This chapter was prepared by Kamil Dybczak, Carlos Mulas Granados, and Ezgi Ozturk with inputs from Vizhdan Boranova, Karim Foda, Keiko Honjo, Raju Huidrom, Nemanja Jovanovic and Svitlana Maslova, under the supervision of Jörg Decressin and the guidance of Gabriel Di Bella. Jaewoo Lee and Petia Topalova provided useful advice and comments. Nomelie Veluz provided administrative support. This chapter reflects data and developments as of September 28, 2020.
Bertrand Gruss (co-lead), Carlos Mulas-Granados, Manasa Pat-nam (co-lead), and Sebastian Weber prepared this chapter under the supervision of Enrica Detragiache and the guidance of Jeffrey Franks. Zan Jin provided excellent research support.
Christian Ebeke (co-lead), Nemanja Jovanovic, Svitlana Maslova, Francisco Parodi, Laura Valderrama (co-lead), Svetlana Vtyurina, and Jing Zhou prepared this chapter under the supervision of Mahmood Pradhan and the guidance of Laura Papi and Petia Topalova. Jörg Decressin provided useful advice and comments. Jankeesh Sandhu provided outstanding research assistance, and Nomelie Veluz was expertly in charge of administrative support.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis led to a surge in government debt and financing needs as many countries in the Middle East and Central Asia reacted swiftly to mitigate the pandemic’s impact. Although several of these countries successfully accessed international financial markets, domestic banks covered a significant share of emerging markets’ financing needs, further expanding their already significant exposure to the public sector. By contrast, most low-income countries (LICs) had a small response to the crisis because of financing and policy space constraints. Looking ahead, public gross financing needs in most emerging markets in the Middle East and Central Asia are expected to remain elevated in 2021–22, with downside risks in the event of tighter global financial conditions and/or if fiscal consolidation is delayed due to weaker-than-expected recovery. However, further reliance on domestic financing will reduce banks’ ability to support the private sector’s emergence from the crisis, thus prolonging the recovery. Credible medium-term fiscal and debt management strategies, together with policy actions to develop domestic capital markets and mitigate banks’ overexposure to the sovereign would reduce financing risks, address the elevated debt burdens, and entrench financial stability.
Thilo Kroeger, Anh Thi Ngoc Nguyen, Yuanyan Sophia Zhang, Pham Dinh Thuy, Nguyen Huy Minh, and Duong Danh Tuan
The paper uses firm-level data to assess the financial health of the Vietnamese non-financial corporate sector on the eve of pandemic. Our analysis finds that smaller domestic firms were particularly vulnerable even by regional comparison. A sensitivity analysis suggests that the COVID-19 shock will have a substantial impact on firms’ profitability, liquidity and even solvency, particularly in the hardest hit sectors that are dominated by SMEs and account for a sizeable employment share, but large firms are not immune to the crisis. Risks of default can propagate more broadly through upstream and downstream linkages to industries not directly impacted, with stresses potentially translating into an increase in corporate bankruptcies and bank fragility. Policy measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the crisis have helped alleviate liquidity pressures, but the nature of policy support may have to pivot to support the recovery.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened. Real GDP is projected to contract by 8.1 percent in 2020, followed by a mild recovery in 2021 reflecting persistent spread of the virus and associated social distancing and scarring. Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside, and uncertainty about the pandemic’s evolution is a key source of risk. Containing the spread of the virus and addressing the health crisis remain the key policy priorities. In countries where lockdowns still hamper activity, policies should focus on ensuring that firms have sufficient liquidity, and on protecting employment and income, while developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to safeguard debt sustainability. In countries that are easing lockdowns, efforts should focus on supporting the recovery, including through structural reforms. Once the pandemic is under control, and the recovery is on a strong footing, fiscal policy will need to focus on rebuilding buffers. Monetary policy should remain accommodative as long as inflation stays within the target range and inflation expectations are well anchored.