Country Reports

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October 17, 2019

Lebanon : 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; Informational Annex; and Statement by the Executive Director for Lebanon

Description: Lebanon’s economic position continues to be very difficult, with very low growth, high public debt and large twin deficits. While financial stability has been maintained, deposit inflows, critical to finance the budget and external deficits, slowed down during the past year, reducing the authorities’ room for maneuver. The new government has taken some important policy steps to start the needed policy adjustment, which could help raise confidence among investors and donors. The parliament has approved a plan to reform the electricity sector and reduce its fiscal cost as well as a budget that aims to reduce the overall fiscal deficit in 2019. However, substantial new measures are still needed to reduce the exceptionally large domestic and external imbalances and mitigate Lebanon’s vulnerabilities.

October 17, 2019

Lebanon : Selected Issues

Description: Selected Issues

October 10, 2019

Brunei Darussalam : 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release and Staff Report

Description: Brunei Darussalam’s economy has been adjusting to the lower oil and gas (O&G) prices since 2014, with the authorities undertaking wide-ranging reforms. The reforms aim to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability and intergenerational equity, and to foster economic diversification. Growth is expected to pick up in 2019, with the outlook improving further over the medium term, driven by expansion in the O&G sector and large investment projects. Nonetheless, lower-than-expected O&G prices or production would reduce fiscal revenues and exports, with significant spillovers to the non-O&G sector.

October 10, 2019

Arab Republic of Egypt : Fifth Review Under the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Arab Republic of Egypt

Description: Egypt’s macroeconomic situation has improved significantly since 2016. Over the last three years, the authorities have carried out an ambitious home-grown reform program that aimed to correct large external and domestic imbalance and promote inclusive growth and job creation. Critical macroeconomic reforms implemented under the program have been successful in achieving macroeconomic stabilization, a recovery in growth and employment, and putting public debt on a clearly declining trajectory. Fiscal savings have been partly utilized to ease the burden of adjustment on the poor.

October 7, 2019

Thailand : 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Thailand

Description: Thailand’s robust policy framework and ample buffers continue to underpin its resilience to external headwinds. The authorities have taken measures to strengthen medium-term fiscal management and financial stability. The recent Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) concluded that financial vulnerabilities appear to be contained and that the banking sector is resilient to severe shocks. At the same time, long-standing domestic and external imbalances persist, leaving the economy vulnerable to the global slowdown and trade tensions.

October 7, 2019

Thailand : Financial System Stability Assessment

Description: Banks represent a sizable share of the financial sector in Thailand, but other deposit-taking institutions and NBFIs have grown significantly in the last decade. While assets of banks represented 46 percent of total financial assets at end-2018, the government-owned SFIs and TCCs now play a key role in providing credit to households. Assets of the insurance and mutual fund sectors have doubled as a share of GDP over the last decade, and capital markets are largely on par with regional peers. Financial vulnerabilities appear to be contained, but household indebtedness is relatively high and there are signs of weaknesses in some corporates and SMEs. Weaker-than-expected growth in China and advanced economies, sharp rise in risk premia, and entrenched low inflation would adversely impact the financial system. Despite these risks, the banking sector is resilient to severe shocks. Stress tests results and sensitivity analysis indicate that the largest banks can withstand a shock broadly as severe as the Asian financial crisis. While data is limited, deposit-taking SFIs appear to be vulnerable to asset concentration and interest rate risk. Systemic and contagion risks stemming from interlinkages across banks and nonbanks are limited. Risk analysis could benefit from data improvements, including on liquidity and SFIs, and from the development of tools to assess concentration risk at an entity level.

October 3, 2019

Albania : Technical Assistance Report–Monetary and Financial Statistics and Financial Accounts Mission

Description: In response to a request from the Bank of Albania (BOA) and with the support of the IMF’s European Department, a monetary and financial statistics (MFS) and financial accounts technical assistance (TA) mission visited Albania during April 15–26, 2019.1 The main objectives of the mission were to work with the staff of the BOA on (i) compiling and disseminating flow-based MFS for the central bank, other depository corporations (ODCs), and other financial corporations (OFCs); (ii) compiling and disseminating quarterly financial accounts by institutional sectors; and (iii) developing a from-whom/to-whom matrix for financial instruments. The mission also worked with the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) to explore its current compilation of, and future plans for, sectoral current and capital accounts.

October 1, 2019

Georgia : Technical Assistance Report-External Sector Statistics Mission

Description: An external sector statistics (ESS) technical assistance (TA) mission visited the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) in Tbilisi, Georgia, during May 6–10, 2019. It was undertaken at the request of Geostat and was a follow up to the TA mission conducted in November 2016. The main objectives of the mission were to assess the Geostat’s progress in the area of external sector statistics (ESS) and provide further recommendations on improving the data collection and compilation for producing the financial account components, including direct investment statistics, in an integrated format. Additionally, the mission worked closely with the National Bank of Georgia (NBG)—the institution in charge of compilation of balance of payments, international investment position (IIP), and external debt statistics—on issues related to reconciliation between the data provided by the Geostat with compiled ESS datasets.

September 25, 2019

Greece : Staff Report for the 1999 Article IV Consultation

Description: In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.

Notes: Included with the Staff Report are the text of Public Information Notice No. 99/102--IMF Concludes Article IV Consultation with Greece and a Statement by John Spraos, Executive Director, on October 20, 1999.

September 25, 2019

Republic of Moldova : Fourth and Fifth Reviews Under the Extended Credit Facility and Extended Fund Facility Arrangements, Completion of the Inflation Consultation, and Request for Extension of the Arrangements and Rephasing of Access-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Republic of Moldova

Description: The economy continued to strengthen. Robust growth in 2018 was propelled by infrastructure and private investments, while private consumption continued to expand into 2019, supported by growing real incomes and bank lending recovery. Inflation slowed in 2018, but pressures are building up. The labor market improved significantly, with strengthening labor force participation, employment growth, and falling unemployment.

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