Special Series on COVID-19

Last Updated: July 9, 2020

The Special Series notes are produced by IMF experts to help members address the economic effects of COVID-19. The views expressed in these notes are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

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Fiscal Issues

July 1, 2020

Food Markets During COVID-19

One of the most consequential welfare outcomes arising from COVID-19 could be widespread food insecurity—driven by food supply disruptions, food price spikes, and disrupted livelihoods. This note presents the key issues and implications for expenditure policy.

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July 1, 2020

Budgeting in a Crisis: Guidance for Preparing the 2021 Budget

Preparing the 2021 budget will be challenging for all countries given the unprecedented uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The note discusses how to prepare the next budget cycle in the midst of high uncertainty.

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June 17, 2020

Government Support to State-Owned Enterprises: Options for Sub-Saharan Africa

The pandemic is causing distress for many African state-owned enterprises. This note discusses guiding principles for intervention, how it can be done, and what governance steps are needed. While the focus is on Africa, the principles are applicable across all regions.

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June 10, 2020

Enhancing Digital Solutions to Implement Emergency Responses

The note proposes recommendations to leverage digital solutions, such as financial management information systems and fiscal transparency portals, to meet the PFM objectives of smooth, efficient, and transparent implementation of COVID-19 responses

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May 20, 2020

Budget Execution Controls to Mitigate Corruption Risk in Pandemic Spending

Ensuring that ramped-up spending in response to COVID-19 is effective requires addressing vulnerabilities to misuse and corruption. This note identifies measures to mitigate such vulnerabilities, with a particular focus on budget execution controls.

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May 13, 2020

Managing Public Investment Spending during the Crisis

Managing public investment spending plays a key role in the fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The note discusses two aspects: cuts or postponements in spending in the initial phase, and the scaling up of spending for economic recovery.

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May 13, 2020

Temporary Investment Incentives

Temporary investment incentives can provide investment demand stimulus to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This note describes temporary investment tax incentives and reviews their effectiveness.

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April 29, 2020

Fiscal Rules, Escape Clauses, and Large Shocks

The pandemic and the global economic contraction are putting fiscal rules to the test. Many countries are appropriately activating escape clauses to deviate or suspend the fiscal rules. This should be temporary and done transparently.

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April 29, 2020

Government Cash Management Under Fiscal Stress

Faced with decreasing revenues, constrained access to financial markets and large emergency spending needs, governments should adopt a multipronged approach to cash management to ensure there is adequate liquidity to meet their payment obligations.

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April 29, 2020

Issues When Cutting Government Pay to Help Reshuffle Spending in a Crisis

Spending needs are at an all-time high but many countries lack fiscal space to ramp up spending. Cutting government pay has been put on the table as a temporary measure to help meet urgent needs. This note discusses key issues to consider.

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April 29, 2020

Revenue Administration: Reinvigorating Operations to Safeguard Collection and Compliance

Revenue agencies will have to be ready to restore their operations, safeguard tax collection and recover taxpayers’ compliance to precrisis levels, when COVID-19 spreading is contained and lockdown measures are eased.

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April 29, 2020

Revenue Administration: Safeguarding Revenues for Oil-Producing Countries

COVID-19 is contributing to extreme volatility in crude oil prices. Countries dependent on oil revenues face shortfalls; they should take urgent measures and strengthen revenue administration practices to support the sector while protecting revenues.

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April 20, 2020

Business Continuity for Revenue Administrations

Covid-19 is challenging revenue administrations’ operations; they must act quickly to ensure staff and taxpayer safety while implementing governments’ responses, delivering essential services and safeguarding tax collection.

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April 20, 2020

Challenges in Forecasting Tax Revenue

Forecasting tax revenue during the pandemic is challenging. Standard buoyancy approaches likely overestimate revenues. A disaggregated approach using information on the sector- and tax-specific impact of the pandemic improves forecasts.

