International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
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.
Guyana’s residential real estate prices have been rising, particularly in the capital city Georgetown, following the discovery of oil in 2015. In line with the growing demand for housing, commercial banks’ housing loans have increased, prompting higher household debt. This paper presents two analyses which suggest that housing prices in Georgetown and banks’ lending to the housing sector appear to be in their early stages of growth. However, given the data limitations and caveats that underpin the analyses, the findings could also indicate early signals of possible risks. Further data collection would support surveillance and deeper studies. At the same time, enhancing prudential measures would help safeguard financial and macroeconomic stability. These include strengthening the monitoring of the housing market, bank lending practices and household debt, as well as fortifying the macroprudential framework, including with more effective toolkits for early intervention.
This paper estimates the size of the underground economy in Pakistan and analyzes its impact on Government fiscal position and the allocation of economic resources in the national economy. The results suggest that there is a mutual dependency between the size of the underground economy and fiscal deficits, and show a leakage from the national income-expenditure cycle in the formal economy to the underground economy via private investments. Finally, the paper proposes long- and short-run policies to reduce the size of the underground economy.
This paper undertakes an investigation into the efficiency of the crude oil futures market and the forecasting accuracy of futures prices. Efficiency of the market is analysed in terms of the expected excess returns to speculation in the futures market. Accuracy of futures prices is compared with that of forecasts using alternative techniques, including time series and econometric models, as well as judgemental forecasts. The paper also explores the predictive power of futures prices by comparing the forecasting accuracy of end-of-month prices with weekly and monthly averages, using a variety of different weighting schemes. Finally, the paper investigates whether the forecasts from using futures prices can be improved by incorporating information from other forecasting techniques.