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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that Lebanon’s economic growth remains subdued. Following a sharp drop in 2011, growth edged upward briefly to 2–3 percent, but has now slowed again. The IMF staff estimates that GDP increased by 1 percent in 2015, and a similar growth rate in 2016 is projected. Lebanon’s traditional growth drivers—tourism, real estate, and construction—have received a significant blow and a strong rebound is unlikely based on current trends. In the absence of a turnaround in confidence, or a resolution of the Syrian conflict, growth is unlikely to return to potential (4 percent) soon.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Jordan has made significant progress since the 2014 Article IV Consultation but pressing challenges remain. The gradual pick-up in growth from 2010 to 2014 ended in 2015, with real GDP growth decelerating from 2.4 percent in 2015 to 2 percent in 2016. Labor market conditions have remained challenging, particularly for youth and women, with the unemployment rate increasing to 15.8 percent in the second half of 2016. Despite considerable progress and recent improvements, the outlook remains challenging. Real GDP growth is projected to reach 2.3 percent in 2017, while inflation is expected to stabilize at about 2.5 percent by year-end.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the 2008 Article IV Consultation of the Syrian Arab Republic on economic developments and policies is discussed. The impact of adverse global and regional developments currently under way on the Syrian economy is expected to be relatively moderate in the short term. The effects are likely to be through weakening FDI, remittances, and demand for Syrian exports from the Gulf region. The positive outlook is contingent on perseverance in advancing fiscal and structural reforms and an improvement in global conditions over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context: The economy is being severely tested by the Syria crisis. The refugee influx has reached one quarter of the population, fueling already high unemployment and poverty. The political impasse from the presidential elections—following months of negotiations over a new government—adds to the uncertainty. The economy is meanwhile suffering from a broad-based deterioration, with subdued growth and widening fiscal imbalances. Public debt is on the rise. Progress on structural reforms has been limited. On the positive side, deposit inflows have held up and foreign exchange reserves are sizeable; and security conditions have significantly improved, lifting tourism prospects. Key challenges: There is an urgent need for fiscal adjustment to achieve a sustainable debt reduction, and structural reforms to boost growth and address social inequities. Key policy recommendations: • Fiscal policy. The immediate priority is to stop the fiscal deterioration and return to primary surpluses, to avoid a possible loss of market confidence and put debt on a sustainable path. The consolidation strategy should minimize the impact of a planned salary increase for the public sector; include broad-based and non- distortionary revenue measures; and rebalance expenditure away from electricity transfers toward capital and social spending, to promote inclusive growth. Passing a budget for 2014 would help anchor confidence. Fiscal management should be strengthened and anchored in a medium-term perspective. • Monetary policy. The Banque du Liban (BdL) should continue to maintain high foreign exchange reserves as a buffer and signal of commitment to macro-financial stability. It should gradually withdraw from T-bill auctions, and adopt a strategy to improve its balance sheet over time. • Financial sector. Capital buffers should be strengthened, and the loan classification and restructuring rules and the AML/CFT regime further enhanced. • Structural reforms. Reforms in the electricity sector and the labor market are imperative to address current competitiveness pressures, lay the foundations for higher-productivity growth, and improve social conditions. • Refugee crisis. Lebanon cannot shoulder the costs of the massive inflow of Syrian refugees alone, and international budget support is needed. Strong government commitment to adjustment and reforms—along with a concerted policy framework to deal with the refugee crisis—would bolster credibility and help mobilize support.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The Syrian crisis and the associated inflow of refugees continue to dominate Lebanon’s short-term outlook, compounding long-standing policy weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Political paralysis has set in, with virtually no progress on the structural front. Growth has remained modest and insufficient to make a dent in rising poverty and unemployment. A welcome improvement in the primary fiscal position in 2014 was largely due to temporary factors, and will not be sustained absent adjustment efforts—implying that, without additional effort, Lebanon’s already-sizable public debt burden will only worsen. Financial conditions have nonetheless remained stable, as deposit inflows continue to fund the economy and sizeable buffers support the credibility of the exchange rate peg.
International Monetary Fund
This 2007 Article IV Consultation highlights that over the past three years, Syria has recovered from a half decade of weak growth, notwithstanding an unsettled regional environment and a sharp drop in oil production. The economic recovery has gained momentum, benefiting from inflows from Iraqi refugees and abundant liquidity in the Gulf region. Private investment has strengthened owing to an improved business climate, and exports have made strong gains, particularly in some Arab markets. The near-term outlook for growth and inflation is favorable.
International Monetary Fund
In March 2009, the Fund established a new Framework Administered Account to administer external financial resources for selected Fund activities (the "SFA Instrument"). The financing of activities under the terms of the SFA Instrument is implemented through the establishment and operation of a subaccount within the SFA. This paper requests Executive Board approval to establish the METAC subaccount under the terms of the SFA Instrument. Management has engaged in discussions with member countries in the Middle East region as well as donors on regional needs in capacity building, training and related activities. Because METAC has a proven track record to provide focused, flexible, and responsive technical assistance (TA) in a cost-effective manner, both beneficiary countries of METAC and interested donors are supportive to continue the Fund’s involvement in this regard. The center’s activities will continue to focus on the following key areas representing common policy challenges to member countries, including those related to increased regional integration: (i) revenue administration; (ii) public financial management; (iii) banking supervision; and (iv) economic and financial statistics.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This paper provides background for an initial discussion under the Fifteenth General Review of Quotas (15th Review) in line with the work plan agreed by the Executive Board. It discusses issues related to further reforms of the quota formula and realigning quota shares, based on updated quota data through 2015. A companion paper, to be discussed separately, will address issues related to the size of the Fund and mix of quota and borrowed resources. Both these papers seek to facilitate initial discussions on some of the key issues for the 15th Review. No proposals are made at this stage, recognizing that further deliberations will be needed before the issues under discussion can begin to be narrowed down.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, and International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This paper provides background for a further round of discussions on the Fifteenth General Review of Quotas (hereafter 15th Review). The paper builds on work presented in previous staff papers and Directors’ views expressed in three meetings of the Committee of the Whole in September 2017 and February 2018. No proposals are presented at this stage, pending further Board guidance on possible approaches to narrowing the current differences of views.