TIRANA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Albania's economy was strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the first half of this year, Gent Sejko, governor of the Bank of Albania (BoA), said during a videoconference with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The videoconference participants discussed the economic impact of COVID-19 and the country's prospects for recovery, the BoA said in a press release on Friday.
Sejko said that the pandemic had a particularly adverse effect on consumers' behavior, investments, employment and public debt.
At the same time, the easing of social distancing measures during towards the end of the second quarter, along with the country's monetary and financial stability, has had a positive impact on the economy, enabling a gradual recovery.
In response to the economic crisis, the BoA has lowered the key interest rate and increased liquidity injections in order to reduce financing costs and increase money supply for the economy.
Moreover, in cooperation with the country's banking industry, the BoA has amended the regulatory framework to facilitate the temporary postponement of the payment of instalments and the restructuring of bank loans to customers facing financial difficulties.
"The IMF assesses that the BoA's accommodative monetary policy remains appropriate, providing the necessary stimulus to economic growth and for the return of inflation to target within 2022," the press release said.
The IMF stated that "the near-term outlook for the Albanian economy remains challenging" as a result of the November 2019 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Nevertheless, the economy is expected to see a rebound in 2021."
On Friday, the Albanian health authorities reported 125 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 12,073, with 6,831 recoveries and 353 fatalities.