Middle East and Central Asia > Saudi Arabia

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Mr. Ali J Al-Sadiq and Ms. Inci Ötker
Declining commodity prices during mid-2014-2016 posed significant challenges to commodity-exporting economies. The severe terms of trade shock associated with a sharp fall in world commodity prices have raised anew questions about the viability of pegged exchange rate regimes. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain its spread have been associated with a significant disruption in several economic sectors, in particular, travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, adding to the downward pressure on commodity prices, a sharp fall in foreign exchange earnings, and depressed economic activity in most commodity exporters. This paper reviews country experiences with different exchange rate regimes in coping with commodity price shocks and explores the role of flexible exchange rates as a shock absorber, analyzing the macroeconomic impact of adverse term-of-trade shocks under different regimes using event study and panel vector autoregression techniques. It also analyzes, conceptually and empirically, policy and technical considerations in making exchange rate regime choices and discusses the supporting policies that should accompany a given regime choice to make that choice sustainable. It offers lessons that could be helpful to the Caribbean commodity-exporters.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This paper presents the annual update of the quota database and extends the database by one year through 2018. The paper provides an overview of the data and of the methodology and covers the quota formula variables and calculated quota shares based on the current quota formula.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Pakistan’s economy is at a critical juncture. Misaligned economic policies, including large fiscal deficits, loose monetary policy, and defense of an overvalued exchange rate, fueled consumption and short-term growth in recent years, but steadily eroded macroeconomic buffers, increased external and public debt, and depleted international reserves. Structural weaknesses remained largely unaddressed, including a chronically weak tax administration, a difficult business environment, inefficient and loss making SOEs, and low labor productivity amid a large informal economy. Without urgent policy action, economic and financial stability could be at risk, and growth prospects will be insufficient to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s Third Review of Arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility. The program aims at entrenching macroeconomic stability, supporting inclusive and job creating growth, and building international reserve buffers. The authorities plan to use the prospective fiscal space prudently for priority social spending—education, health, and social protection—and public infrastructure. The economic outlook has improved, buoyed by more favorable terms of trade and the upcoming development of a large offshore gas field. Growth is projected to accelerate to 6 3/4 percent this year, supported by a recovery in extractive sectors and continued broad-based non-extractive growth reflecting strong domestic demand and budding diversification. Downside risks related to global economic developments, commodity price volatility, and regional security concerns remain elevated. Considerable challenges remain to entrench macroeconomic stability, support inclusive growth, and build resilience to shocks. The prospective fiscal space should be used prudently for priority social policies and public infrastructure.
Mariam El Hamiani Khatat and Mr. Romain M Veyrune
This paper introduces a theoretical framework for liquidity management under fixed exchange rate arrangement, derived from the price-specie flow mechanism of David Hume. The framework highlights that the risk of short-term money market rates un-anchoring from the uncovered interest rate parity due to money and foreign exchange market frictions could jeopardize financial stability and market development. The paper then discusses operational solutions that stabilize money market rates close to the level implied by the Uncovered Interest Rate Parity (UIP). Liquidity management under fixed exchange rate with an open capital account presents specific challenges due to: (1) the larger liquidity shocks induced by foreign reserve swings that challenge the development of money markets; and (2) more complicated liquidity forecasts. The theoretical framework is empirically tested based on the estimate of “offset” coefficients for Denmark and Hong Kong SAR.
Miss Yinqiu Lu and Yilin Wang
The way central banks manage their foreign reserve assets has evolved over the past decades. One major trend is managing reserves in two or more tranches—liquidity tranche and investment tranche—especially for those with adequate reserves. Incorporating reserve tranching, we have developed in this paper a central bank’s reserve portfolio choice model to analyze the determinants of the currency composition of reserves. In particular, we adopt the classical mean-variance framework for the investment tranche and the asset-liability framework for the liquidity tranche. Building on these frameworks, the roles of currency compositions in imports invoicing and short-term external debt, and risk and returns of reserve currencies can be quantified by our structural model—a key contribution of our paper given the absence of structural models in the literature. Finally, we estimate the potential paths of the share of RMB in reserves under different scenarios to shed light on its status as an international currency.