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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Economic activity in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region is weakening, mainly because of the near-term slowdown and rising regional tensions affecting Russia, a key trading partner and source of remittance and investment inflows, as well as weaker domestic demand in a number of CCA countries. Near-term risks are to the downside and tied to the fortunes of large trading partners. Policies need to focus on bolstering economic stability and, where needed, short-term support to ailing economic growth. In addition, a new model for high, sustained, diversified

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

A wave of external shocks—a sharp drop in commodity prices, the slowdown in Russia, a plunge in the value of the Russian ruble, and a strengthening of the U.S. dollar—have weakened economic growth in the CCA region despite countercyclical fiscal policies aimed at supporting output. Exchange rates either depreciated or were devalued, creating inflation pressures and limiting scope for monetary easing. Growth is expected to pick up only modestly in 2016 as the external environment is likely to remain challenging. Fiscal policy needs to ensure that the near

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

The CCA region has been hit by large and persistent external shocks since 2014, particularly the slump in commodity prices and slowdown in its key economic partners (mainly Russia and China). Regional growth is projected to average 1.3 percent this year. This represents a sharp weakening of economic activity compared with the rates observed in the 15 years before the shocks, especially for oil exporters. Next year, the region’s economies should turn a corner, with average growth picking up to 2.6 percent. However, available policy space has declined, and

Iulia Ruxandra Teodoru and Klakow Akepanidtaworn

-prudential tools have been deployed to alleviate constraints on credit supply. While banking systems in the CCA region entered the COVID-19 pandemic in a relatively strong position, banks are likely to face rising capital and liquidity pressures due to lower profits and deteriorating asset quality once these various forms of public support are phased out. Looking ahead, episodes of bank distress may have large macro-financial implications. Weakened balance sheets could impair banks’ ability to lend and support the post-COVID recovery. In addition, severe financial sector

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Substantial external shocks hit the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region in 2009, but their impact on economic growth was cushioned by the policy reponse and donor support. For 2010, a recovery across the region is projected as the global economy, and in particular Russia, picks up peed . For the energy exporters: Growth will be strongest in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where governments should start exiting from their accommodative policies as growth gains traction. Kazakhstan is seeing a slower recovery, and will need continued policy support in