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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility-Press Release; Staff Report; Statement by the Executive Director for the Republic of South Sudan

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that South Sudan’s economic performance has been mixed in recent years. Real GDP growth has displayed high volatility, the result of changes in oil and agricultural production. Inflation rose in an initial period of economic instability in 2011–12 but was contained in 2013–14 thanks to fiscal and monetary restraint and lower food prices. Serious challenges remain, including distortions in the foreign exchange market and in budget execution, lower international oil prices, and subdued oil production. As a result, financing the budget for FY2014/15 is challenging and will likely require policy decisions given the otherwise potentially adverse impact on economic stability and inflation.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

KEY ISSUESContext: Sudan’s economy has yet to recover from the shock of South Sudan’s secession three years ago, which took away three-quarters of oil production, half of its fiscal revenues, and two-thirds of its international payments capacity. Despite progress in implementing policies to address the resulting imbalances, inflation remains high and growth sluggish. Macroeconomic adjustment has been complicated by structural weaknesses, a heavy debt burden, U.S. sanctions, and volatile domestic and regional political factors. The authorities embarked earlier this year on a stabilization program supported by a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The program runs through end-2014, and the authorities have not yet decided if they want a new SMP; the mission for the third SMP review in December will discuss the matter with them.Developments, outlook, and risks. Economic performance this year has been mixed as growth has remained subdued and inflation still high at about 40 percent. Growth is expected to rebound in 2015, but the outlook remains uncertain. The risks are largely tilted to the downside, although prospects of a successful national dialogue could lead to resolution of domestic conflicts and improved international relations.Article IV. Discussions focused on policies to secure macroeconomic stability, strengthen social safety nets, and a move to sustainable and inclusive growth. Fiscal consolidation (through revenue mobilization and expenditure rationalization, including a gradual phase-out of fuel subsidies) should continue, accompanied by increased public investment and social spending. Tight monetary policy and lower central bank financing of the government should help lower inflation. There is also a need for steps to lower the large premium in the foreign exchange market. Stronger supervision is needed to improve banks’ resilience. More should be done to improve the business climate to boost growth.Program performance: The program remains on track. The authorities continue to minimize non-concessional borrowing and maintain satisfactory track record of payments to the Fund. They recently devalued the official exchange rate by 3 percent to help address external imbalances, which together with a large appreciation of the parallel market rate, has helped lower the premium. Going forward, priority should begiven to further reducing inflation by continuing fiscal consolidation, tightening monetary policy, and gradually closing the gap between the official and parallel exchange rates.Debt relief. Relief requires reaching out to creditors, normalizing relations with international financial institutions, and continuing to establish a track record of cooperation with the IMF on policies and payments. The authorities’ agreement withSouth Sudan to extend the “zero option” by two years is a positive step.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Sudan is a low-income fragile country facing significant domestic and international constraints and large macroeconomic imbalances despite notable progress toward macroeconomic stability and growth. Following the shock of the secession of South Sudan five years ago, policy adjustments helped to contain the fiscal deficit, slow money growth, reduce inflation, and support economic recovery. Institutional reforms strengthened tax collections and public financial management, and social spending increased. Despite these efforts, however, large macroeconomic imbalances-triggered by the loss of three-quarters of oil exports-continue to constrain growth prospects, along with weak policies, internal conflicts, and U.S. sanctions. Domestic and international efforts to end internal conflicts have yet to bear fruit, and the humanitarian situation remains difficult. Sanctions and the withdrawal of correspondent bank relations weigh on trade, investment, and growth. Absence of progress toward debt relief limits access to official external financing.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

South Sudan has suffered civil conflict, political instability and external shocks in the past three years. A steep decline in oil production and a sharp drop in oil prices have caused large shortfalls in foreign exchange receipts and government revenue. Continued high government spending led to massive fiscal deficits that were either monetized or financed through accumulation of arrears. The country is in a deep economic crisis with annual inflation peaking at 550 percent in September 2016 and a precipitous currency depreciation. Gross international reserves have dropped to about one week of import cover. A relapse of violence in July 2016 following the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity three months earlier compounded the already existing humanitarian crisis and derailed the peace process. The hope is that the country charts a new course toward a broad-based and inclusive political process and economic development.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Republic of South Sudan