Mr. Mark A Horton, Hossein Samiei, Mr. Natan P. Epstein, and Mr. Kevin Ross
Since late 2014, exchange rates (ERs) and ER regimes of the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries have come under strong pressure. This reflects the decline of oil and other commodity prices, weaker growth in Russia and China, depreciation of the Russian ruble, and appreciation of the U.S. dollar, to which CCA currencies have historically been linked. Weaker fiscal and current account balances and increased dollarization have complicated the picture. CCA countries entered this period with closely managed ER regimes and, in many cases, currencies assessed by IMF staff to be overvalued. CCA central banks have price stability as their main policy objective, and most have relied on ER stability to achieve this objective. Thus, the first policy response involved intervention in local foreign exchange (FX) markets, often with limited communication. In this context, the IMF staff has reviewed ER policy advice and implementation strategies for CCA countries.
The centerpiece of the program is fiscal consolidation, to put Georgia on a path to fiscal sustainability, establish the ability of the government to meet its commitments, and underpin efforts to resolve the large external debt burden. Expenditure restraint should be complemented by reforms to increase fiscal transparency and strengthen expenditure monitoring and control. Maintaining low inflation and a stable exchange rate is required. Combating corruption and improving governance will be the key to attracting the investment needed to ensure strong, sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
This paper provides an overview of recent economic developments in Georgia. The country has made significant, but incomplete, progress toward establishing the rule of law. The rapid accumulation of wage and social transfers arrears is one of the factors of the worsening poverty. The banking sector reforms have started to yield positive results, particularly with regard to banking system consolidation. The energy sector exchange, trade and payments systems, tax summary, and statistical data on the economic indices of Georgia are presented in the paper.
This paper reviews economic developments in the Republic of Armenia during 1995–96. Stabilization and economic growth continued in 1995 and 1996. Official estimates indicate that real GDP increased by 6.9 percent in 1995 and by 4.3 percent during the first six months of 1996 compared with the same period of the preceding year. The trade sector grew by 75 percent in 1995 and 18.5 percent during the first six months of 1996, increasing its share in GDP from 4 percent in 1994 to 9 percent in 1996.
Georgia's medium-term economic goals are to reestablish fiscal and external sustainability and reduce poverty. The conduct of monetary policy has remained sound. Fiscal consolidation has been supported by important measures to strengthen public expenditure management and improve fiscal transparency. Measures to combat corruption, restructure the energy sector, and privatize key enterprises must be accelerated in order to underpin faster growth and poverty reduction. Georgia's efforts to restore its solvency will require continued international support, including further concessional lending and external debt rescheduling.
This paper describes economic developments in the Republic of Armenia during 1990s. The lagged effects of the more expansionary stance of late 1996, combined with real shocks in early 1997, especially poor weather, and a loss in the momentum in structural reform, particularly privatization, led to a slowdown in growth to about 3 percent during the first nine months of 1997 compared with the same period in 1996. Inflation, measured by the 12-month increase in consumer prices, rose to 23 percent by end-September 1997 from 16½ percent a year earlier.
This paper reviews economic developments in the Republic of Armenia during the 1990s. Real GDP declined by a cumulative 60 percent in 1992–93; price changes reached hyperinflation levels in late 1993; and real wages declined by nearly 50 percent in the course of that year. In the fall of 1994, the authorities formulated a comprehensive program of stabilization and structural reform that was supported in December 1994 by a first purchase under the Systemic Transformation Facility.
Ukraine has made impressive progress in restructuring and stabilizing its economy over the past two years, and yet much remains to be done to revive output and establish a market economy. The 16 papers included in this volume, edited by Peter K. Cornelius and Patrick Lenain, were presented at a seminar sponsored by the IMF and the World Bank in July 1996, which brought together government officials, academics, and staffs of international organizations to discuss a comprehensive medium- term strategy for Ukraine. The papers cover the medium-term macroeconomic framework; wages, poverty, and social safety net reform; private sector development; trade policies and sectoral reforms; and institution building and good governance.