International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The protracted pandemic and two tropical storms have hit Honduras hard. Despite authorities’ responses, these shocks continue to weigh on activity; reconstruction needs are high while the outlook remains uncertain. The authorities plan to rebuild a more climate-resilient economy, given Honduras’ vulnerabilities to climate change. Presidential elections are scheduled for November 2021.
As other emerging economies reliant on tourism (about 25 percent total contribution of tourism-related industries in GDP and employment), Croatia has been hit hard by the pandemic and two devastating earthquakes, leading the economy to contract by 8.0 percent in 2020. Vaccinations have been rolled out to about 38 percent of the population (end-June 2021). Staff projects growth to bounce back to 5.4 percent in 2021, driven by a rebound in the services sector and investment, aided by fiscal and monetary policies, and bolstered by large EU grants over the medium-term.
With a demonstrated resilience to the crisis and the recovery gaining strength, macroeconomic policies should aim at preserving stability and complementing structural reforms that address long-standing challenges. A medium-term plan to rebuild buffers, support potential growth, and target pockets of vulnerability would help address pre-existing disparities and poverty. Sustained productivity growth, supported by the implementation of politically difficult but needed structural reforms, is the only way to support high wage growth and convergence with Western Europe. Failure to do so could jeopardize Lithuania’s hard-earned competitiveness gains.
Recent economic developments. Supported by a large policy package, Serbia’s economy rebounded quickly from the initial COVID-19 shock, recording a 1 percent contraction of real GDP in 2020. Job losses have mostly been contained to the informal sector, thanks to policy measures aimed at preserving formal employment. A supplementary budget for 2021 was adopted in April boosting capital expenditure and extending policy support to households and corporates, against the background of third and fourth waves of infections and related containment measures, as well as a weaker-than-expected economic recovery in key trading partners. Inflation remains low. After rising again in late February, infections tapered, helped by new containment measures and the rapid vaccine rollout.
The Slovak Republic faced the pandemic from a position of strength with fiscal space and comfortable banking sector buffers. Effective policy support, through measures aimed at preserving jobs, providing liquidity support, and ensuring credit supply, have limited the economic fallout. Output is expected to reach pre-crisis level before the end of 2021, but uncertainty is high.