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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper presents Paraguay’s Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). In March 2020, Paraguay was hit by the Covid-19 epidemic, which has created fiscal and balance of payments needs. The authorities’ policy response to the epidemic has been timely, but limited access to financing and a weakened fiscal position constrain the ability to pursue a deeper emergency response. The Paraguayan authorities are requesting financial assistance under the IMF’s RFI to address the urgent balance of payments needs associated with the Covid-19 epidemic. Given the urgency of their request, there is no time to put in place a full-fledged upper credit tranche program, and the authorities are of the view that they can make suitable adjustments to manage their medium-term balance of payments challenges. In order to prevent the emergence of permanently high deficits after the crisis, Paraguay should return to the deficit ceiling under the Fiscal Responsibility Law. The exchange rate should continue to function as shock absorber, and monetary policy should focus on inflation targeting.
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.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened. Real GDP is projected to contract by 8.1 percent in 2020, followed by a mild recovery in 2021 reflecting persistent spread of the virus and associated social distancing and scarring. Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside, and uncertainty about the pandemic’s evolution is a key source of risk. Containing the spread of the virus and addressing the health crisis remain the key policy priorities. In countries where lockdowns still hamper activity, policies should focus on ensuring that firms have sufficient liquidity, and on protecting employment and income, while developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to safeguard debt sustainability. In countries that are easing lockdowns, efforts should focus on supporting the recovery, including through structural reforms. Once the pandemic is under control, and the recovery is on a strong footing, fiscal policy will need to focus on rebuilding buffers. Monetary policy should remain accommodative as long as inflation stays within the target range and inflation expectations are well anchored.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened. Real GDP is projected to contract by 8.1 percent in 2020, followed by a mild recovery in 2021 reflecting persistent spread of the virus and associated social distancing and scarring. Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside, and uncertainty about the pandemic’s evolution is a key source of risk. Containing the spread of the virus and addressing the health crisis remain the key policy priorities. In countries where lockdowns still hamper activity, policies should focus on ensuring that firms have sufficient liquidity, and on protecting employment and income, while developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to safeguard debt sustainability. In countries that are easing lockdowns, efforts should focus on supporting the recovery, including through structural reforms. Once the pandemic is under control, and the recovery is on a strong footing, fiscal policy will need to focus on rebuilding buffers. Monetary policy should remain accommodative as long as inflation stays within the target range and inflation expectations are well anchored.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Paraguay