An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Mercedes Vera-Martin, has concluded its visit to Georgia, which was held during August 21-27 to discuss recent economic and financial developments and progress with structural reforms.
In the end-of-mission statement
Vera-Martin said that economic activity strengthened further in the first half of 2018 in Georgia.
“Growth reached 5.7 percent, supported by robust external demand, remittances, and credit. Preliminary estimates suggest a better-than-expected budget performance through June. Inflation, which stood at 2.8 percent in July, has been below the end-year target (3 percent). With inflation expected to remain subdued, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) started to normalise monetary policy by decreasing its policy rate by 25 basis points. Meanwhile, deposit and loan dollarisation continue to decline.
“Considering the stronger economic activity, the GDP growth projection for 2018 was revised upwards from 4.8 percent to 5.5 percent. The strong economic activity and weaker terms of trade are expected to widen the current account deficit. Increased downside risks to the outlook, driven by regional developments and global trade tensions, call for building up reserves and continued exchange rate flexibility, which has served the country well; and prudent macroeconomic policies to bolster resilience to external shocks.
“The team welcomed the progress made by the authorities in implementing structural reforms and ongoing initiatives, and stressed the need for continued efforts to support higher and more inclusive growth. The authorities have established an independent pension agency and adopted regulations to implement the new public private partnership law. They are also making progress toward modernising the insolvency law and regulations to promote responsible lending. The current economic environment offers an opportunity to advance structural reforms to increase economic resilience, boost private-sector led growth, diversify the economy, and improve the living standards of Georgian citizens,” read the statement.
The next visit of IMF staff to Georgia is planned for October 2018.