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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Guatemala has managed to keep infections and deaths moderate during the pandemic. The economic impact of COVID-19 has been mild given an early reopening of the economy, unprecedented policy support, and resilient remittances and exports. However, despite large-scale government interventions to support households, poverty and malnutrition have deteriorated following COVID-19 and the two major hurricanes battering Guatemala last November.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Strong and timely containment measures have successfully prevented a domestic COVID-19 outbreak but have also weighed on economic activity. The real GDP is estimated to have contracted by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and is projected to further decline by another 1.5 percent in FY 2021 due to continued travel restrictions. Economic activity is expected to pick up in FY2022, as COVID-related restrictions will be relaxed gradually. The government is currently negotiating the renewal of Compact of Free Association (COFA) financial provisions with the United States, but terms remain uncertain. The government is considering to repeal the SOV Act and a bill on establishing a Digital Economic Zone was submitted to the Parliament recently.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Sweden entered the pandemic with substantial buffers and suffered a relatively shallow recession in 2020. The decline in output was moderated by substantial income and liquidity support as well as structural features of the economy. Sweden’s initial less stringent containment strategy seems to have altered the timing of the economic fallout, which intensified towards the middle of the year. This fallout has particularly impacted the youth and foreign-born. Economic recovery is projected over the next two years, but uncertainty has increased due to the new strains of the virus and slow vaccination.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Samoa has shown resilience to past economic shocks, underpinned by the authorities’ strong commitment to support the economy and financial assistance provided by the international community. Samoa was among the first countries in the world to secure its border to protect its citizens from COVID-19. The authorities’ quick response to the measles outbreak and the global pandemic has identified the policy priorities well. The international community also responded swiftly, including the IMF disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in April 2020 which helped unlock record budget support grants by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB). The authorities strengthened the health care system and provided support to the private sector, with assistance targeted to vulnerable businesses and households to safeguard livelihoods.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Tonga’s recovery following the devastation of the 2018 Cyclone Gita has been derailed by a double blow from the pandemic and Cyclone Harold. FY2020 GDP growth is estimated to fall to -2½ percent due to domestic containment measures, a sudden stop in tourism, and investment delays. The full brunt of the pandemic will be felt in FY2021 (beginning July) during peak tourism season, when a deeper contraction is expected. A worse outcome was avoided by early actions to close external borders—which has kept Tonga COVID-19-free—and prompt economic support. Beyond FY2021, the recovery is expected to resume in line with the global recovery, but the magnitude and trajectory is uncertain.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation focuses on Botswana near- and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before COVID-19 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity, and financial markets. Gross domestic product growth is forecasted to pick up to 4.4 percent in 2020 and 5.6 percent in 2021 as the diamond industry recovers somewhat, and a new copper mine comes on stream. Growth will ease back to around 4 percent over the medium term. Risks to the outlook include faster-than-anticipated slowdown in key trading partners, shifts in consumer preferences to synthetic diamonds, and climate shocks. The size and pace of the planned adjustment are consistent with Botswana’s fiscal space, but the composition of the adjustment should protect efficient capital and social spending. Furthermore, given that buffers are being eroded, it is critical that consolidation starts as envisaged in FY2020, as it would help start addressing external imbalances and contribute to a gradual rebuilding of buffers over the medium term. In order to strengthen the monetary transmission mechanism and deepen the domestic financial market, there is a need to develop the secondary market for government securities, leverage Fintech, facilitate the attachment of collateral, and improve credit information.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Solomon Islands highlights that the country has made substantial progress since the Tensions in the early 2000s but faces considerable economic and governance challenges and is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Finding new sources of growth is becoming urgent with the decline in logging. The consultation focused on similar issues to last year—restoring fiscal buffers to build resilience, strengthening public financial management and public investment management, setting a medium-term fiscal strategy, improving governance, improving exchange rate management and building conditions for sustainable growth. The report recommends developing a holistic approach to medium-term fiscal policy by setting a realistic spending envelope and establishing a medium-term revenue strategy. Together with strengthened budget planning and expenditure control, this would provide greater budget predictability and support natural disaster contingency planning. It is also imperative to strengthen enforcement of governance standards, apply the mining fiscal regime rigorously, improve transparency and advance the anti-corruption agenda.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) highlights that the economy has performed well in recent years, with relatively high growth and low inflation. Fiscal and current account balances have recorded large surpluses since 2017, owing to the authorities’ decision to save revenue windfalls. Nonetheless, the FSM faces significant medium-term uncertainty as various economic supports under the Compact Agreement with the United States are set to expire in 2023. Unless they are renewed, the FSM is expected to lose access to Compact grants, giving rise to a fiscal cliff in 2023; banking sector oversight by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and post-disaster rehabilitation assistance. The country is highly vulnerable to climate change, while private sector activity remains anaemic. It is recommended to improve resilience to climate change by strengthening capacity to implement adaptation projects. Over the medium term, disaster risks should be mitigated by using disaster insurance and disaster-contingent foreign financing.