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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Near-term macroeconomic prospects continue to improve in the context of higher oil prices and a gradual global recovery from the pandemic shock, but the medium-term outlook remains challenging and highly uncertain. Oil production remains muted, debt and inflation remain elevated, and non-oil activity is expected to recover only gradually. However, continued strong fiscal performance (aided by higher oil revenues), exchange rate stabilization, and a return to positive non-oil growth would contribute to a reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio this year, easing debt vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

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.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
While improving, the economic outlook remains highly challenging, given the slow and uncertain recovery from the COVID-related shocks. Heavily dependent on oil, the Angolan economy has suffered from weakness in that sector, with falling production (related to the pandemic) and only a partial rebound in international prices recently. These shocks have led to a fifth straight year of recession and hardship. The public debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to very elevated levels, driven by recent real exchange rate depreciation. Nevertheless, strong fiscal performance and active debt management are setting the stage for a gradual economic recovery and reduction in debt vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
On September 30, 2020, the IMF Executive Board approved a 27-month arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with exceptional access (SDR 4,615 million, 661 percent of quota, about $6.5 billion) to help Ecuador restore macroeconomic stability and pursue the unfinished structural agenda from the previous program. High frequency indicators point to improvements in economic activity after bottoming out in Q2, while oil prices have been declining relative to earlier assumptions, leaving the macroeconomic outlook broadly unchanged over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching consequences for the global economy. Measures to contain the spread of the virus have led to sharp declines in economic activity across the globe, particularly in 2020Q2. The hardest hit sectors have been those requiring intensive human contact, such as tourism, transportation, services, and construction, while, in general, IT-intensive activities have fared better. The economic contraction is most significant in advanced economies. The GCC countries face a double impact from the coronavirus and lower oil prices. GCC authorities have implemented a range of appropriate measures to mitigate the economic damage, including fiscal packages, relaxation of monetary and macroprudential rules, and the injection of liquidity into the banking system, and there are recent signs of improvement. Low oil prices have caused a sharp deterioration of external and fiscal balances, and fiscal strains are evident in countries with higher debt levels.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
After five years of civil conflict, the warring parties came to a peace agreement in September 2018. Until the COVID-19 crisis broke out, improved political stability and an uptick in international oil prices led to significant progress, with a rebound in economic growth, a decline in inflation, and a stabilization of the exchange rate. The COVID-19 pandemic is severely disrupting South Sudan’s economy, leading to a sharp decline in projected growth (-3.6 percent in FY20/21, about 10 percentage points below the pre-pandemic baseline) and a contraction of oil export proceeds—the main source of exports and fiscal revenue—which has given rise to urgent balance of payments needs and opened a large fiscal financing gap.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries of the Middle East and Central Asia region have been hit by two large and reinforcing shocks, resulting in significantly weaker growth projections in 2020. In addition to the devastating toll on human health, the COVID-19 pandemic and the plunge in oil prices are causing economic turmoil in the region, with fragile and conflict affected states particularlyhard-hit given already large humanitarian and refugee challenges and weak health infrastructures. The immediate priority for policies is to save lives with needed health spending, regardless of fiscal space, while preserving engines of growth with targeted support to households and hard-hit sectors. In this context, the IMF has been providing emergency assistance to help countries in the region during these challenging times. Further ahead, economic recoveries should be supported with broad fiscal and monetary measures where policy space is available, and by seeking external assistance where space is limited.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries of the Middle East and Central Asia region have been hit by two large and reinforcing shocks, resulting in significantly weaker growth projections in 2020. In addition to the devastating toll on human health, the COVID-19 pandemic and the plunge in oil prices are causing economic turmoil in the region, with fragile and conflict affected states particularlyhard-hit given already large humanitarian and refugee challenges and weak health infrastructures. The immediate priority for policies is to save lives with needed health spending, regardless of fiscal space, while preserving engines of growth with targeted support to households and hard-hit sectors. In this context, the IMF has been providing emergency assistance to help countries in the region during these challenging times. Further ahead, economic recoveries should be supported with broad fiscal and monetary measures where policy space is available, and by seeking external assistance where space is limited.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region and those in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures to mitigate its spread and impact but continue to face an uncertain and difficult environment. Oil exporters were particularly hard hit by a “double-whammy” of the economic impact of lockdowns and the resulting sharp decline in oil demand and prices. Containing the health crisis, cushioning income losses, and expanding social spending remain immediate priorities. However, governments must also begin to lay the groundwork for recovery and rebuilding stronger, including by addressing legacies from the crisis and strengthening inclusion.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This chapter presents Ecuador’s Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and Cancellation of Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Ecuador is facing urgent and immediate balance of payment (BOP) needs driven by the sharp propagation of the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak—Ecuador is one of the hardest hit countries in Latin America—a plummeting of oil prices, and a dramatic collapse of global demand. In the near term, the authorities have taken significant measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the socio-economic impact. Containment measures include the closing of schools and universities, public spaces and noncritical commercial activities, halting public transport, and imposing a nationwide curfew. Additional support from other external partners will be required and critical to close the remaining financing gap and ease budget constraints. The RFI will help Ecuador finance the much-needed health and social assistance spending and catalyze financing from other multilateral financial institutions.