This paper discusses key findings of the First Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement for Macedonia. Macroeconomic performance of Macedonia remains strong. Through end-December 2005, the authorities met all of the program’s quantitative performance criteria. Growth has remained steady at about 4 percent. Gross reserves have risen above €1 billion, allowing interest rates on National Bank of Macedonia bills to fall since November from 10 percent to 7 percent. To complete the First Review, the authorities have committed to strong policies, including measures to correct for delays in the program’s structural reforms.
During 1996–98, the measured fiscal deficits have substantially underestimated the extent of the fiscal problem in Slovakia. Amid these signs of vulnerability, the present government has assumed office in October 1998, and embarked on policies to restore macroeconomic balances and lay the basis for sustainable economic growth. The fiscal tightening and developments in the nongovernment sector has led to a sharp fall in domestic demand in 1999, but a strong improvement in net trade performance partly offset their impact on aggregate demand.
Paraguay’s Fifth Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement and Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria are discussed. The overall fiscal position remains in surplus, the exchange rate weakened slightly with respect to the U.S. dollar, but considerably with respect to the Brazilian real, and international reserves continue to rise. There have been delays in implementing the structural reform agenda. The authorities need to maintain momentum and deepen the structural agenda to reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen institutions, and lay the basis for growth.
The staff paper for the Third Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement on Paraguay focuses on the macroeconomic framework and medium-term scenario, risks, and capacity to repay the IMF. There have been delays in implementing some structural measures, especially related to the approval of banking legislation, owing to a shift in the political environment and congressional delays. Macroeconomic performance has been better than envisaged under the program. The authorities have adopted a new strategy involving a two-stage approach that they believe is politically feasible to achieve but will require more time to implement.