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publication May 15, 2020

April 2020 Timor-Leste Economic Report: A Nation Under Pressure

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The Timor-Leste Economic Report provides an up-to-date assessment of key economic developments, presents the World Bank's forecasts and outlook for Timor-Leste and provides an in-depth examination of selected policy issues relevant to Timor-Leste

Key findings:

  • Economic prospects for 2020 have been weighed down by the lack of a state budget for 2020, renewed political uncertainty, and the global COVID-19 outbreak
  • GDP is currently forecast to contract by nearly 5 percent in 2020, although this projection remains highly uncertain.
  • Public spending is likely to be constrained for most of the year, due to the duodecimal regime in place and execution delays owing to COVID-19.
  • A $250 million withdrawal from the Petroleum Fund was approved, 60 percent of which allocated to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Timor-Leste has implemented several public health measures to help contain the spread of the virus, including: restrictions on international travel, school closures, rules on access to commercial premises, mandatory confinement of those infected or entering the country, ban on public gatherings, and minimum services for the public administration.
  • An effective response to COVID-19 will require measures to contain the virus and strengthen the capacity of the health system, protect vulnerable households, support affected businesses, and ensure the continuity of public services

"Policymakers have the extremely difficult task of minimizing health risks while protecting people’s livelihoods. It is crucial that both health and economic policy choices consider the emerging evidence and the specific circumstances of Timor-Leste. We believe that this report provides useful insights that can contribute to the design and implementation of timely and impactful economic measures in the coming months."
Pedro Martins
Senior Country Economist for Timor-Leste