Western Hemisphere > Nicaragua

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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Nicaragua faces an acute crisis as the COVID-19 shock comes on top of a two- year recession. So far, the speed of transmission of the pandemic in Nicaragua, in terms of officially confirmed cases, has been slower than in neighboring countries, but this may understate the true spread of the disease. The pandemic is expected to produce the third year of consecutive recession and lead to large fiscal and external financing needs given the impact of voluntary distancing and regional and global spillovers. The very limited fiscal space, eroded by the ongoing recession and the limited external financing, constrains the authorities’ ability to self-finance the emergency response.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Nicaragua highlights that social unrest and its aftermath eroded confidence and caused large capital and bank deposits outflows that resulted in a prolonged output contraction. Banks cut lending, which exacerbated the downturn. Faced with sharply lower revenues and a severe tightening in available financing, including on account of sanctions, the government was forced to cut spending and adopt a procyclical tax package. The economy is projected to continue to contract in the near term as it adjusts to weaker confidence and lower external financing. The sharp contraction in credit will continue to depress investment, and the tight fiscal and external financing situation will continue to drag down medium-term growth. The key risks relate to further erosion in confidence and renewed deposit outflows. The imposition of additional sanctions by trading partners could also heighten economic stress. It is recommended to maintain a conservative fiscal stance in 2020 remains the key to maintain macroeconomic stability. Curbing expenditures on goods and services will allow increased spending on social programs, social safety nets, and public investment, which would lead to more equitable and sustainable growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that structural reforms, strengthened policy frameworks and the ongoing smooth political transition have laid the foundations for sustained growth in El Salvador. The discussions focused on policies that build on these achievements and address fiscal vulnerabilities, boost long-term growth, and strengthen the governance, anticorruption and Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism frameworks. Continued US dollar appreciation led to a significant decline in inflation and widening of the current account deficit. The authorities agreed that debt would continue to drift upward in the absence of measures, and that weaker-than-expected global growth could have a negative impact on the domestic economy. The authorities emphasized their commitment to guarantee a smooth political transition by sharing information with the new administration and by inviting the Audit Office to oversee the handover process. It is recommended to improve the governance and anticorruption frameworks by increasing the fiscal transparency of the 2020 budget laws, strengthening audit and spending controls, and promptly implementing electronic invoicing.
Valentina Flamini, Pierluigi Bologna, Fabio Di Vittorio, and Rasool Zandvakil
Credit is key to support healthy and sustainable economic growth but excess aggregate credit growth can signal the build-up of imbalances and lead to systemic financial crisis. Hence, monitoring the credit cycle is key to identifying vulnerabilities, particularly in emerging markets, which tend to be more exposed to sudden external shocks and reversal in capital flows. We estimate the credit cycle in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic and find that the creadit gap is a powerful predictor of systemic vulnerability in the region. We simulate the activation of the Basel III countercyclical capital buffers and discuss the macroprudential policy implications of the results, arguing that countercyclical macroprudential policies based on the credit gap could prove useful to enhance the resilience of the region’s financial sector but the activation of macroprudential instruments should also be informed by the development of other macrofinancial variables and by expert judgment.
Mr. Geoffrey J Bannister, Mr. Jarkko Turunen, and Malin Gardberg
Despite significant strides in financial development over the past decades, financial dollarization, as reflected in elevated shares of foreign currency deposits and credit in the banking system, remains common in developing economies. We study the impact of financial dollarization, differentiating across foreign currency deposits and credit on financial depth, access and efficiency for a large sample of emerging market and developing countries over the past two decades. Panel regressions estimated using system GMM show that deposit dollarization has a negative impact on financial deepening on average. This negative impact is dampened in cases with past periods of high inflation. There is also some evidence that dollarization hampers financial efficiency. The results suggest that policy efforts to reduce dollarization can spur faster and safer financial development.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights Nicaragua’s robust macroeconomic performance in 2016. Real GDP grew by 4.7 percent in 2016, supported by strong domestic demand, while inflation remained subdued at 3.1 percent as of the end of 2016, owing largely to the contribution of food prices. The current account deficit for 2016 is estimated to have narrowed to 8.6 percent of GDP, compared with 9 percent in 2015. This consolidation is largely explained by maquila exports, which have been better captured owing to improvements in statistical compilation. The current account deficit remained financed by foreign direct investment and other long-term inflows.