Mozambique’s economic situation had been improving until Tropical Cyclone Idai and Kenneth hit the country in March and April, respectively. Economic growth was recovering gradually and becoming broader based, and inflation reached low single digits. Economic activity is expected to decelerate sharply in 2019 due to the supply shock to productive capacity, but it should rebound to pre-cyclone levels by 2020. In April, the IMF Executive Board approved US$118 million in emergency assistance under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The authorities are committed to macroeconomic stability while fostering inclusive growth and addressing governance challenges.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that growth in Mozambique decelerated in 2016 to 3.8 percent (from 6.6 percent in 2015). The latest data show that the economy grew by 3.7 percent in 2017, driven by a recovery in agriculture and mining activity. A tight monetary stance, coupled with exchange rate appreciation, led to a steep fall in inflation to 6.3 percent (year-over-year) in January 2018, from a peak of 26 percent in November 2016. The outlook remains challenging. Absent further policy action, real GDP growth is expected to further decline over time while inflation would remain at current levels. The fiscal deficit would expand, leading to further accumulation of public debt and crowding out of the private sector.
This Selected Issues paper documents the main features of the current monetary policy regime in Mozambique, describe ongoing structural policy changes announced by the central bank, and analyze the main challenges facing the central bank in the process to modernize its monetary policy framework. Recognizing the signaling value of interest rates to anchor inflation expectations and help influence market interest rates, the paper usefully focuses on the needed reforms to enable the central bank to successfully replace monetary aggregates by interest rate as the main instrument of monetary policy. Deepening the understanding of the obstacles on the way to a smooth monetary transmission, further building the central bank inflation forecasting capacity, strengthening the coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, enhancing central bank communications and modernizing the legal framework to ensure central bank operational autonomy are essential to the success of the new monetary regime. Importantly, the presence of a committed and strong technical team and a reform-oriented management should greatly facilitate the implementation of these vital central bank reforms.