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International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, and International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The note concludes that the Fund could support a member’s use of buybacks, cash sweeteners, or collateral in the context of a Fund-supported program, provided that (i) debt restructurings using buybacks, cash sweeteners or collateral offer significant efficiency gains relative to debt restructurings that do not rely on such instruments, but are underpinned by a regular Fund-supported program; and (ii) an adequate cushion of non-multilateral debt remains after the operation. The conditions under which buybacks, cash sweeteners or collateral can be expected to deliver significant efficiency gains are narrow and specified in some detail.
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. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper focuses on Panama’s Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument. The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has disrupted Panama’s economy and created urgent balance of payments (BOP) and fiscal financing needs. The government has resolutely implemented measures to contain and mitigate the spread of the pandemic. However, significant uncertainties remain, and the economic fallout could intensify further if containment measures must be extended. The authorities stand ready to continue cooperating with the IMF in finding solutions to the balance of payments and fiscal imbalances. Measures have also been taken to maintain financial sector stability, including by allowing banks to use the accumulated dynamic provisioning to improve their liquidity position and absorb the impact of potential credit losses. The IMF emergency support under the Rapid Financing Instrument will help provide much needed resources to address BOP needs and support essential pandemic-related health expenditure. The support of other international financial institutions and development partners is crucial to close the remaining BOP and budgetary gaps, ease the adjustment burden, and preserve economic growth.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Mr. Roberto Garcia-Saltos, and Mr. Lorenzo U Figliuoli

Abstract

Abstract: Accelerating economic growth in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic (CAPDR) remains an elusive task. While the region performed relatively well in the post-global financial crisis period, over the last five years obstacles to growth have become more evident and new challenges have emerged. In response, the region has strengthened macro-financial frameworks but more progress will be required to pave the way to sustained growth and prosperity. This book considers the structural factors underlying the region’s growth outlook and assesses its macroeconomic and financial challenges to help shape the policy agenda going forward. The book first identifies the structural determinants of growth in the region related to: capital formation; employment; demographic factors, including immigration; productivity; and violence. It then highlights the importance of creating fiscal space through the design and implementation of fiscal rules and mechanisms to increase accountability (better quality of public spending, adequate policies to reduce income inequality and sustainable retirement plans). Finally, it presents recent evidence on the importance of a supportive financial sector for growth (including through financial inclusion and development).

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Panama has had the longest and fastest economic expansion in recent Latin American history. The economy has expanded at an average rate of about 6 percent per annum over the last quarter of a century, with Panama achieving one of the highest per capita income in Latin America. More recently, GDP grew by about 5½ percent in 2017 (driven by the expanded Canal), and then slowed to 3¾ percent (y/y) in H1-2018. Inflation remained subdued, reaching almost 1 percent (y/y) in September 2018. The external current account deficit stayed at 8 percent of GDP in 2017, mostly covered by FDI. The fiscal position continued to be strong, with the overall deficit of the non-financial public sector (NFPS) at about 1½ percent of GDP. Credit growth has decelerated as financial conditions have started to tighten.