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 underperformance has amplified social demands for change. While protests will weigh on growth, as in other EMs facing social turmoil, several mitigating factors exist. Bolstering a more inclusive agenda is a tall order, and the risk of erosion of macro fundamentals and institutions is high.
Russian authorities announced a policy pivot towards growth. National projects exceed 3% of GDP per year over 2019-24. Apart from national projects, policies will likely remain tight. We therefore expect only a modest pickup in Russia’s growth.
Lebanon's capital controls may avert short-term crisis. Yet they can pose a long-term cost by discouraging inflows, which play a pivotal role in the country's economic model. Timely formation of a new government with a strong commitment to reform can boost confidence and enable removal of controls.
Weak growth has led to deteriorating debt dynamics in recent years. Falling business and consumer confidence do not point to a recovery. External imbalances remain despite weak activity and depreciation. Interest payments to non-residents have risen sharply due to high debt. The Rand is vulnerable to shifts in market sentiment and portfolio flows.
We expect non-oil growth to accelerate to 3.0% as private sector confidence improves and the monetary stance eases. However, overall growth will likely drop to 0.5%, dragged down by a significant cut in crude oil production.
Current account deficits in Frontier LatAm are wide by EM standards, largely due to energy trade imbalances, but lower oil prices since 2014 have helped ease financing gaps. Despite global headwinds and regional tensions, we project CA deficits to stay contained in 2019-20, broadly financed by FDI.
Markets were disappointed by the 2019 MTBPS announcement. Revisions to growth, deficit, and debt were worse than expected. This follows an Eskom plan lacking details on debt restructuring. Moody’s changed the outlook to negative but kept the IG rating. Key market concern is no longer the rating, but debt sustainability.
Non-resident capital inflows to the MENA region are projected to rise from $165bn last year to $200bn in 2019 before moderating to $173bn in 2020. With the increasing inflows, inclusion into global indices, and ongoing reforms, the MENA region is becoming more prominent on the EM investment map.