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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Republic of Kazakhstan discusses that the political transition has increased the focus on social conditions and regional and rural development. Discussions focused on enhancing the inflation-targeting framework, bank soundness, the fiscal framework, structural reforms, and governance. Growth has been buoyed by new spending, retail credit, and oil and gas investments. Inflation has picked up, and the current account has deteriorated. High domestic demand driven by major oil and gas investments and government and household consumption supported by wage increases and consumer lending has underpinned the economy’s strong performance. The state continues to play a strong role in the economy, and the authorities face challenges ensuring that measures are well targeted and effective in promoting private sector growth. The challenges include oil volatility and dependency, reliance on subsidies and other state support, still-impaired banks, and governance vulnerabilities. Progress is being made with structural reform implementation, with many of the flagships “100 Concrete Steps” completed and the remaining ones broadly on track. Efforts to promote a smaller state footprint should continue, with actions to improve governance and mitigate corruption vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Azerbaijan highlights that the economy is continuing to recover from a banking crisis and recession. Looking ahead, economic growth is expected to reach 2.7 percent in 2019 on strong hydrocarbon production and robust domestic demand, benefitting from new spending measures. Gradual and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation is needed to strengthen intergenerational and precautionary buffers while mitigating the adverse impact on the economy. Consolidation could rely on prioritizing and improving the efficiency of spending, rationalizing tax policy, and improving revenue administration. Reducing administrative burden for businesses, encouraging competition, and strengthening governance and transparency would reduce the cost of doing business, foster entrepreneurship, and attract foreign capital. Prioritizing investment for healthcare and education, improving its efficiency, and better targeting of social protection would help nurture human capital and improve productivity. Addressing governance weaknesses is essential to reduce vulnerabilities to corruption. More integrated policies, along with better data availability, would support decision making and credibility, and attract investment.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the Dominican economy’s strong growth momentum over the past three years, which is now beginning to taper off toward potential. Growth has averaged 7 percent since 2014, outperforming most emerging market economies and all economies in the Americas, buoyed by domestic demand. Real GDP expanded by 6.6 percent in 2016. The economic outlook is favorable. Growth is expected to slow toward the potential rate of about 5 percent from 2017 onward, while the recent rise in fuel prices will push inflation to target and will widen the current account deficit moderately from 2017 onward. Risks around this baseline outlook are balanced.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The Dominican Republic remains among the most dynamic economies in the region, benefiting from a strengthened macro-policy framework and external tailwinds. It does not face significant internal or external imbalances: inflation is low, fiscal deficits and debt moderate, and the external position is broadly in line with fundamentals. Vulnerabilities remain, however: public debt is set to increase over the medium-term and the tax ratio is one of the lowest in the world, reserves are below the Fund’s suggested metric, legacy bottlenecks in the electricity sector remain unresolved, and social challenges persist. The consultations focused on policies to address these vulnerabilities and strengthen the economy’s resilience to external shocks.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic performance in Azerbaijan has been impaired by a number of negative shocks. Lower oil prices, weak regional growth, currency devaluations in its main trading partners, and a contraction in hydrocarbon production rapidly erased the large current account surplus the country enjoyed during the oil boom years. Near-term economic prospects remain weak. Under current policies, growth is expected to contract in 2016 and remain sluggish in the next few years, while inflation is expected to gradually decrease. The current account balance should improve as the devaluations work to limit imports and support nontraditional exports.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Iraq’s First and Second Reviews of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and Request for a Three-Year Stand-By Arrangement. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in Iraq’s budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with a mix of necessary fiscal adjustment and financing, maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg. The authorities started an SMP in November 2015 to establish a track record of policy credibility and pave the way to a possible IMF financing arrangement. Their performance under the SMP has been broadly satisfactory.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that recent economic developments in Azerbaijan have been favorable. In 2013, a stabilization of oil output and strong non-oil growth at nearly 10 percent helped lift overall GDP growth to 5.8 percent. Inflation remained low, averaging 2.4 percent, restrained by soft food prices and a stable exchange rate. The impact of regional market turbulence in early 2014 has been limited, with few signs of lower manat demand or capital flight. Economic prospects over the near and medium term are positive, if underpinned by fiscal consolidation and supported by reforms to spur non-oil private sector activity.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that during the past two years, macroeconomic developments in Nicaragua have been generally favorable. Real GDP grew by an average of 5¼ percent during 2011–2012, and the annual average inflation was 7¼ percent during the same period. Looking ahead, the macroeconomic outlook also remains broadly positive. Real GDP is expected to grow by 4¼ percent in 2013 and then stabilize at its potential level of 4 percent over the medium-term. Inflation is projected to remain at about 7 percent supported by the crawling-peg exchange rate system that has helped anchor inflation expectations.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This staff report on Iraq’s 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights economic policies and development. Risks to the macroeconomic outlook remain high. The risks can translate into lower oil revenues, deterioration in the fiscal position, pressures to use Central Bank of Iraq reserves for fiscal purposes leading to depreciation pressures, and higher inflation. Policies to mitigate their impact include strengthening fiscal institutions and oil revenue management, improving monetary policy transmission, and reducing the economy’s dependence on the oil sector. The authorities depend solely on fiscal policy to address these vulnerabilities, underscoring the need for the authorities to urgently build up sufficient fiscal buffers, since Iraq’s fiscal and external performance is very sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.