On October 30, 2020, the IMF’s Executive Board reviewed the adequacy of the Fund’s precautionary balances. Precautionary balances, comprising the Fund’s general and special reserves and the Special Contingent Account (SCA-1), are one element of the IMF’s multi-layered framework for managing financial risks. These balances provide a buffer to protect the Fund against potential losses, resulting from credit, income, and other financial risks. This review of the adequacy of the Fund’s precautionary balances took place on the standard two-year cycle, although it was delayed by a few months to allow for an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Fund financial risks. In conducting the review, the Executive Board applied the rules-based framework agreed in 2010.
This paper reports on the Fund’s income position for FY 2020 following the closing of the Fund’s accounts for the financial year and completion of the external audit. Net operational income was about SDR 1.4 billion, slightly higher than estimated in the April supplement, mainly reflecting higher investment income. However, the unrealized pension-related adjustment in FY 2020, stemming mainly from the actuarial remeasurement of staff retirement plan assets and liabilities, was larger than previously estimated and more than offset the Fund’s net operational income, contributing to an overall net loss of about SDR 1.4 billion for the year.
Using a panel of 101 low- and middle-income countries with data covering the period 1980-2012, this paper applies various econometric approaches that deal with endogeneity issues to assess the impact of food price shocks on socio-political instability once fiscal policy and remittances have been accounted for. It focuses on import prices to reflect the vulnerability of importer countries / net-buyer households to food price shocks. The paper finds that import food price shocks strongly increase the likelihood of socio-political instability. This effect is greater in countries with lower levels of private credit and income per capita. On the other hand, while remittances seem to dampen the adverse effect of import food price shocks on socio-political instability in almost all countries, the mitigating role of fiscal policy is significant only in countries with low-levels of private credit.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context: Somalia is a fragile state emerging from a protracted civil war. In 1991, the government was toppled by armed opposition groups, leading to implosion of the central government and devolution of power to administrative regions. The Fund recognized the Federal Government of Somalia on April 12, 2013, paving the way for staff to provide policy advice and technical assistance. While Somalia has been welcomed back as an active member of the Fund, it remains ineligible for financial assistance pending the clearance of its longstanding arrears. The political and security situation remains challenging. Complex clan politics and high turnover in the members of the economic team have undermined policymaking. A new government took office on February 18, 2015, and presidential elections are planned for September 2016. Key policy issues: The Article IV discussions focused on immediate and medium-term actions for building institutions and policy frameworks for fiscal and financial management. Specifically, • Capacity building and governance. Concerted action is needed to build institutions and improve governance in order to support sustainable, inclusive growth, and poverty reduction. In particular, urgent efforts are required to set in place sound mechanisms and institutions to ensure that prospective natural resource wealth, notably hydrocarbons, is well managed. Considerable donor assistance is required for helping Somalia to meet these daunting challenges. • Fiscal. Decisive steps are necessary to build fiscal discipline, underpinned by realistic budgeting and effective implementation systems, including commitment controls. The 2015 budget needs to be revised in light of revenue shortfalls. An emergency revenue mobilization plan and an expenditure review are warranted. • Financial sector. Efforts are needed to develop the currently rudimentary financial system. Swift action is required so that remittances can be channeled through the international banking system. Currency reform should not be implemented until prerequisites are in place. Given the extent of dollarization and the absence of monetary policy instruments, the central bank is unable to conduct monetary policy. Past IMF advice: The latest Article IV consultation was on November 13, 1989, and focused on the low priority attached by the government in place then on the need for better controlling unproductive spending, and on the need for better economic and social services.
This report aims to accomplish three objectives: (a) it provides an update on the status of implementation, impact, and costs of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI); (b) it proposes a modification of the reporting of progress under the initiatives, including the discontinuation of the annual status of implementation reports, and the preparation of periodic reports on debt vulnerabilities in low income countries (LICs), including HIPCs; and (c) it proposes a further ring-fencing of the list of countries eligible or potentially eligible for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative based on end-2010 income and indebtedness criteria.
Projections of demand for concessional loans under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) are subject to a high degree of uncertainty. The Fund’s financial support to low-income countries (LICs) is both cyclical and lumpy. Moreover, there are important structural changes underway that are likely to affect the frequency, nature, and size of Fund concessional lending. As a result, simple extrapolations from historical lending volumes are misleading. This paper reviews factors underlying historical lending trends and develops a methodology that can narrow down the range of possible longer-term demand scenarios.
In December 2010, the Fund concluded the limited gold sale (403 metric tons) approved by the Board in September 2009. The main purpose of the sale was to generate profits to fund an endowment that would diversify the Fund’s income sources away from lending income.
In addition, the Board agreed in July 2009, before approving the sale, to a strategy pursuant to which resources linked to the gold sale would contribute to boosting the Fund’s concessional lending capacity.
Total profits from the gold sale were SDR 6.85 billion. The profits significantly exceeded those assumed in April 2008 when agreement was reached on the key features of the new income model, and in July 2009 at the time of the discussions on a financing package to support reform of the Fund’s concessional lending activities. This reflects the substantial increase in the market price of gold throughout the period of the gold sales. With the gold sale complete, it is timely for the Board to revisit the issues relating to the use of the profits.
This paper seeks to provide a basis for initial Board consideration of this topic. It focuses primarily on the options for use of the windfall profits above a price of US$935 per ounce, which was the average price required to generate resources for the endowment at the assumed gold price underlying the new income model and to implement the agreed strategy to provide SDR 0.5–0.6 billion in resources linked to gold sales as part of the 2009 concessional financing package.
This paper responds to the Boards’ request to present a proposal addressing country eligibility under the HIPC Initiative sunset clause and discuss related issues. It builds on an informal note to the Boards which explored a number of options to deal with the sunset clause of the HIPC Initiative, which is scheduled to take effect at end-2006. It addresses the concerns raised by Directors in their discussion of the note in July 2006 and proposes that the sunset clause be allowed to take effect and the countries that are assessed to have met the income and indebtedness criteria based on end-2004 data be grandfathered. In response to concerns raised by Directors, it also discusses the issue of a permanent exit from the Initiative for countries wishing to do so.