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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.
While Panama has been the most dynamic economy in Latin America over the last three decades (growing 6 percent on average), its strength is being tested by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Panama is a service-based economy that is highly integrated in the world economy and exposed to extreme shocks during the pandemic.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted people’s lives, livelihoods, and economic conditions. Growth is expected to slow considerably in both 2019/20 and 2020/21 as tourism is at a standstill and domestic activity is expected to significantly slow. The external accounts are expected to deteriorate from portfolio outflows and the shock to tourism and remittances, resulting in an urgent balance of payments need.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Egypt’s hard-won macroeconomic stability achieved during the three-year arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) now faces a significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth is expected to slow in both FY2019/20 and FY2020/21 as tourism has been halted and domestic activity curtailed. The external accounts have come under pressure due to capital outflows and the shock to tourism and remittances. The authorities responded with a broad package to scale up the health system’s capacity and policies to support the people and the economy.