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Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.
Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.
International Monetary Fund
The Russian economy has improved after the recession, but recovery is fragile. Executive Directors appreciated the pre-crisis policy of taxing and saving oil revenues in a stabilization fund, which had created significant space for fiscal expansion, monetary easing, and extraordinary liquidity support to the banking system while helping to prevent an abrupt ruble depreciation. Directors agreed that the main challenges will be to implement medium-term fiscal consolidation, mitigate pressures for real appreciation and inflation, restore the health of the banking system, and improve the investment climate through ambitious structural reforms.
International Monetary Fund
Inflation followed a strikingly uniform pattern in all countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia during the period 1996-2009, falling until about 2000 and then rising. International fuel prices do not help explain this pattern. This conclusion is robust even when different cross sections of countries are tested or when different regression variables are included. The pattern of inflation is explained mainly by past inflation, the strength of the US dollar, US inflation, and—depending on the subset of countries analyzed—monetary and exchange rate policies and nonfuel commodity prices.
Jaime Espinosa-Bowen, Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, and Fahad Alturki
We test the extent to which growth in the 11 CIS countries (excluding Russia) was associated with developments in Russia, overall, as well as through the trade, financial and remittance channels over the last decade or so. The results point to the continued existence of economic links between the CIS countries and Russia, though these links may have altered since the 1998 crisis. Russia appears to influence regional growth mainly through the remittance channel and somewhat less so through the financial channel. There is a shrinking role of the trade (exports to Russia) channel. Russian growth shocks are associated with sizable effects on Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and, to some extent, Georgia.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The global economic crisis has taken a toll on the Middle East and Central Asia region, but appropriate policy responses have helped mitigate the impact. Looking ahead, the region's oil exporters are expected to benefit from rising oil prices as the world economy begins to pull out of an unparalleled post-World War II recession. Oil importers, however, are likely to continue to face continued headwinds that may delay an uptake in growth. Where feasible, countries should continue to support domestic demand to lessen the impact of the crisis on the poor while maintaining a focus on debt sustainability. For the region's low-income countries, higher donor support will be needed to maintain economic development. Across the region, governments should further strengthen financial systems and be careful not to lose momentum on structural reforms. Published biannually in May and October.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Middle East and Central Asia (MCD) region has continued to see strong growth in 2008, outpacing global growth for the ninth year in a row, the IMF says in its latest regional economic outlook.

International Monetary Fund
Russia’s large oil and gas reserves play a key role in its economic development. As with many other large oil exporters, Russia’s energy wealth is also posing numerous challenges to macroeconomic management. Although fiscal policy has saved a large part of the oil windfall in the Oil Stabilization Fund (OSF), this has not been guided by a consistent long-term framework. The framework is illustrated with numerical simulations of different fiscal spending rules that are consistent with sustainable paths of consumption out of oil and gas wealth over time.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Kyrgyz Republic has been declared eligible for assistance under the joint IMF–World Bank enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the IMF announced. In February 2005, the IMF approved a loan of about $13 million under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to support the Central Asian country’s economic program. The Kyrgyz Republic, with a population of 5.3 million, is eligible for 100 percent grant funding under the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) for FY06/07.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The MENAP oil exporters were directly affected by the global financial crisis through a sharp drop in oil prices, a contraction in the global economy, and a sudden drying up of capital inflows. Although activity in the oil sector will likely drop by 3.5 percent in 2009, strong countercyclical macroeconomic policies have helped mitigate the impact of the crisis on the non-oil sector, which is projected to grow by 3.2 percent. Looking ahead, higher oil prices, a revival of global demand, and continued government spending will provide the basis for stronger growth in 2010. The crisis also revealed some vulnerabilities in the banking and corporate sectors, requiring countries to undertake exceptional stabilization measures and highlighting the need to strengthen financial sector supervision, enhance corporate governance, foster resource mobilization, and diversify risks.