International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) have recorded significant macroeconomic achievements since independence. These countries have grown more rapidly-—on average by 7 percent over 1996–2011—-than those in many other regions of the world and poverty has declined. Inflation has come down sharply from high rates in the 1990s and interest rates have fallen. Financial sectors have deepened somewhat, as evidenced by higher deposits and lending. Fiscal policies were broadly successful in building buffers prior to the global crisis and those buffers were used effectively by many CCA countries to support growth and protect the most vulnerable as the crisis washed across the region. CCA oil and gas exporters have achieved significant improvements in living standards with the use of their energy wealth.
Mr. Edward R Gemayel, Ms. Lorraine Ocampos, Matteo Ghilardi, and Mr. James Aylward
Since 2014, large and persistent external shocks have hit the CCA region, particularly a slump in global commodity prices and slower growth in its key economic partners. Fiscal accommodation, along with currency adjustment, has helped the CCA mitigate the impact of the external shocks. However, amid weakening revenues, increased public spending has widened budget deficits, weakened external balances, and increased public debts.
Fiscal policy and strengthening fiscal frameworks must play a central role in helping build buffers and ensuring debt sustainability while supporting growth. This requires (1) tightening fiscal policies to reduce deficits to help restore external balance and fiscal sustainability, (2) strengthening tax systems and tax collection and tilting expenditure toward a more productive and growth-enhancing composition, and (3) implementing public financial management reforms and strengthening fiscal institutions, including through fiscal rules.
Economic activity in Tajikistan continues to recover from the global crisis, but a range of vulnerabilities remain. Real GDP grew at an estimated 7.5 percent through the first nine months of 2011. The political environment appears broadly stable, but there are underlying tensions. The worst of the food and fuel price shocks has been weathered without civil unrest, partly owing to measures to ensure supplies, higher remittances, and a general understanding by the population that remedies are limited given resource constraints.
This paper discusses Ex Post Assessment of Longer-Term Program Engagement for the Republic of Tajikistan. The assessment reveals that Tajikistan’s macroeconomic performance during 1998–2005 has been robust, albeit with occasional lapses. Economic growth during this period has far exceeded program projections, but inflation performance has been at times volatile, and often overshot program targets. Macroeconomic stabilization was mainly driven by a strong fiscal consolidation. In contrast, monetary policy has occasionally undermined inflation performance. Initial progress in implementing structural reforms was uneven.
The Russian economy has improved after the recession, but recovery is fragile. Executive Directors appreciated the pre-crisis policy of taxing and saving oil revenues in a stabilization fund, which had created significant space for fiscal expansion, monetary easing, and extraordinary liquidity support to the banking system while helping to prevent an abrupt ruble depreciation. Directors agreed that the main challenges will be to implement medium-term fiscal consolidation, mitigate pressures for real appreciation and inflation, restore the health of the banking system, and improve the investment climate through ambitious structural reforms.
Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, and Mr. Andrew Berg
What are the relative roles of macroeconomic variables, structural policies, and initial conditions in explaining the time path of output in transition and the large observed differences in output performance across transition economies? Using a sample of 26 countries, this paper follows a general-to-specific modeling approach that allows for differential effects of policies and initial conditions on the private and state sectors and for time-dependent effects of initial conditions. While showing some fragility to model specification, the results point to the preeminence of structural reforms over both initial conditions and macroeconomic variables in explaining cross-country differences in performance and the timing of the recovery.