International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
A year into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the race between vaccine and virus entered a new phase in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the path to recovery in 2021 is expected to be long and divergent. The outlook will vary significantly across countries, depending on the pandemic’s path, vaccine rollouts, underlying fragilities, exposure to tourism and contact-intensive sectors, and policy space and actions. 2021 will be the year of policies that continue saving lives and livelihoods and promote recovery, while balancing the need for debt sustainability and financial resilience. At the same time, policymakers must not lose sight of the transformational challenges to build forward better and accelerate the creation of more inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and green economies. Regional and international cooperation will be key complements to strong domestic policies.
France is among the countries most affected by the global pandemic, both in terms of health and economic impact. Output is expected to have declined by around 9 percent in 2020. The authorities put in place a large emergency fiscal package to address the crisis, focused on preserving jobs and providing liquidity for households and firms, supplemented by additional stimulus measures to support the economic recovery in 2021 and beyond. The banking sector entered the crisis with comfortable buffers and, together with the support of the ECB’s accommodative monetary policy, facilitated the provision of credit to the economy. The increased leverage, however, poses solvency risks to the corporate sector. A partial recovery with GDP growth at about 5½ percent is expected in 2021. Risks to the outlook are large, dominated by the virus dynamics and, together with other risks, tilted somewhat to the downside.
Nicoletta Batini, Francesco Lamperti, and Andrea Roventini
The COVID-19 lockdowns have brought about the need of large fiscal responses in all European countries. However, countries across Europe are differently equipped to respond to the shock due to differences in economic conditions and fiscal space. We build on the model by Berger et al. (2019) to compare gains from alternative mechanisms of EU fiscal integration in the presence of moral hazard. We show that any EU response strategy to the COVID-19 crisis excluding mutual financial support to member countries lacks credibility. Some form of fiscal risk sharing is indeed better than none, especially in presence of increasing sovereign default risk of some EU member countries. The moral hazard created by risk sharing can be hedged by introducing some form of fiscal delegation to Brussels. The desirable level of delegation, however, depends on its costs. When these are low, risk sharing and delegation are substitutes and it is optimal to opt for high delegation and low risk sharing. On the contrary, when delegation costs are high, centralization and risk sharing are complements and both are needed. Proposed arrangements at the EU level in response to the COVID-19 shock seem to reflect these basic insights by rotating around a combination of fiscal risk sharing and delegation in the form of fiscal spending conditionality.
Abstract What do climate change, global financial crises, pandemics, and fragility and conflict have in common? They are all examples of global risks that can cross geographical and generational boundaries and whose mismanagement can reverse gains in development and jeopardize the well-being of generations. Managing risks such as these becomes a global public good, whose benefits also cross boundaries, providing a rationale for collective action facilitated by the international community. Yet, as many public goods, provision of global public goods suffer from collective action failures that undermine international coordination. This paper discusses the obstacles to addresing these global risks effectively, highlighting their implications for the current juncture. It claims that remaining gaps in information, resources, and capacity hamper accumulation and use of knowledge to triger appropriate action, but diverging national interests remain the key impediment to cooperation and effectiveness of global efforts, even when knowledge on the risks and their consequences are well understood. The paper argues that managing global risks requires a cohesive international community that enables its stakeholders to work collectively around common goals by facilitating sharing of knowledge, devoting resources to capacity building, and protecting the vulnerable. When some countries fail to cooperate, the international community can still forge cooperation, including by realigning incentives and demonstrating benefit from incremental steps toward full cooperation.