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April 20, 2020

Digital Solutions for Direct Cash Transfers in Emergencies

Digital solutions for direct cash transfers help to identify and validate intended beneficiaries, make payments in a timely and secure manner, and ensure transparency and accountability by providing a reliable audit trail and publishing timely data.

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April 20, 2020

Expenditure Policies in Support of Firms and Households

Expenditure policies can help mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic through liquidity support for firms, preserving employment linkages and supporting households. Design is the key to their effectiveness and efficiency.

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April 20, 2020

Greening the Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis won’t have a lasting impact on climate change, but the response will—fiscal policymakers should thus aim to make the recovery green.

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April 20, 2020

Keeping the Receipts: Transparency, Accountability, and Legitimacy in Emergency Responses

Keeping the receipts” (as governments “do what it takes” to support people and firms during the global pandemic and economic downturn) requires strong fiscal transparency, public accountability and institutional legitimacy.

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April 20, 2020

Managing the Impact on Households: Assessing Universal Transfers

Universal transfers can complement existing household income support programs, by reducing temporary or permanent coverage gaps. Their impact will be stronger if a basic delivery system is in place.

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April 20, 2020

Managing the Impacts of the Coronavirus: Guidance on Health Spending Policies

The immediate response to the outbreak should be to increase spending for mitigation and medical treatment. Costs will depend on country-specific factors, e.g. virus exposure, capacity of health systems, and effectiveness of mitigation measures.

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April 20, 2020

Natural Resource Fiscal Regimes: Tax Policy Response

Economy-wide tax measures should also apply to extractive industries hit by lower commodity prices. Only in exceptional cases would additional relief be appropriate.

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April 20, 2020

Priority Measures for Customs Administrations

Covid-19 is challenging customs administrations’ operations; they should take urgent measures to sustain international supply chains and implement governments’ health and economic relief policies while continuing addressing compliance.

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April 20, 2020

Reaching Households in Emerging and Developing Economies: Citizen ID, Socioeconomic Data, and Digital Delivery

Income transfers require a basic data and delivery system—citizen ID, financial inclusion, income data—often missing in LIDCs. Implementation can rely on broadening current schemes, relaxing regulations and using alternative data sources.

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April 8, 2020

Fiscal Policy Responses to the Sharp Decline in Oil Prices

The urgent priority for oil exporters is to deploy existing financial buffers, reprioritize spending, and mobilize new borrowing to address the COVID-19-shock. The short-term policy response would be enhanced by a commitment to preserve fiscal sustainability in the medium term.

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April 6, 2020

Managing Fiscal Risks Under Fiscal Stress

Governments should proactively identify and manage fiscal risks. Policy responses can create new risks and existing contingent liabilities can be more likely to be realized.

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April 6, 2020

Preparing Public Financial Management Systems for Emergency Response Challenges

Complying with legal framework, reprioritizing spending, ensuring liquidity and timely fund disbursement will help enable emergency spending needs.

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April 6, 2020

Public Banks’ Support to Households and Firms

Public banks, through loans and guarantees, can help people and firms pay their bills and keep jobs. Public support should be transparently costed and monitored in budgets.

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April 6, 2020

Public Sector Support to Firms

Timely, targeted, and temporary government support for firms is vital for avoiding disruptive bankruptcies and protecting jobs. The support should be transparently costed and monitored.

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April 6, 2020

Tax and Customs Administration Responses

Revenue agencies must balance temporary relief of tax obligations and government support policies with protecting revenue and safeguarding compliance.

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April 6, 2020

Tax Issues: An Overview

Targeted tax measures can immediately support health priorities, protect individuals and solvent enterprises, and safeguard revenue for the future.

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Legal Topics

June 5, 2020

Private Debt Resolution Measures in the Wake of the Pandemic

COVID-19 has exacerbated over-indebtedness of households and firms around the world and affected the private debt resolution system. This note proposes a strategy identifying key measures for effective private debt resolution in three potential phases.

