Asia and Pacific > Bangladesh

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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Since independence, Bangladesh has achieved impressive economic growth and social development, making steady progress in reducing poverty and significant improvements in living standards. The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted this long period of robust economic performance, deepening some earlier vulnerabilities. Stagnating job growth, rising inequality, and slowing poverty reduction remain challenges. Revenues are low, and financial sector vulnerabilities continue to be high. Substantial productive investment in infrastructure, human capital, and climate resilience is needed to achieve the authorities’ aspiration to reach the upper-middle income status in 2031.
Mr. Emre Balibek, Ian Storkey, and Hakan Yavuz
Cash and debt management operations are part of the “transactional” functions of public financial management. It is critical that these functions are resilient to external disruptions, ranging from information and communication technology (ICT) system outages to natural disasters. This technical manual aims to provide guidance on the steps that government cash and debt management units can follow to develop and implement a practical business continuity plan that economizes the resources used. It also discusses the evolving nature of business disruption risks faced by cash and debt management over the last decade, including the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as risk mitigation solutions that have emerged.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Bangladesh’s Requests for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). Bangladesh’s economy has been severely impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with weaker domestic demand and a sharp decline in exports and remittances. The authorities have responded quickly to the COVID-19 outbreak with a comprehensive set of measures aimed at containing the spread of the pandemic, providing immediate relief to the most vulnerable households and affected businesses, and preserving the country’s macroeconomic prospects. A temporary increase in the fiscal deficit is necessary, and it will be important to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of all emergency spending. The Bangladesh Bank took appropriate steps to ease liquidity conditions and allow the financial sector to support the economy. Further easing could be considered if the economic situation deteriorates and inflation remains moderate. A gradual increase in exchange rate flexibility should be allowed to adjust to the external shock while preserving foreign reserves.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Bangladesh highlights that economic growth in Bangladesh continues to be strong with stable inflation. Sustained growth in the ready-made garment sector with abundant low-cost labor has helped the economy to diversify away from the agricultural sector to a more manufacturing-based economy. Remittance inflows from Bangladeshis overseas continue to play an important role in promoting private consumption and external stability. While the economy still has significant potential with favorable demographics, to ensure sustainability and resilience of growth, the country needs to keep upgrading its macroeconomic policy framework and advance a range of structural measures. Bangladesh Bank should monitor inflation developments closely and stand ready to adjust its stance as needed. A gradual increase in exchange rate flexibility would help buffer the economy against external shocks and preserve the level of reserves. Continuous improvements in public financial management and frameworks to limit vulnerability to corruption will help the authorities’ goal to reach upper middle-income country status.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the performance of state-owned commercial banks (SOCB) in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s experience with the SOCBs is not unique: the SOCBs have been underperforming in comparison to private banks and foreign-owned banks. Large nonperforming loans (NPLs) imply that a large amount of the savings is being wasted by financing lossmaking activities, and therefore becomes unavailable for financing productive investments. High NPLs and the need for provisions also increase the cost of credit to good borrowers, further dampening investment and growth. Resolute steps are required to resolve the SOCBs’ weak performance, reflecting empirical evidence and mixed results from the previous efforts.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Bangladesh economy continues to perform well with robust and stable growth. The strong growth comes with stable inflation, moderate public debt, and greater resilience to external shocks. The country continues to make steady progress in reducing poverty and improving social indicators. Real GDP growth in FY2017 (ending September 30) further accelerated to 7.3 percent from 7.1 percent in the previous fiscal year. The macroeconomic situation is expected to remain robust in FY2018. Growth is projected at about 7 percent with strong domestic demand. Inflation is expected to remain below 6 percent, close to Bangladesh Bank’s target as flood-related pressure on food prices eases with the rice harvest recovery.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Myanmar’s economy stabilized in 2016/17. The new government saw a challenging first year with lower-than-expected growth of 5.9 percent in 2016/17 mainly owing to weak agriculture production and exports, and temporary suspension of some construction projects in Yangon. Inflation moderated to 6.8 percent, and the current account deficit fell to about 3.9 percent of GDP in 2016/17 from 5.1 percent 2015/16. The medium-term macroeconomic outlook remains favorable. Growth is expected to rebound to 6.7 percent in 2017/18 mainly supported by a recovering agriculture sector and exports. Higher fiscal spending anticipated in the second half of 2017/18 owing to buoyant tax revenues will also support growth.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights steady monetary policy management and fiscal discipline in Bangladesh, which have supported macroeconomic stability, allowing the economy to benefit from favorable external demand, high remittances, and low commodity prices. The result has been strong output growth, falling inflation, moderate public debt, and a rebuilding of external resilience. In fiscal year 2017, output growth is expected to remain close to 7 percent. Over the medium term, maintaining output growth of about 7 percent a year would require increased public and private investment, as well as reforms to support capital market development and improved investment efficiency.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Philippine economy has continued to perform strongly. Real GDP regained strength from a slowdown in mid-2015 to record a robust 5.9 percent growth rate in 2015 and 6.9 percent in the first half of 2016. Both consumption and investment grew rapidly, while net exports were held back by weak external demand. Job creation was also strong: the unemployment rate declined to 6.3 percent in 2015 and 6.0 percent in the first half of 2016. The outlook for the Philippine economy remains favorable despite external headwinds. Real GDP growth is expected at 6.4 percent in 2016 and 6.7 percent in 2017 on continued robust domestic demand and a modest recovery in exports.