We find that countries which are able to borrow at spreads that seem low given fundamentals (for example because investors take a bullish view on a country's future), are more likely to develop economic difficulties later on. We obtain this result through a two-stage procedure, where a first regression links sovereign spreads to fundamentals, after which residuals from this regression are deployed in a second stage to assess their impact on future outcomes (real GDP growth and the occurrence of fiscal crises). We confirm the relevance of past sovereign debt mispricing in several out-of-sample exercises, where they reduce the RMSE of real GDP growth forecasts by as much as 15 percent. This provides strong support for theories of sentiment affecting the business cycle. Our findings also suggest that countries shouldn't solely rely on spread levels when determining their fiscal strategy; underlying fundamentals should inform policy as well, since historical relationships between spreads and fundamentals often continue to apply in the medium-to-long run.
This paper discusses Republic of Mozambique’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Mozambique is expected to be significantly affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, dashing prospects of a nascent economic recovery following two powerful tropical cyclones that struck in 2019. The IMF’s emergency financial support under the RCF, along with the additional donor grant financing it will help to catalyze, will contribute to addressing Mozambique’s urgent balance of payments needs generated by the pandemic. The authorities are committed to prevent corruption and misuse of emergency financing, by strengthening transparency and accountability. In this connection, they will publish large public procurement contracts and conduct and publish ex-post audits of funds’ use. Once the pandemic eases, it will be critical to resume fiscal consolidation and strengthened debt management and transparency to ensure that public debt remains sustainable. It will also be important to implement structural reforms to support inclusive and sustainable growth.
Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis that threatens to throw the region off its stride, reversing the encouraging development progress of recent years. Furthermore, by exacting a heavy human toll, upending livelihoods, and damaging business and government balance sheets, the crisis threatens to retard the region’s growth prospects in the years to come. Previous crises tended to impact affect countries in the region differentially, but no country will be spared this time.