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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
In the past two decades, Paraguay has seen strong growth and a sharp reduction in poverty. Strong GDP growth was the result of sound macro policies (with low inflation and low fiscal deficits and debt) and an agricultural commodity price boom which spilled over to the non-tradable sector. Growth was not just high but also volatile, as bad weather shocks led to poor harvests, which spill over to the broader economy. In early 2020, Paraguay was rebounding strongly from another weather shock, and full-year growth was forecast at over 4 percent. In 2019, bad weather had reduced the harvest, and GDP growth had come to a near standstill. A recovery started in the second half of 2019 and gathered strength in early 2020—in February economic activity was 7 percent higher than a year earlier. The Covid-19 epidemic halted the recovery. An early lockdown—which kept the death toll among the lowest in the region—led to a sharp contraction in economic activity, with April activity levels at 20 percent below those in February. Women, informal sector workers, and workers in the service sector were particularly hard hit; while children were severely affected by the closing of the schools until the end of 2020.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Malaysia entered the pandemic from a robust economic position but has nonetheless been significantly affected. A synchronous fiscal, monetary and financial policy response has helped cushion the economic impact. As a result, after a deep recession in 2020, and assuming the pandemic is brought under control in Malaysia and globally, growth would rebound to 6.5 percent in 2021 as supply side constraints are lifted and domestic and external demand recover. Large downside risks will remain.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
While Panama has been the most dynamic economy in Latin America over the last three decades (growing 6 percent on average), its strength is being tested by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Panama is a service-based economy that is highly integrated in the world economy and exposed to extreme shocks during the pandemic.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Germany managed the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic relatively well thanks to an early and vigorous public health response. Nonetheless, unprecedented disruptions to economic and social activity caused a deep recession in the first half of 2020. The gradual easing of containment measures since late-April has led to a partial revival of growth, but in late-October a “lockdown light” was announced to counter a new wave of infections, and restrictions were further tightened in mid-December. Significant risks remain about the pace and extent of the recovery as the uncertain course of the epidemic continues to impact economic activity.
International Monetary Fund
The temporary increase in access limits under IMF emergency financing instruments will expire on October 5, 2020, unless extended. Access limits under emergency instruments (the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI)) were increased in April 2020 for a period of six months, from 50 to 100 percent of quota annually and from 100 to 150 percent of quota cumulatively. The increased limits are subject to review and can be extended before their expiration. It is proposed to extend the period of higher access limits for emergency financing for a period of six months, through April 6, 2021. Against a background of continued pandemic-related disruption, staff expects there could be significant demand for emergency lending in the October 2020–April 2021 period, including from countries with pending requests and from countries that received emergency support at levels less than the maximum amounts available. A six-month extension would give more time for countries to benefit from higher access limits under emergency financing.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Mongolia’s Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has taken a large toll on economic activity in Mongolia, giving rise to urgent budget and balance of payments needs. The authorities have already taken several measures to limit the economic contraction and help the most vulnerable. Recent revisions to the budget allow for higher health and social spending as well as tax relief to affected households and businesses. In addition, the Bank of Mongolia has eased monetary and financial policies to help prevent a disorderly contraction in bank lending to the private sector. Emergency financing under the IMF’s RFI will provide much needed support to respond to the urgent balance of payments and budgetary needs. Additional assistance from development partners will be required to support the authorities’ efforts and close the financing gap. The authorities’ commitment to high standards of transparency and governance in the management of financial assistance is welcome.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept.
This paper focuses on Ukraine’s Ex-Post Evaluation of Exceptional Access Under the 2015 Extended Arrangement. Sound fiscal and monetary policies since the 2014–2015 crisis have resulted in a sharp reduction in Ukraine’s external and internal imbalances. Public debt was put on a downward path, inflation has declined, and international reserves have recovered. The new Stand-By Arrangement will provide an anchor for the authorities’ efforts to address the impact of the crisis, while ensuring macroeconomic stability and safeguarding achievements to date. Together with support from the World Bank and the European Union, it will help address large financing needs. The program will focus on safeguarding medium-term fiscal sustainability, preserving central bank independence and the flexible exchange rate, and enhancing financial stability while recovering the costs from bank resolutions. The National Bank of Ukraine has skillfully managed monetary policy during a very challenging period. Central Bank independence should be preserved, and monetary and exchange rate policies should continue to provide a stable anchor in the context of the inflation-targeting regime, while allowing orderly exchange rate adjustment and preventing liquidity stress.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2020 Article IV Consultation focuses on Malta’s near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. Pursuing structural reforms is expected to help sustain Malta’s growth performance while promoting social inclusion. The focus should continue to be on encouraging female and elderly participation in the labor market, upskilling the labor force and stimulating innovation. Moreover, to safeguard the business climate, remaining governance shortcomings should be addressed without delay, including by stepping up the fight against corruption and by increasing the efficiency of the judicial system while ensuring its independence. Improving access to affordable housing remains a key priority in support of greater inclusion. It is imperative to maintain gradual consolidation to ensure a balanced structural budget excluding proceeds from the Individual Investor Program. The IMF staff suggests continuing addressing infrastructure needs while upgrading public investment efficiency. Improve fiscal risk analysis and management.