The IIF covers 30-40 emerging and frontier markets, with a particular focus on economic and financing issues. Our reports feature topical analysis of macroeconomic fundamentals, policy developments, political economy dynamics and downside risks.
The CEE-4 will likely experience relatively moderate GDP contractions. Fiscal and monetary stimulus measures support private consumption. Despite rising COVID-19 cases, major lockdowns are unlikely to occur. Medium-term growth prospects remain promising across the region.
We expect the economy to contract by 5.2% in 2020 and grow by 2.3% in 2021, driven mainly by the non-oil private sector. The Kingdom responded to COVID-19 and the plunge in oil prices with major fiscal consolidation, but deep structural reforms are needed to raise potential non-oil growth.
Many EM central banks started QE-like programs at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. This coincided with questions arising with respect to the financing of widening deficits. However, actual government bond purchases remain limited so far, including in Asia. Domestic investors appear to have stepped in to buy up additional sovereign issuance.
Turkey’s current account balance will shift to a sizable deficit in 2020. Meanwhile, non-residents remain reluctant to finance the external gap. Residents’ strong FX demand adds to depreciation pressure on the Lira. Falling reserves constrain the CBRT’s ability to provide further stimulus.
Investors are concerned about the possibility of additional sanctions on Russia. German officials have threatened action against Nord Stream 2 in recent weeks. This would have important geopolitical, but likely limited economic, implications. Additional sanctions by the U.S. could depend on the 2020 presidential election. However, the Russian economy is substantially less vulnerable compared to 2014.
Widening fiscal deficits could create financing challenges going forward. As the economy recovers, domestic investors may provide less funding. If fiscal consolidation is not realized, “prescribed assets" are one option. South Africa could also approach the IMF for a Stand-by-Arrangement.
The new IMF program improves the funding outlook. An external financing gap next year cannot be ruled out. High borrowing needs would require tapping additional sources. Limited REER adjustment could exacerbate external vulnerability. The February 2021 election adds program implementation risk.
Demonstrations and strikes continue following the disputed election. The most likely near-term scenario is a prolonged political stalemate. We consider a number of scenarios to assess external financing stress. In the absence of further escalation, reserve losses would be manageable.