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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Just as uncertainty associated with COVID-19 pandemic was abating, Russia invaded Ukraine. Uncertainty endured, shifting from pandemic to war, affecting all countries but in different ways. Above-target inflation rates and inflation surprises have helped reducing debt-to-GDP ratios but such relief is often temporary. High uncertainty and marked divergences across countries require a tailored and agile fiscal policy response that is ready to adjust as the outlook becomes clearer. Fiscal policy will need to shift focus away from the exceptional pandemic-related measures as central banks increase interest rates to fight inflation. Emerging and developing economies that are net importers of energy and food will be hit the hardest by surging international prices. Many of these countries already experience scarring from the pandemic and have little fiscal space to tackle new spending pressures. Government should focus on those most affected by the crisis and priority areas. Ensuring greater resilience through investment in health, food, and energy security from cleaner sources has become even more urgent. Global cooperation to achieve these objectives is more important now than ever. As countries strive to promote an inclusive and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic—and formulate responses to the immediate impacts of increased energy prices—they face shared challenges to secure tax revenues, address inequalities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. National tax policies are under pressure to deal with cross-border spillovers—one country’s action affects other countries. Chapter 2 discusses how international coordination on tax matters (i) reduces profit shifting by multinationals and tax competition between countries; (ii) improves tax enforcement by lifting the veil of secrecy to tackle tax evasion; and (iii) limits global warming. The current energy crisis reinforces the case for coordination among major emitters to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, urging countries to not allow near-term responses to detract efforts to establish credible policies for emissions reductions in the medium term.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Macao SAR’s recovery is expected to continue in 2022, but it will take several years before the economy returns to its pre-crisis level. Although strong fiscal support and the financial strength of Macao SAR’s casino groups cushioned employment and consumption, the sharp contraction in activity exposed Macao SAR’s vulnerability to external forces affecting the inflow of tourists. Short-term risks to the outlook include a re-intensification of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in Macao SAR’s financial sector stress. The heavy impact of the pandemic on Macao SAR’s growth highlights the need to diversify the economy beyond the gaming industry. The high exposure to climate-related shocks poses long-term concerns.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Dominica has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with an estimated decline in GDP of 11 percent in 2020 underpinned by a sharp reduction in tourism receipts that affected connected sectors and by lockdown measures to limit virus contagion. The output decline was contained by health spending, social transfers, and public investment resilient to natural disasters which increased significantly, leading to an increase in public debt to 106 percent of GDP despite record-high Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) revenue. The financial sector remained stable and liquid, but vulnerability continue to be significant in the under-capitalized non-bank sector.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
China’s recovery is well advanced—but it lacks balance and momentum has slowed, reflecting the rapid withdrawal of fiscal support, lagging consumption amid recurrent COVID-19 outbreaks despite a successful vaccination campaign, and slowing real estate investment following policy efforts to reduce leverage in the property sector. Regulatory measures targeting the technology sector, intended to enhance competition, consumer privacy, and data governance, have increased policy uncertainty. China’s climate strategy has begun to take shape with the release of detailed action plans. Productivity growth is declining as decoupling pressures are increasing, while a stalling of key structural reforms and rebalancing are delaying the transition to “high-quality”—balanced, inclusive and green—growth.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
High frequency estimates suggest a V-shaped recovery with output now poised to return close to 2019 levels already this year, much earlier than expected. Recently COVID-19 case numbers have risen sharply to new highs while vaccinations have also accelerated significantly after a slow start. The recovery has improved the fiscal outlook and the authorities submitted to Parliament a supplementary budget, with GEL 1.2 billion in additional spending roughly equivalent to the expected increase in revenues. The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) has increased the policy rate by 200 basis points to deal with high inflation driven by lagging effects of depreciation, commodity and food price increases, and supply side constraints.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Border closures and other pandemic containment measures have kept Vanuatu free from COVID-19. However, they have dealt a heavy blow to economic activity as tourism has come to a virtual halt. On top of the pandemic, Tropical Cyclone Harold and a volcanic eruption in Tanna Island caused extensive economic damage in 2020. In the context of a continued loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) in the Pacific, Vanuatu also lost a key CBR at end-June 2021. Air Vanuatu, one of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs), is in the process of being restructured.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Swift implementation of containment measures, limited spillovers from tourism, and COVID-related fiscal spending financed by buoyant fishing revenues and donor grants have allowed Tuvalu—a fragile Pacific micro-state—avoid a recession in 2020. The economy is expected to expand by 2.5 percent in 2021, supported by fiscal expenditures and resumption of infrastructure projects. But significant challenges remain: Tuvalu is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, its economy is dominated by the public sector, and its revenue base is narrow. Uncertainty around donor commitments complicates fiscal planning.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Hungary’s economy entered the COVID-19 pandemic on a strong footing and the authorities responded swiftly and strongly to the crisis it triggered. While the lockdowns weighed heavily on activity, the fast vaccination pace is allowing an early relaxation of containment measures, and the economy has started to rebound.