This paper studies whether fiscal policy plays a stabilizing role in the context of import food price shocks. More precisely, the paper assesses whether fiscal policy dampens the adverse effect of import food price shocks on household consumption. Based on a panel of 70 low and middle-income countries over the period 1980-2012, the paper finds that import price shocks negatively and significantly affect household consumption, but this effect appears to be mitigated by discretionary government consumption, notably through government subsidies and transfers. The results are particularly robust for African countries and countries with less flexible exchange rate regimes.
This paper presents 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Ethiopia and its Requests for Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility and an Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility. Ethiopia has enjoyed strong growth for over a decade, which has reduced poverty and raised living standards. However, the public investment-driven growth model has reached its limits. The authorities have announced a Homegrown Economic Reform Plan, consisting of a mix of macroeconomic, structural and sectoral policies, to address vulnerabilities and tackle structural bottlenecks inhibiting private sector activity. Over the medium term, macroeconomic and structural reforms announced by the authorities are expected to lead to a reduction in public debt, lower external vulnerabilities, and stronger growth, investment and exports. The risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside. Domestic opposition to reforms ahead of the upcoming elections could increase investor uncertainty and weigh on investment and growth. External risks stem from rising protectionism and weaker than expected global growth as well as climate-related shocks.
Context: In 2017/18 growth slowed due to political uncertainty and appropriately restrictive macroeconomic policies. The external current account deficit narrowed to
6.4 percent of GDP reflecting public-sector fiscal consolidation and a tight monetary policy stance. Reserves were thin and foreign exchange shortages persisted. Prime Minister (PM) Abiy Ahmed took office in April 2018, catalyzing a drive for reforms, including towards economic opening.
Outlook: Output growth is expected to accelerate to 8.5 percent in 2018/19 as political uncertainty abates and financial inflows temporarily ease external constraints. The Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) continues to assess Ethiopia at high risk of debt distress. Reforms announced by the authorities—including privatizations and opening key sectors to competition and private investment—pose a substantial upside growth potential.
This IMF Staff Report for 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Ethiopia has recorded annual average GDP growth of about ten percent in the last decade, driven by public investments in agriculture and infrastructure. The poverty rate has fallen from 44 percent in 2000 to 23.5 percent in 2015/16. In 2016/17 GDP growth is estimated at 9 percent, as agriculture rebounded from severe drought conditions in 2015/16. Industrial activity expanded, with continued investments in infrastructure and manufacturing. The current account deficit declined in 2016/17 to 8.2 percent of GDP. Over the medium term, growth is expected to remain about 8 percent, supported by sustained expansion in exports and investment.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Ethiopia’s recent macroeconomic performance has continued to be strong overall, although with some rising domestic and external vulnerabilities. Economic growth in 2014/15 was buoyant, supported by booming manufacturing and construction sectors. However, inflation has been on the rise, with domestic food prices pushing it above 10 percent. External vulnerabilities have also increased as exports of goods and services slowed significantly, while imports continued growing fast. In the medium term, the IMF staff forecast strong growth at 7.5–8 percent. Public investment is expected to moderate, while private investment is projected to increase only gradually.
Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan, Mr. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji, and Mr. Nils O Maehle
This study examines the relationship between the foreign exchange regime and macroeconomic performance in Eastern Africa. The study focuses on seven countries, five of which decisively liberalized their foreign exchange regimes. The study assesses the relationship between (i) growth and various determinants, including the exchange regime, the real exchange rate, and current account liberalization; and (ii) inflation and various determinants, including lagged inflation, the nominal exchange rate, the exchange regime, and liberalization. We find that in our sample, for the determinants of growth, investment and the real exchange rate are significant determinants but not the exchange regime or liberalization; and for inflation, the lagged inflation rate, nominal exchange rate, and the de facto regime are significant. Exchange rate pass-through is limited.
Ethiopia has successfully implemented policies to reduce inflation and rebuild external reserves. Fiscal policy aims to continue the strong focus on physical and social infrastructure investment while raising the revenue effort. The recent reframing of monetary policy to adopt a reserve money nominal anchor holds out the prospect for the end of financial repression. While the External Shocks Facility-supported program has achieved its objectives of macroeconomic stabilization and a rebuilding of external reserves, much remains to be done to sustain and accelerate growth.