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International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept.
Precautionary balances are a key element of the Fund’s multilayered framework to mitigate financial risks. Overall financial risks remain elevated but have not increased significantly since the last review. Staff proposes to leave the medium-term target of SDR 25 billion, and the minimum floor of SDR 15 billion, unchanged at this time. With the projected increase in lending income, the pace of reserve accumulation is expected to remain adequate relative to the medium-term indicative target. The paper also reviews policy factors discussed in recent Board meetings that affect the level and accumulation of reserves.
International Monetary Fund
This paper proposes a package of policy reforms and a funding strategy to ensure that the Fund has the capacity to respond flexibly to LICs’ needs during the pandemic and recovery. The key policy reforms proposed include: • raising the normal annual/cumulative limits on access to PRGT resources to 145/435 percent of quota, the same thresholds for normal access in the GRA; • eliminating the hard limits on exceptional access (EA) to PRGT resources for the poorest LICs, enabling them to obtain all financing on concessional terms if the EA criteria are met; • changes to the framework for blending concessional and non-concessional resources to make it more robust and less complex; • stronger safeguards to address concerns regarding debt sustainability and capacity to repay the Fund; and • retaining zero interest rates on PRGT loans, consistent with the established rules for setting these interest rates.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Andorra, the IMF’s newest member since October 2020, participated in its first Article IV consultation with a commitment to further enhance transparency. Tourism and banking-related services dominate economic activity in the euroized economy. The country enjoys long-standing political stability, a good track-record of fiscal discipline, a gender-balanced work force, and internationally competitive ski resorts. The authorities are managing the pandemic well with universal testing and expanded hospital capacity that kept fatality rates very low despite high case-loads. The testing strategy helped Andorra implement more targeted internal restrictions than in neighboring countries. At the same time, emergency fiscal measures stabilized real incomes and supported firms.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The pandemic dealt a severe blow to the Italian people and their economy. GDP fell by nearly 9 percent in 2020, with much larger drops for contact-intensive services. Public and corporate debt increased strongly and preexisting vulnerabilities have likely worsened. The government is prioritizing resolving the health emergency and transforming the economy to lift productivity, improve social outcomes and strengthen resilience to future shocks and structural change. The large National Recovery and Resilience Plan—partly financed by sizable Next Generation EU resources—will be used to increase physical and social infrastructure. Outlook. GDP is expected to recover strongly in 2021–22 and to grow well-above trend over the medium term, supported by investment spending. Nonetheless, economic scarring could be sizable. The two-sided risks relate to how the pandemic progresses, the efficiency of investment spending and the extent of savings drawdown, with large costs associated with the downside.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The pandemic is inflicting much suffering, which has been met with swift, substantial, and well-coordinated policy responses. The anti-crisis measures have helped preserve jobs, provide liquidity to companies and income support to the vulnerable groups. They averted a larger decline in output and kept unemployment under control. After contracting by 5.5 percent in 2020, real GDP is projected to grow by 3.9 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022, as vaccinations help achieve herd immunity. However, risks to the outlook are large and tilted to the downside, given the epidemiological situation.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This paper presents traction as a multidimensional concept and discusses a comprehensive and complementary set of approaches to attempt to measure it based on the Fund’s value added to policy dialogue and formulation and public debate in member countries.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
Fund surveillance needs to evolve to face the economic and financial challenges that will shape the global landscape for years to come. This paper first takes stock of the current economic and financial landscape. To better serve the membership in this context, Fund surveillance should be prioritized around four key priorities: (i) confronting risks and uncertainties: policymakers will need to actively manage the risks of a highly uncertain outlook; (ii) preempting and mitigating adverse spillovers: shifting patterns of global economic integration will bring about new channels for contagion and policy spillovers; (iii) fostering economic sustainability: a broader understanding of sustainability to better account for the impact of economic and non-economic developments on stability; and (iv) unified policy advice: better accounting for the trade-offs and synergies among different policy combinations in the face of limited policy space and overlapping priorities, tailored to country-specific circumstances. These priorities should further enhance the traction of Fund surveillance.