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.
Sophia Chen, Mrs. Paola Ganum, Lucy Qian Liu, Mr. Leonardo Martinez, and Mr. Maria Soledad Martinez Peria
The maturity structure of debt can have financial and real consequences. Short-term debt exposes borrowers to rollover risk (where the terms of financing are renegotiated to the detriment of the borrower) and is associated with financial crises. Moreover, debt maturity can have an impact on the ability of firms to undertake long-term productive investments and, as a result, affect economic activity. The aim of this paper is to examine the evolution and determinants of debt maturity and to characterize differences across countries.
Nazim Belhocine, Ernesto Crivelli, Ms. Nan Geng, Tiberiu Scutaru, Mr. Johannes Wiegand, and Zaijin Zhan
The demands on monetary and exchange rate regimes in CESEE have evolved, in line with the region’s development. In the 1990s, the immediate challenge was to rein in excessive inflation following transition, and to establish basic monetary order. These objectives have been achieved, owing largely to successful exchange rate–based stabilization. With this accomplished, the focus has shifted to cyclical monetary management, and to appropriately managing monetary conditions during CESEE’s growth and income convergence to the euro area.
Flexible exchange rates—and the ensuing capacity of monetary conditions to adapt to the economies’ needs—are likely to remain advantages, especially to extent that CESEE’s GDP and income levels will resume convergence to the euro area. Once this process restarts, tighter monetary conditions will again be needed to limit goods and asset price inflation, and to contain growth imbalances.
Olivier Basdevant, Chikako Baba, and Miss Borislava Mircheva
Swaziland has faced a significant fiscal crisis since 2010, in the wake of loss of transfers from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The fiscal crisis has led to increasing vulnerabilities, not only of public finances but also on commercial banks and the private sector. This paper provides an analysis of Swaziland's main macroeconomic vulnerabilities and the main policy implications of the analysis.
This paper examines the challenges and policy options after hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. The paper reviews the pros and cons of alternative monetary regimes for Zimbabwe to succeed the current multicurrency system, which the authorities consider a temporary arrangement. The analysis suggests that some form of official dollarization has significant advantages. The paper also assesses competitiveness and external sustainability in debt-distressed Zimbabwe. It also makes a case for creating fiscal space for growth and development in post-hyperinflation Zimbabwe.
Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.
This paper analyzes the impact of the global financial crisis on the banking systems in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and their responses to it, using information from banking system balance sheets. The paper undertakes two distinct analyses. In the first analysis, the focus is on the trend in intersectoral balances and positions in the long run, using annual data for 2001–08. The second analysis uses monthly data for December 2007–May 2009 to determine how intersectoral balance sheets adjusted in the short run to sudden changes in the economic environment during the recent global financial crisis.
Mr. Masahiro Nozaki, Mr. Tobias Roy, Mr. Pawel Dyczewski, Mr. Bernhard Fritz-Krockow, Ms. Fanny M Torres Gavela, Mr. Gamal Z El-Masry, and Mr. Rafael A Portillo
This paper analyzes the economic growth and stability in Suriname. The paper highlights that in recent years, the outlook has turned substantively more positive. The favorable external environment and the stability-oriented policies of the Venetian administration have boosted confidence in the economy, leading to increased investment, domestic economic activity, and employment. The recent boom in commodity prices has helped boost growth, while increased gold production and investment in the mineral industry are projected to support continued growth in the coming years.
Mr. Paulo Drummond, Mr. Ari Aisen, Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Ejona Fuli, and Mr. Sébastien Walker
This paper examines how susceptible East African Community (EAC) economies are to asymmetric shocks, assesses the value of the exchange rate as a shock absorber for these countries, and reviews adjustment mechanisms that would help ensure a successful experience under a common currency. The report draws on analysis of recent experiences and examines likely future changes in the EAC economies.
Mr. Mauro Mecagni, Mr. Juan S Corrales, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, Patrick A. Imam, Mr. Justin Matz, Ms. Carla Macario, Mr. Rodolfo Maino, Mr. Yibin Mu, Ashwin Moheeput, Mr. Futoshi Narita, Mr. Marco Pani, Mr. Manuel Rosales Torres, Mr. Sebastian Weber, and Mr. Etienne B Yehoue
Dollarization—the use of foreign currencies as a medium of exchange, store of value, or unit of account—is a notable feature of financial development under macroeconomically fragile conditions. It has emerged as a key factor explaining vulnerabilities and currency crises, which have long been observed in Latin America, parts of Asia, and Eastern Europe. Dollarization is also present, prominently, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where it remains significant and persistent at over 30 percent rates for both bank loans and deposits—although it has not increased significantly since 2001. However, progress in reducing dollarization has lagged behind other regions and, in this regard, it is legitimate to ask whether this phenomenon is an important concern in SSA. This study fills a gap in the literature by analyzing these issues with specific reference to the SSA region on the basis of the evidence for the past decade.