International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Grenada’s economy was hit hard by the pandemic, with a decline in real output of 14 percent in 2020 from both a collapse of tourism-related activities and the suspension of in-person classes at Saint George’s University (SGU). Growth in 2021 is estimated to have partly recovered to 5.6 percent, driven by construction and agriculture. The authorities’ policy response helped mitigate the pandemic’s impact through containment measures, increased health and social spending, and an expanded public investment program (including to build resilience to natural disasters). Central government debt rose to 70 percent of GDP in 2021 (from 59 percent in 2019) and the external position has worsened. The financial sector has so far weathered the crisis well.
An interesting disconnect has taken shape between local currency- and hard currency-denominated bonds in emerging markets with respect to their portfolio flows and prices since the start of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging market assets have recovered sharply from the COVID-19 sell-off in 2020, but the post-pandemic recovery in 2021 has been highly uneven. This note seeks to answer why. Yields of local currency-denominated bonds have risen faster and are approaching their pandemic highs, while hard currency bond yields are still near their post-pandemic lows. Portfolio flows to local currency debt have similarly lagged flows to hard currency bonds. This disconnect is closely linked to the external environment and fiscal and inflationary pressures. Its evolution remains a key consideration for policymakers and investors, since local markets are the main source of funding for emerging markets. This note draws from the methodology developed in earlier Global Financial Stability Reports on fundamentals-based asset valuation models for funding costs and forecasting models for capital flows (using the at-risk framework). The results are consistent across models, indicating that local currency assets are significantly more sensitive to domestic fundamentals while hard currency assets are dependent on the external risk sentiment to a greater extent. This suggests that the post-pandemic, stressed domestic fundamentals have weighed on local currency bonds, partially offsetting the boost from supportive global risk sentiment. The analysis also highlights the risks emerging markets face from an asynchronous recovery and weak domestic fundamentals.
Ukraine’s economic performance has been anemic since the early 1990s. A major impediment to productivity growth has been low investment, held back by lack of strong and independent institutions. This paper aims to assess the major areas of institutional weakness in Ukraine and quantify the long-term growth impact of catching-up to Poland in terms of the quality of major economic institutions and market development. Our analysis identifies the legal system as the area where the institutional quality is weakest compared to Poland, followed distantly by market competition, openness to trade and financial depth. Using a methodology that accounts for positive spillovers between the structural reform areas, we estimate that even under the most optimistic scenario, where institutional gaps are fully addressed, Ukraine would need 15 years to catch up to Poland’s current income level.
Mr. John Kiff, Jihad Alwazir, Sonja Davidovic, Aquiles Farias, Mr. Ashraf Khan, Mr. Tanai Khiaonarong, Majid Malaika, Mr. Hunter K Monroe, Nobu Sugimoto, Hervé Tourpe, and Peter Zhou
This paper examines key considerations around central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by the general public, based on a comprehensive review of recent research, central bank experiments, and ongoing discussions among stakeholders. It looks at the reasons why central banks are exploring retail CBDC issuance, policy and design considerations; legal, governance and regulatory perspectives; plus cybersecurity and other risk considerations. This paper makes a contribution to the CBDC literature by suggesting a structured framework to organize discussions on whether or not to issue CBDC, with an operational focus and a project management perspective.
Economic growth is broadening in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Further ahead, however, growth prospects are tested by a dwindling workforce and weak productivity. Reaching Western European income levels would thus take longer, says the IMF in its Regional Economic Issues update on the region.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Assistance report examines regulation of market abuse and issuer disclosure requirements in Ukraine. The Ukrainian regulatory framework for market abuse and issuer disclosure requirements has significant gaps, whose impact is compounded by the National Securities and Stock Market Commission’s (NSSMC) lack of sufficient supervisory, investigative, and enforcement powers. This has contributed to overall lack of transparency and widespread misconduct in the market, including through issuance and trading of “fictitious” securities. To address the current challenges, the Ukrainian legislation needs to be aligned with the international standards to provide the NSSMC with sufficient means to require enhanced disclosures and combat market abuse.