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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper focuses on Albania’s Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The RFI provides rapid financial assistance to member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need, without the need for a full-fledged economic program or reviews. A sizeable increase in the fiscal deficit of 2020 is necessary to limit the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It will be critical to ensure adequate spending for healthcare and support for the people and firms that are hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Albanian authorities remain committed to ensuring macroeconomic stability. Once the shocks have been overcome, it will be important to keep public debt on a clear downward path. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for financial assistance under the RFI to address the urgent balance of payments need due to exogenous shocks related to the 2019 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic. The balance of payments financing need is expected to be temporary.
Zsoka Koczan
The boom and bust in capital flows to the New Member States of the European Union have received a considerable amount of attention; foreign direct investment and bank flows to the region and countries’ participation in regional supply chains have been well-documented. Relatively little has, however, been written about capital flows to the Western Balkans economies, which are often perceived to be ‘late arrivals’ to large capital flows. This paper aims to examine how capital flows to the Western Balkans compare with flows to the New Member States, in terms of levels as well as dynamics. We find that while financial integration took off somewhat later in the Western Balkans than in the New Member States, it has increased rapidly, despite still much lower capital account openness. Capital inflows as a share of GDP are comparable to those observed in the New Member States, (perhaps surprisingly) diverse in terms of source countries and broadly similar in composition, though with equity shares higher than they were in the New Member States at comparable levels of GDP per capita.
Francesco Spadafora, Mr. Emidio Cocozza, and Mr. Andrea Colabella
This paper analyzes the impact of the global crisis on six South-Eastern European countries. The main objective is to compare macro-financial conditions and policies in the run-up to the crisis as well as to compare the policy responses to it, so as to highlight, inter alia, possible country-specific constraints. While sharing a common pre-crisis pattern of strong capital inflows and robust growth, a key difference in the conduct of macroeconomicpolicies is that some countries adopted expansionary (and procyclical) fiscal policies. These moves exacerbated external vulnerabilities and compromised the ability to discretionarily use the fiscal instrument in acountercyclical fashion.
International Monetary Fund
The global crisis left Albania fairly unscathed and ushered in the needed economic rebalancing. The policy framework has been challenged in the post-crisis environment significant headwinds. Despite improvement, external imbalances remain elevated. Fiscal consolidation in terms of a more realistic macroeconomic framework will require credible measures and sustained efforts. Financial sector supervision and regulation will need to stay ahead of evolving challenges. Boosting productivity by attracting foreign investment is essential for higher sustainable growth.
International Monetary Fund
This evaluation of technical assistance (TA) and training in statistics looks at the experience of two transition economies, Albania and Georgia, during roughly the period 2005–2010. The TA, including the training, to these countries covered all the topical areas on which the IMF’s Statistics Department’s (STA) focuses, i.e., national accounts, price statistics, and monetary, balance of payments and government finance statistics, albeit with differing emphases between the two countries. Part of the assistance was funded directly from the IMF’s budget, while other elements (in particular the peripatetic advisors) were financed externally, in these cases by the Japanese government.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the Fund’s access policy under its main financing facilities in the General Resources Account (GRA) and under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). It responds to the Board’s request for a periodic review of the access policy, that is, the rules and practices that govern the amount of financing the Fund makes available to its members.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
John Lipsky's visit to South Africa and Mali, Latin American growth, Uruguay repays loan, Eastern Europe, Albania's economy, Belarus and Morocco, U.S. current account deficit, Francis Warnock, IMF governance, fiscal adjustment.
International Monetary Fund
Albania was among the first countries to participate in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), posting its metadata on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board. Its metadata have been used as a model by other countries participating in the GDDS. Recommendations to increase further Albania’s adherence to internationally accepted statistical practices, and enhance the analytical usefulness of its statistics include additional staff resources, expanding and improving surveys, implementing measures to minimize errors in commercial banks’ reporting, and to speed up processes in addressing these errors.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
On March 1, IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler announced the establishment of the International Capital Markets Department in the IMF. Below are edited excerpts from a March 2 press briefing by Kõhler and First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer on that decision and on the IMF's response to financial crises, including Turkey (www.imf.org/imfsurvey).
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.