FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – February 17, 2021: The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Kosovo.
Kosovo has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite policy support, economic activity is estimated to have fallen 6 percent in 2020 on account of the combined effect of strict domestic containment measures and international travel restrictions.
The fiscal deficit increased to 7.7 percent of GDP, given the large fall in tax revenues and the implementation of mitigation and recovery measures of 4.2 percent of GDP. The current account deficit is estimated to have increased to 7.5 percent of GDP mainly due to a large decline in diaspora-related inflows, most notably in tourism. Gross international reserves declined but remain adequate in part due to the purchase under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) in April 2020 and the use of other external financing. Banks have weathered the recession well to date, and the high pre-COVID19 liquidity levels and ample capital buffers bode well for the system’s stability.
Economic activity is forecast to rebound by 4.5 percent in 2021 supported by continued fiscal stimulus, and the projected gradual relaxation of containment measures. The outlook remains subject to large uncertainty, and depends on the evolution of the pandemic, the speed of vaccinations, and political developments. The pandemic is expected to leave long-lasting scars. While nominal GDP is projected to return to pre-crisis levels by 2022, it will remain below the pre-crisis trend for a protracted period. A stronger implementation of structural reforms could mitigate these longer-term effects.
Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.IMF.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.