Abdullah Al-Hassan, Imen Benmohamed, Aidyn Bibolov, Giovanni Ugazio, and Ms. Tian Zhang
The Gulf Cooperation Council region faced a significant economic toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks in 2020. Policymakers responded to the pandemic with decisive and broad measures to support households and businesses and mitigate the long-term impact on the economy. Financial vulnerabilities have been generally contained, reflecting ongoing policy support and the rebound in economic activity and oil prices, as well as banks entering the COVID-19 crisis with strong capital, liquidity, and profitability. The banking systems remained well-capitalized, but profitability and asset quality were adversely affected. Ongoing COVID-19 policy support could also obscure deterioration in asset quality. Policymakers need to continue to strike a balance between supporting recovery and mitigating risks to financial stability, including ensuring that banks’ buffers are adequate to withstand prolonged pandemic and withdrawal of COVID-related policy support measures. Addressing data gaps would help policymakers to further assess vulnerabilities and mitigate sectoral risks.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the macroeconomic conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have remained stable. BiH has made progress in reducing internal and external imbalances in recent years, thanks to a prudent fiscal position, and a strong monetary anchor provided by the currency board. However, job creation has been limited, unemployment has remained high, particularly among the youth, and the income convergence with the European Union has stalled. Fiscal stability has been maintained, mainly through continued restraint on current government spending. Progress in improving budget composition has been limited and reforms of state enterprises have not progressed as envisaged.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
The staff paper for the Third Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement on Paraguay focuses on the macroeconomic framework and medium-term scenario, risks, and capacity to repay the IMF. There have been delays in implementing some structural measures, especially related to the approval of banking legislation, owing to a shift in the political environment and congressional delays. Macroeconomic performance has been better than envisaged under the program. The authorities have adopted a new strategy involving a two-stage approach that they believe is politically feasible to achieve but will require more time to implement.
This paper discusses Bosnia and Herzegovina’s request for an Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility. Growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina was 3.2 percent in 2015, despite fiscal consolidation as a result of financing constraints, and is expected to be about the same in 2016. The authorities adopted a comprehensive reform agenda in early 2015 that aims to address tepid growth and high unemployment in a sustainable manner. Given the commitment by the authorities at all levels to steadfastly implement their program and to adjust policies as circumstances change, the IMF staff expects the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to progress in dealing with its present challenges. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for an extended arrangement.
This paper evaluates observance of the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision in the Russian Federation. The legal framework currently in place provides the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) with necessary powers and responsibilities. The CBR may authorize banks, conduct ongoing supervision, oversee compliance with laws, and undertake corrective action to address safety and soundness. Major new reforms increase many aspects of the CBR’s duties and powers, although implementation has not yet been tested in all cases. The Russian licensing regime for banks appears exhaustive. However, the legal regime for major acquisitions was found to be weak.
This technical paper focuses on the challenges faced by Paraguay’s budget resources. Paraguay’s government should adopt a forward-looking fiscal strategy. The strategy’s main goals should be to contain budget dependence on Itaipu revenues, preserve fiscal discipline, and allow for the gradual and sustainable transformation of the envisaged, yet temporary, windfall into other forms of financial, physical, and human capital. The creation of a special fund could help mobilize public support for saving part of the windfall and building a buffer for the future.
The Belgian financial system is relatively large, concentrated, and interconnected and has a high level of compliance with the Basel Core Principles (BCPs) for effective banking supervision. The National Bank of Belgium (NBB) deploys high-quality supervisory practices and has clear lines of accountability, transparency, and separate funding when acting in its supervisory capacity. The Belgian authorities have established a Resolution Fund (RF) vesting it with powers to take preventative measures and to facilitate resolution procedures.
During 1996–98, the measured fiscal deficits have substantially underestimated the extent of the fiscal problem in Slovakia. Amid these signs of vulnerability, the present government has assumed office in October 1998, and embarked on policies to restore macroeconomic balances and lay the basis for sustainable economic growth. The fiscal tightening and developments in the nongovernment sector has led to a sharp fall in domestic demand in 1999, but a strong improvement in net trade performance partly offset their impact on aggregate demand.