN remain pertinent. The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (DFSA) has improved standards in its oversight of banking and insurance sectors since the last FSAP. Nevertheless, risks persist, both in traditional forms, and new areas, such as cyber risk, AML, and innovative market entrants. This note, selects topics to meet evolving supervisory challenges and the expectation that the international supervisory standards themselves will likewise continue to rise.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Much of the work of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the missions ending on February 13, 2020. Given the FSAP’s focus on medium-term challenges and vulnerabilities, however, its findings and recommendations for strengthening policy and institutional frameworks remain pertinent. The report was updated to reflect key developments and policy changes since the mission work was completed. It also includes a risk analysis that quantifies the possible impact of the COVID-19 crisis on bank solvency. Since the previous FSAP in 2015, the Norwegian authorities have taken welcome steps to strengthen the financial system. Regulatory capital requirements for banks were raised and actions were taken to bolster the weak capital position of insurers. Alongside other macroprudential measures, temporary borrower-based measures for residential mortgages were introduced, which seem to have had some moderating impact on segments of the housing market. The resolution framework was also strengthened, with the implementation of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) and the designation of Finanstilsynet (FSA) as the resolution authority.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This note presents a targeted review of selected aspects concerning the regulation and supervision of banks in Italy and their governance framework. The review was carried out as part of the 2019 Italy Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) and was based on the regulatory framework in place and the supervisory practices employed as of March 2019. Since the regulation and supervision of significant banking institutions (SIs), including Italian SIs, was extensively covered as part of the 2018 Euro Area FSAP, this note focuses on the prudential regulation and supervision of less significant institutions (LSIs). In addition, the note reviewed regulatory and supervisory areas not covered by the wider EU regulatory framework, such as the supervision of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and related party transactions, which apply to both SIs and LSIs in Italy.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on background, challenges, and policy options in Panama. Panama stands at a crossroad between taking the leap to become an advanced economy or getting stuck in the middle-income trap. The beginning of a new administration provides a window of opportunity to initiate and implement ambitious reforms. This note takes stock of fiscal issues in Panama and proposes policy options. The new administration’s fiscal agenda should feature a comprehensive reform of tax and customs administrations, a review of tax incentives and exemptions and consider steps toward a broader tax policy reform. Efforts to further strengthen the fiscal framework with the appointment of the members of the Fiscal Council should continue going forward. Panama should adopt best practice fiscal accounting and reporting methods. A comprehensive assessment and management of fiscal risks is necessary to create buffers and safeguard public finances given fiscal policy’s exclusive stabilization role.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note on banking supervision for Malta focusses on selected topics in relation to the supervision of less significant institutions, which are not directly supervised by the European Central Bank, and on non-European Union branches. The Malta Financial Services Authority’s (MFSA) internal organization reflects its role of an integrated supervisor, and several units are involved in supervision and/or enforcement. Review of supervisory measures reveals that the MFSA has taken decisive action in several instances, but such actions have not been timely. A new organizational structure of the MFSA has been proposed recently. Developing resources devoted to enforcement will enable the unit to spend less time on the preparation of the sanctions and more time on ongoing supervisory monitoring. Involving the head of enforcement and the General Counsel in the decision-making process is positive. The report recommends developing a five-year plan to increase the MFSA’s budgetary resources and capacity to reflect the size and importance of the financial sector in Malta.