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.
Growth across Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to slow down markedly. This is a result of lower global demand and falling commodity prices. Lower growth will inhibit advances in living standards across the region. We are concerned that COVID-19 outbreaks in SSA could be disastrous. Multilateral support, including from the IMF, is needed going forward.
COVID-19 is projected to bring about a 4.7% output contraction in 2020. This is partly the result of the looming deep recession in the Euro area. Virus containment measures will also lead to weaker domestic demand. Markedly wider fiscal deficits could intensify debt sustainability concerns.
The OPEC+ bloc agreed to cut oil production by a record 9.7mbd. Assuming full compliance, we expect Brent crude to average $40/bbl in 2020. Cuts will last through April 2022, at lower levels. Major non-OPEC+ producers will cut by up to 3.5mbd. Inventories should peak in Q2 and then drop in H2.
COVID-19 has affected Latin America through multiple channels. Pre-existing challenges and increased exposure put the region in a difficult position. We project a deep recession this year amid a sudden stop in capital flows and limited policy space.
Russia’s fiscal breakeven oil price, around $40/bbl in 2020, is the lowest among major oil exporters. While Saudi Arabia’s fiscal and external breakeven prices should decline due to a cut in non-priority spending and a fall in imports, fiscal breakeven prices remain well above $60 in much of MENA.
We believe multilateral support will be critical for South Africa going forward. Moody’s rating downgrade will likely trigger further capital outflows in 2020Q2. This will continue the pressure on the ZAR, which we have flagged as overvalued. Economic contraction and higher funding costs will likely make debt unsustainable.
China’s NPL ratio has been remarkably stable amid slowing economic growth, largely because many NPLs have been written off. Without these write-offs, China’s NPL ratio would be at 4.85% today instead of the actual 1.86%. More institutions and instruments have been introduced to clean up NPLs.
Our MENA growth forecast stands at -0.3% with additional downside risks and high uncertainty over the duration of the shutdown and an additional potential fall on oil prices. We project recession in most oil exporters, the lowest growth in oil importers since the early 1990s, and wide twin deficits.
We now expect a recession in CEEMEA as a result of COVID-19. CEE will be affected by Euro area contraction but has policy space. ussia’s buffers and flexible Ruble should reduce impact on growth. Lower growth will markedly worsen debt dynamics in South Africa. Recession concerns could trigger further policy easing in Turkey.