Middle East and Central Asia > Iran, Islamic Republic of

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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Growth in the near term remains subdued for oil exporters in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, amid volatile oil prices, precarious global growth, elevated fiscal vulnerabilities, and heightened geopolitical tensions. In addition, declining productivity is dampening medium-term growth prospects. To reduce dependence on oil prices and pave the way for more sustainable growth, fiscal consolidation needs to resume, underpinned by improved medium-term fiscal frameworks. In parallel, structural reforms and further financial sector development would boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic private investment and foster diversification, thus contributing to improved productivity and potential growth.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation and Proposal for Post-Program Monitoring highlights that Iraq’s social conditions remain harsh following the war with ISIS, with slow progress at reconstruction, weak public services and a lack of job opportunities. In the absence of policy changes, a widening budget deficit is expected to divert resources away from essential investment to rebuild the country and improve public services, while eroding reserves and posing risks to medium-term sustainability. Expenditure rigidities and limited fiscal buffers imply a significant vulnerability to oil price shocks in a context of volatile prices. The fiscal and external positions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the medium term absent policy changes—with reserves falling below adequate levels and fiscal buffers eroded. In a context of highly volatile oil prices, the major risk to the outlook is a fall in oil prices which would lower exports and budgetary revenues, leading to an even sharper decline in reserves or higher public debt. Geopolitical tensions, the potential for social unrest in a context of weak public services and lack of progress in combatting corruption pose further risks.
Mr. Hamid R Tabarraei, Hamed Ghiaie, and Asghar Shahmoradi
The structural model in this paper proposes a micro-founded framework that incorporates an active banking sector with an oil-producing sector. The primary goal of adding a banking sector is to examine the role of an interbank market on shocks, introduce a national development fund and study its link to the banking sector and the government. The government and the national development fund directly play key roles in the propagation of the oil shock. In contrast, the banking sector and the labor market, through perfect substitution between the oil and non-oil sectors, have major indirect impacts in spreading shocks.
Amir Sadeghi
Public investment is key to growth in developing oil-exporting countries and oil revenue is an important source of finance for public investment. Assessing the growth impact of public investment in Iran under various investment scaling-up (gradual, aggressive, and conservative) and oil price (baseline and adverse) scenarios, this paper shows that because of absorptive capacity constraint and investment inefficiency the growth outcome of an aggressive investment scaling-up is not significantly different from a conservative or a gradual scenario while its costs, in terms of fiscal adjustment, are significantly higher, especially during low oil price periods. An improvement in investment efficiency has a significant positive impact on growth outcome and leads to higher private consumption and investment. Using an oil fund, on the other hand, can help contain the size of fiscal adjustments, although it would result in a larger appreciation of real exchange rate and deterioration in the current account balance.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the development of domestic government securities market in Iran. The Iranian authorities have intensified efforts to develop a domestic government securities market. The Debt Management Office is fully staffed with front-mid-back office functions. An electronic issuance system and effective custody and settlement systems are in place. A public debt law that identifies the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s role as the sole issuer of government securities and requires the preparation and publication of a medium-term debt management strategy, annual borrowing program, and publication of debt and asset data would enhance transparency and provide investors greater assurance about the government’s capacity to repay debt and ultimately lower borrowing costs.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the real GDP growth of Iran is expected to reach 4.3 percent in 2017/18. In the first half of 2017/18, recovery broadened to the non-oil sector, aided by supportive fiscal and monetary policies and a recovery in construction and services activity. The unemployment rate declined to 11.7 percent in the first half of 2017/18, but remained particularly high for youth and women. Inflation averaged 9.9 percent during the first 11 months of 2017/18 aided by moderation in food prices and stable administered prices. Real GDP growth is expected to ease to 4 percent in 2018/19 and is forecast to average 4.5 percent over the medium-term.