Tuesday, April 7, 2015

7/4/15: IMF: Ninth Time is Gonna be Lucky in Ukraine

It is perhaps revealing that the IMF is being forced to defend its Ukraine package 2.0 only a month after it was unveiled. And even do so without providing any explicit risk assessments. Here is the latest on the Fund efforts on this front. Lipton's full speech is here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2015/040715.htm

Of note two things:

  1. This is an 9th lending programme by the Fund to Ukraine, with 8 previous ones being... err... not exactly successful.
  2. The current programme is based on (see details here: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr1569.pdf) assumed 2015 real GDP contraction of 5.5%, growth of 2% in 2016, 3.5% in 2017 and 4% every year thereafter through 2020.  And below is the table of forecasts from the Central Bank of Ukraine (NBU) showing 2015 forecast for -7.5% growth and 2016 forecast for 3% growth. It also shows that NBU estimates y/y growth in Q4 2014 to have been -14.8% and Q1 2015 growth to be -15%. And that -7.5% growth in 2015 will require positive growth in Q4 2015 and a relatively modest contraction in Q3 2015.

All of which suggests that the Fund leading 'assumption' on growth might be a touch optimistic. And that makes its leading 'target' for debt/GDP ratio of 94% at year end 2015 to be a touch unrealistic. Just as the Funds' all previous leading assumptions and targets that the IMF set in all previous lending arrangements with Ukraine.

But, as the Good Director might say, this time it is different...

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