International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The transitional government embarked on an IMF-supported Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) in 2020 to help address major macroeconomic imbalances caused by decades of mismanagement, lay the groundwork for inclusive growth, and establish a track record of sound policies required for eventual HIPC debt relief. The challenges facing the authorities remain significant, but there have been improvements in both the domestic and external environment. International efforts to support Sudan have gained momentum and were bolstered by the removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSTL), and the identification of bridge financiers for Sudan’s arrears clearance to IDA and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Meanwhile, the government has moved forward on important structural reforms, and on February 8, 2021 the signatories to the October peace agreement were brought into a newly formed cabinet which reaffirmed its commitment to the economic reform program.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This paper is the sixth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income countries (LICs). LICs are defined in this report as the countries eligible to PRGT facilities (69 countries). The first section of the paper discusses recent macroeconomic developments and trends across LICs. The second section estimates LICs’ financing needs up to 2025 to resume and accelerate their income convergence with advanced economies (AEs). It does this by estimating the additional financing that would enable LICs to step up spending response to COVID, including vaccination needs, while rebuilding or keeping external buffers to enhance resilience, and then the paper considers the financing needed to allow LICs to accelerate convergence with AEs. The paper then discusses a mix of financing options, including concessional financing from the international financial institutions, grants and loans from bilateral donors, private financing and debt operations, but also domestic reforms within LICs themselves as a key component to foster growth, enhance private investment, raise public revenues, and increase efficiency of spending.
On October 30, 2020, the IMF’s Executive Board reviewed the adequacy of the Fund’s precautionary balances. Precautionary balances, comprising the Fund’s general and special reserves and the Special Contingent Account (SCA-1), are one element of the IMF’s multi-layered framework for managing financial risks. These balances provide a buffer to protect the Fund against potential losses, resulting from credit, income, and other financial risks. This review of the adequacy of the Fund’s precautionary balances took place on the standard two-year cycle, although it was delayed by a few months to allow for an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Fund financial risks. In conducting the review, the Executive Board applied the rules-based framework agreed in 2010.
Some central banks have maintained overvalued official exchange rates, while unable to ensure that supply of foreign exchange meets legitimate demand for current account transactions at that price. A parallel exchange rate market develops, in such circumstances; and when the spread between the official and parallel rates is both substantial and sustained, price levels in the economy typically reflect the parallel market exchange rate. “Recognizing reality” by allowing economic agents to use a market clearing rate benefits economic activity without necessarily leading to more inflation. But a unified, market-clearing exchange rate will not stabilize without a supportive fiscal and monetary context. A number of country case studies are included; my thanks to Jie Ren for pulling together all the data for the country case studies, and the production of the charts.
When analyzing terms-of-trade shocks, it is implicitly assumed that the economy responds symmetrically to changes in export and import prices. Using a sample of developing countries our paper shows that this is not the case. We construct export and import price indices using commodity and manufacturing price data matched with trade shares and separately identify export price, import price, and global economic activity shocks using sign and narrative restrictions. Taken together, export and import price shocks account for around 40 percent of output fluctuations but export price shocks are, on average, twice as important as import price shocks for domestic business cycles.