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Support in challenging circumstances
Mar 20,2017 - Last updated at Mar 20,2017
At the end of a recently concluded five-day visit to Jordan, the IMF country team acknowledged that the difficult regional circumstances weigh heavily on the country’s economy and, from the look of things, are going to push further down growth rates.
The team’s visit was intended to take stock of the latest economic developments and discuss with authorities their planned economic policies and reforms to preserve the country’s macro-economic stability and enhance growth and employment prospects.
An IMF press release said growth is expected to have reached around 2 per cent in 2016, unemployment to have increased to 15.3 per cent and inflation accelerated to 2.5 per cent year on year in January and 4.4 per cent in February, a reflection of the higher global food prices and of the impact, true a one-off effect, of the fiscal measures taken by the country.
The IMF pointed to another alarming fact, the fiscal deficit, which is estimated at 3.6 per cent of the GNP, but expected to decline to less than 3 per cent in 2017 due to the fiscal measures underpinning the 2017 budget and to the noticeable recovery in remittances and tourism revenues, which contribute to reducing the current account deficit in 2017.
The IMF mentioned other positive developments, including increasing credit to the private sector by about 10 per cent, year on year, in the last month of last year, and the Central Bank of Jordan’s raising key monetary policy rates, which helped preserve the attractiveness of the dinar and kept international reserves at adequate levels.
The team recognised that the pressure of refugees on the economy is such that the country will need continued support from the international community, which is yet to step up to the plate and share in the upkeep of the almost million-and-a-half migrants.
Under the circumstances, one can say that Jordan is doing all it can to put its economy on a good footing.
Proof of that is the IMF commitment to continue supporting the country’s economic recovery programme, support that goes well beyond economy and helps maintain the much-needed stability.
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