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Sep 22, 2020 14:09 EEST
September 22 (SeeNews) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects North Macedonia's economy to shrink by nearly 5.5% this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, more than the 4% contraction projected earlier, Stephanie Eble, IMF's regional representative for the Western Balkans, said in an interview with a local magazine.
North Macedonia's economy is then projected to return to growth in 2021, Eble told business magazine Kapital in an interview published on Monday.
However, she cautioned that there is high uncertainty about the forecast because it relies on public health and economic factors that are unprecedented and difficult to predict.
Eble added that the measures taken by the government and the central bank played a significant role in mitigating the economic and social impact of the pandemic in North Macedonia.
"It is likely that the wage subsidies in the private sector contributed to controlling unemployment, with the number of unemployed remaining at around 16% of the workforce in the second quarter," Eble said.
North Macedonia's government implemented three packages of measures aimed at reducing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak with incentives such as social assistance schemes and vouchers for the unemployed, low-paid workers and students and wage subsidies for firms affected by the crisis.
The country's minister of economy Kreshnik Bekteshi said earlier in September that the government is working on a fourth package of measures which should be finalised soon.
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