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Macrocritical Structural Issues

July 1, 2020

Digital Financial Services and the Pandemic: Opportunities and Risks for Emerging and Developing Economies

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing have put a spotlight on digital financial services (DFS). This note explores the opportunities associated with an expansion of DFS in EMDEs and highlights the potential risks associated with their rapid ramping up

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June 22, 2020

Are Macro and Credit Policies Enough?

The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate impact on small businesses. This note argues for the importance of keeping these businesses alive through direct cash transfers conditional on employment and quantifies the cost for the US economy.

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May 20, 2020

Options to Support the Incomes of Informal Workers During COVID-19

This note reviews available options to support informal workers during COVID-19, as well as potential costs and selected financing options. A transfer to cover the basic food and energy needs of all informal workers for two months could cost over 2 and 5 percentage points of annual GDP in the median emerging market and low-income economies, respectively.

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May 7, 2020

Tracking the Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Mitigation Policies in Europe and the United States

High-frequency indicators show a sizeable economic impact of COVID-19 in Europe and the United States. The impact varies by location and is mostly captured by changes in people’s observed mobility, rather than the adoption of mandatory lockdowns.

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April 29, 2020

Options to Support Incomes and Formal Employment During COVID-19

This note reviews policies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on employment. The immediate priority is to preserve jobs and laid-off workers’ incomes, which calls for short-time work subsidies and scaled-up unemployment insurance. As activity resumes, wage and hiring subsidies, as well as activation policies, should play a growing role.

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Monetary and Financial Policies

June 17, 2020

Considerations for Designing Temporary Liquidity Support to Businesses

This note discusses key considerations for designing temporary liquidity support to otherwise viable businesses to allow them to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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June 10, 2020

Monetary and Financial Policy Responses for Emerging Market and Developing Economies

This note provides an overview of appropriate central bank policy responses to the severe economic and financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in emerging market and developing economies. It covers monetary, exchange rate, and macroprudential policies, as well as capital flow measures.

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May 20, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on Insurers

The increasingly grim human toll of COVID-19 and extensive financial dislocations across asset classes could be challenging for insurers. Life insurers could be hit particularly hard by this combination of direct and indirect shocks.

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May 13, 2020

Banking Sector Regulatory and Supervisory Response to Deal with Coronavirus Impact (with Q and A)

This note discusses the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for the banking sector and possible regulatory and supervisory responses that can maintain the balance between preserving financial stability, maintaining banking system soundness, and sustaining economic activity.

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May 6, 2020

Central Bank Support to Financial Markets in the Coronavirus Pandemic

This note provides broad guidance to country authorities regarding possible central bank responses to impairment in money, securities, and foreign exchange markets that could emerge in the wake of financial disruptions including the COVID-19 pandemic.

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May 6, 2020

Cybersecurity of Remote Work During Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most financial sector firms and authorities have moved to teleworking arrangements. Firms should implement strong remote access security controls, and regulatory authorities should consider issuing additional guidance.

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May 6, 2020

Debt Management Responses to the Pandemic

This note aims to provide guidance on areas in which sovereign debt managers may need to respond to challenges stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.

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May 6, 2020

Macrofinancial Considerations for Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This note maps and discusses macrofinancial channels and spillovers that could amplify the negative economic and financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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May 6, 2020

Regulatory and Supervisory Response to Deal with Coronavirus Impact: Securities Market

This note discusses the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for securities markets, including high volatility and trading volume, corporate governance, and business continuity, and possible regulatory and supervisory responses.

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May 6 2020

Regulatory and Supervisory Response to Deal with Coronavirus Impact: The Insurance Sector

This note discusses the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for the insurance sector and possible regulatory and supervisory responses.

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April 29, 2020

Assessing Stress from Oil Price Shocks

This note aims to guide country authorities in oil-exporting economies on how to assess the impact of the recent fall in oil prices on bank soundness. The note discusses macroeconomic scenarios and transmission channels impacting banks.

