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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Following a deep recession in 2020 and further contraction in 2021Q1, the euro area economy recovered rapidly in the second and third quarters thanks to high vaccination levels, increasing household and business adaptability to the virus, and continued forceful policy support. Looking ahead, while supply chain disruptions, elevated energy prices, and resurgences of Covid-19 cases—including those related to the Omicron variant—are likely to pose near-term headwinds to growth, the recovery is set to continue in 2022 as the impact of the pandemic on economic activity continues to weaken over time and supply-side constraints ease. Medium-term output losses relative to pre-crisis trends will vary significantly across countries and sectors as will the extent of labor market scarring. Price pressures are building up as production bottlenecks are set to persist for a while. However, inflation—despite increasing significantly in recent months due to transitory factors—is projected to moderate during 2022 and remain below the ECB’s inflation target over the medium term. Uncertainty surrounding the outlook remains high and largely related to pandemic dynamics and legacies, including induced behavioral and preference changes.
International Monetary Fund
As emerging and developing economies accumulate more domestic sovereign debt, it is likely to play a larger role in the resolution of future sovereign debt crises. This paper analyzes when and how to restructure sovereign domestic debt in unsustainable debt cases while minimizing economic and financial disruptions. Key to determining whether or not domestic debt should be part of a sovereign restructuring is weighing the benefits of the lower debt burden against the fiscal and broader economic costs of achieving that debt relief. The fiscal costs may have to be incurred in the context of restructuring because of the need to maintain financial stability, to ensure the functioning of the central bank, or to replenish pension savings. A sovereign domestic debt restructuring should be designed to anticipate, minimize, and manage its impact on the domestic economy and financial system. Casting the net wide across claims can help boost participation in the restructuring by lowering the relief sought from each creditor group. A strategy that engages creditors constructively, and as transparently as possible, that relies on market-based incentives, and that presents the exchange as part of a consistent macroeconomic plan typically works best.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses Cyprus’s export competitiveness and understands factors that could explain export developments, particularly in the services sector. Although Cyprus has been able to leverage its strategic location to diversity its markets for goods exports, as a small island economy, opportunities for diversifying its products mix is more limited. Services exports have performed better in the post-crisis period buoyed by the recovery in Europe and the impact of technological advances on global Information and Communication Technologies-enabled trade. Policies to support greater market diversification, enhance competition and efficiency and strengthen technological adoption would help exports growth. Studies have established the relationship between price and cost competitiveness with trade performance. Cyprus has performed reasonably well with strong service exports over the past few years, aided by improvements in cost competitiveness and a recovery in the European export markets. Policymakers should exploit opportunities brought by the digital transformation while addressing the accompanied risks.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper presents the Third Post-Program Monitoring discussions with Cyprus. Cyprus’s rapid recovery is expected to slow gradually; however, the outlook remains favorable. Economic growth is gradually decelerating but remains strong, buoyed by the services and construction sectors, partly financed with foreign direct investment. While employment is picking up, wage pressures and inflation remain low. A large fiscal surplus is helping to lower public debt after a sizable one-off increase related to the sale of Cyprus Cooperative Bank in the year 2018. Repayment capacity appears to be adequate under the baseline scenario given the expected decline of gross public debt, a stable debt servicing profile, and continued favorable market conditions. Policies should aim to continue strengthening bank balance sheets while avoiding the commitment of public resources. The Estia scheme, aimed at encouraging non-performing borrowers to start servicing their loans, should not be allowed to lead to further risks of moral hazard. The subsidy support, mandated write-offs by banks and enhanced foreclosure threats on re-defaulting restructured loans are expected to strengthen incentives to service restructured loans.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper identifies key challenges among households in reducing nonperforming loans (NPL) further in Cyprus, namely, low repayment capacity, particularly among a certain group of debtors; and weak repayment discipline owing to strategic behavior. Despite some revival of lending activity, the role of bank credit as a funding source remains limited. External inflows, drawdown of savings, use of own funds, and unpaid debt service obligations are contributing to financing economic activities, but these sources may not be sustainable over the medium term. Addressing NPLs to lower borrowing costs and reviving credit supply will be important for supporting longer-term growth. Since 2017, bank credit has provided only a moderate amount of new financing. The reduction in credit-to-GDP ratio has been almost entirely achieved by NPL write-offs and sale or transfer of loans out of the banking system, and through denominator effect. As of 2017, credit demand appears moderately strong, in line with robust economic growth, while credit supply remains broadly unchanged, reflecting continued risk averseness by banks. These trends suggest that while deleveraging is expected to continue through clean-up of bank balance sheets, growth in credit flows (pure new loans) are likely to remain at a moderate level until NPL recovery and repayment discipline improves significantly.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

A speech delivered by the IMF's Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) as part of the Institute's Europe Lecture Series in Berlin, Germany, on March 26, 2018.

International Monetary Fund
The Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN) has expanded considerably since 2008, including in the non-traditional elements of the safety net such as Regional Financing Arrangements (RFAs). The resulting multi-layered structure of the GFSN makes collaboration between its various elements more important than in the past. Specifically, stronger collaboration between the Fund and RFAs would help increase the effective firepower of the GFSN and ensure a timely deployment of resources. The Fund’s experience in macroeconomic adjustment and its universal risk pooling would combine with the greater regional knowledge and country ownership brought the RFA. In this way, improved collaboration between the Fund and RFAs, including in co-financing, would significantly reduce the risk of contagion by encouraging countries to seek early assistance from the Fund. This paper is part of a broader set of proposals to fortify the GFSN (IMF, 2017b, c, d). It proposes both modalities for collaboration—across capacity development, surveillance, and lending—and some operational principles to help guide future co-lending between the Fund and the various RFAs. To date, the only operational guidance to facilitate collaboration has been limited to the high-level 2011 G20 Principles for Cooperation between the IMF and RFAs. Building on several case studies and the principles derived from them, this paper proposes an operational framework for future engagement. It aims to start a more structured dialogue between the Fund and individual RFAs on the modalities of how best to work together.