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.
Despite Biden’s election, the future of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) remains uncertain due to hardliner resistance in Iran and a divided US Congress. Failure to renegotiate the deal would likely keep the economy fragile. On the other hand, Iran’s economic potential is high if U.S. sanctions are lifted.
Our outlook for Ukraine has steadily worsened over the last twelve months. Pressure on the NBU and unwinding of anti-corruption reforms are to blame. However, Ukraine will likely manage to muddle through in the coming months. Only when macro-policies become untenable, a return to the IMF will occur.
Foreign reserves have recovered faster under COVID-19 than during the GFC. Import compression, dollar bond issuance, and XR adjustment have helped several countries strengthen their positions. Despite demanding funding needs in 2021, robust external liquidity should help avoid market dislocations.
External and domestic imbalances will require meaningful policy changes. Fiscal consolidation is critical to eliminate monetary financing of deficits. This should reduce inflationary pressures and limit Kwacha depreciation. A multi-year IMF program will likely be needed to implement such changes.
China’s surveyed UR provides more reliable labor data than before. Its survey method is consistent with global norms, and its coverage is reasonably comprehensive. An aging population, expanding services sector, and lower labor force participation help explain the stable unemployment rate.
Kazakhstan’s flexible exchange rate and use of ample policy buffers have limited the effect of COVID-19 on the economy. Vulnerabilities remain high due to low oil prices and structural weaknesses. Key reforms need to be implemented to reduce dependency on oil and promote private sector growth.
Zambia has launched consent solicitation for a deferral of bond payments. Kwacha depreciation is the main driver of unsustainable debt dynamics. In a no-adjustment scenario, public debt could reach 200% of GDP by 2025. Upcoming general elections in August ’21 contribute to policy uncertainty.
Sovereigns are increasingly tapping capital markets to finance fiscal deficits. Private inflows to the MENA region continue to be dominated by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Resident outflows are declining but still exceed inflows. FDI remains subdued and concentrated in the energy sector.