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.
EM are experiencing an unprecedented and synchronized growth slowdown in ‘20. Restrictions remain in place in many countries, as the health crisis is far from over. The fiscal response has been uneven in EM, with some running out of policy space. Most EM central banks cut rates aggressively, and QE has become part of the toolkit. Asset price recovery and a modest return of capital flows should provide support.
Unprecedented fiscal measures have been enacted to withstand COVID-19. However, stimulus in Colombia appears limited by regional standards. Suspension of the fiscal rule in 2020-21 will enable additional income support. Permanent fiscal deterioration amid a likely frail recovery is a major risk.
We downgrade our forecast and now expect an output contraction of 3.2%. The collapse in tourism has had the most immediate impact on the region. Shutdowns weakened domestic demand and exports declined markedly. Monetary and fiscal countermeasures will only partially offset this effect.
The recent rise in oil prices is supported by the cut in global oil production and partial recovery in demand. We still expect Brent oil prices to average $40/b in 2020 and $45/b in 2020. Downside risks include poor OPEC+ compliance with the cuts and a continued global economic slowdown
Lower oil prices, dwindling production, and COVID-19 have undercut hopes for growth in 2020, and turned external and fiscal surpluses to deficits. The medium-term outlook depends primarily on oil price and production recovery, and the continued implementation of structural reforms.
Ukraine has secured a $5 bn, 18-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. This stopgap will help finance fiscal spending and external debt repayments. Improved market conditions will allow Ukraine to build up reserves further. We project an output contraction of 6.9% despite aggressive interest rate cuts. Further structural reform efforts are critical for robust growth going forward.
The PBoC can assist fiscal functions by providing necessary liquidity and taking on some quasi-fiscal functions through relending and policy banks. The PBoC may have to support the issuance of special central government bonds. However, the PBoC is not going to explicitly monetize fiscal deficits.
COVID-19 has widened fiscal deficits and spurred needs for additional funding. As a result, QE-type measures have gained impetus amid disinflationary pressure. While countries with sounder institutions can take more aggressive steps, we expect QE to remain modest barring a resurgence of instability.
We assess Ghana’s external financing risk as low compared to regional peers. Eurobond issuance and multilateral support help offset impact of COVID-19. As a result, we estimate only moderate reserve losses of $800 mn in 2020. External debt amortization appears manageable this year and over 2021-22. Outflows could be triggered if deficits grow and/or are financed by the BOG.