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April 29, 2020

Central Bank Operational Risk Considerations for COVID-19

This note discusses how central banks could respond to the heightened operational risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and highlights the importance of developing a risk management framework including health and safety measures that can ensure maintenance of critical operations.

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April 29, 2020

Pandemic Preparedness for Financial Institutions

Financial institutions must prepare for operating under crisis conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which calls for detailed business continuity planning and measures to ensure continued customer access to critical services.

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April 29, 2020

Public Communication During a Financial Crisis

This note covers basic principles for public policy communications in systemic financial crises. While the note focuses on communication in the event of financial crisis, many of its prescriptions hold for crisis situations more broadly.

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Statistical Issues

June 24, 2020

Recording of Deferred Delivery of, and Payments for, Goods and Services

This note reviews the national accounts treatment for instances when receipt of a good or service is significantly deferred because of COVID-19 restrictions, and when the restrictions lead to a deferred payment for a good or service.

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June 17, 2020

Recording of Deferred and Waived Interest on Loans

This note focuses on financial intermediaries’ response to the COVID-19 crisis by allowing loan payment deferrals or waived interest payments to qualified borrowers. It provides guidance on how these should be recorded in macroeconomic statistics.

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June 10, 2020

Recording of Deferred or Waived Rental Payments

This note focuses on private landlords’ response to the COVID-19 crisis by allowing for reduced or deferred rent payments to qualified tenants. It provides guidance on how these should be recorded in macroeconomic statistics.

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May 28, 2020

The Treatment of Restructured Loans for FSI Compilation

This note provides guidance to central banks and supervisory authorities to ensure consistent treatment of restructured loans in the compilation of Financial Soundness Indicators and introduces supplementary tables to strengthen their collection of data on restructured loans.

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May 6, 2020

Government Support to Business and Households

This note focuses on government measures related to supporting employers and their employees, as well as support to the self-employed, and provides guidance on how these should be recorded in macroeconomic statistics.

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May 6, 2020

How to Record Debt Relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust in Macroeconomic Statistics

In response to COVID-19, the IMF provides debt service relief to eligible countries under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). This note provides guidance on recording such debt service relief in government finance and external sector statistics.

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April 18, 2020

Business Continuity Plans: Consumer Price Index

This note provides guidance to national statistical organizations to ensure the continued publication of their consumer price indexes in the face of challenges resulting from measures implemented to contain COVID-19.

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April 18, 2020

Business Continuity Plans: Data Dissemination Guidelines

This note provides guidance to national statistical organizations and central banks on steps to inform users about how measures to contain COVID-19 have affected the dissemination of price statistics, national accounts, and balance of payments data.

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April 18, 2020

Business Continuity Plans: Export and Import Price Indexes

This note provides guidance to national statistical organizations to ensure the continued publication of their export and import price indexes in the face of challenges resulting from measures implemented to contain COVID-19.

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April 18, 2020

Business Continuity Plans: National Accounts Statistics Continuity

This note provides guidance to national statistical organizations to ensure the continued publication of their national accounts in the face of challenges resulting from measures implemented to contain COVID-19.

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April 18, 2020

Business Continuity Plans: Producer Price Index

This note provides guidance to national statistical organizations to ensure the continued publication of their producer price indexes in the face of challenges resulting from measures implemented to contain COVID-19.

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April 18, 2020

Ensuring Continuity in the Production of External Sector Statistics During the COVID-19 Lockdown

The COVID-19 has a significant impact on data sources used to compile external sector statistics (ESS). This note provides advice on traditional and alternative data sources and on data compilation, to ensure continuity in the production of ESS during the lockdown.

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April 18, 2020

COVID-19: How to Record Government Policy Interventions in Fiscal Statistics

Governments have reacted to the health and economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic through a variety of emergency policies. It is important that these policies are correctly recorded in government accounts and fiscal statistics.

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Tax Law Design Issues

April 12, 2020

Tax Law Design Considerations When Implementing Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis

This note focuses on the tax law design considerations that countries should take into account when they implement temporary tax policy and administration measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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