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Debt relief: the state of play and what’s next

There has been much less progress towards debt relief for African economies than many had hoped. And governments’ diverse array of creditors means that the “Common Framework” recently unveiled by the G20 to help debt distressed EMs will struggle to gain traction. Most governments are likely to have to live with higher debt burdens, which will come at the cost of austerity and weak growth. The few that find themselves in severe stress in the future may follow Zambia down the path of a disorderly default.
Jason Tuvey Senior Emerging Markets Economist
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Africa Economics Weekly

Markets and monetary policy, mounting pressure on naira

Recent investor risk-off sentiment has pushed up sovereign dollar bond yields across Sub-Saharan Africa, fuelling debt risks further, and has put currencies under pressure. Central banks appear to be taking note, with some policymakers turning tightening cycles up a notch. In Nigeria, the recent weakness of the currency on the black market was attributed to election-related spending, but the bigger issue is that downward pressure on the naira stems from the central bank’s unorthodox FX policies.

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Africa Data Response

South Africa Activity Data (Mar.)

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Emerging Europe Economics Update

Turkey’s inflation risks mount, CBRT to delay rate cuts

Turkish inflation hit a two-year high in June and recent domestic energy price hikes will cause it to rise even further over the next couple of months. High inflation and signs of a quick recovery from May’s lockdown mean that the central bank will probably delay the start of its easing cycle until later this year. We now expect the one-week repo rate to be lowered to 17.00% by end-2021 (previously 14.00%).

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Emerging Europe Data Response

Turkey Consumer Prices (Jun.)

The fresh rise in Turkey’s headline inflation rate to 17.5% y/y in June, coupled with signs of a strong rebound in activity after May’s three-week lockdown, means that an interest rate cut in the next couple of months is increasingly unlikely. An easing cycle is now more likely to commence later this year when inflation looks set to fall sharply.

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Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

Turkey dollarisation, Ukraine-IMF, Russia & Poland rates

Turkey’s central bank took steps this week to tackle deposit dollarisation in the banking sector, although these efforts will fail to make headway in the absence of a stronger commitment to rein in high inflation. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s government still has work to do to secure the next tranche of its IMF loan, but the economy can muddle through without help from the Fund for some time. Finally, other developments this week suggest that Poland’s central bank may stick to its recent dovish rhetoric while Russia looks like it could accelerate the pace of monetary tightening.

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