Austria is highly vulnerable to spillovers from the war in Ukraine given its high dependence on energy imports from Russia, deep integration into global value chains, and large banking exposures. After high growth in the first half of 2022, growth is projected to fall sharply through 2023 due to impact of the war and the related energy crisis. Over the medium term, annual growth is projected to stabilize around 1¾ percent. However, output will remain below the pre-crisis trend. Uncertainty is extraordinarily high with significant downside risks.
Austria entered the crisis from a strong position. Prudent policies prior to the pandemic provided significant policy space. Several lockdowns helped contain the virus but significantly impaired the economy. Real GDP contracted by 6.3 percent in 2020 and declined further in early 2021. The 2021 recovery is expected to be modest; the tourism and hospitality sectors will continue to be affected. Over the medium term, growth will accelerate in 2022 and then stabilize at potential, but the output level will remain somewhat below the pre-COVID trend. Uncertainty remains high.
Mr. George M Kabwe, Elie Chamoun, Riaan van Greuning, Mowele Mohlala, and Ms. Julia Cardoso
Safeguards assessments are a key pillar of the risk management arrangements for IMF lending. Safeguards assessments aim to mitigate the risks of misuse of Fund resources and misreporting of program monetary data under Fund arrangements. Safeguards assessment reports are confidential and therefore the IMF Executive Board is provided with a periodic report on safeguards activities on a biennial basis, in addition to high-level summaries in member country staff reports on key findings and recommendations. This update on safeguards activity covers the period May 2017 to end-April 2019 (the period).
activity remained consistent with recent years. 21 assessments were completed during the update period (September 2015-April 2017) and five were in progress at the end of the period. Activity continues to average around 13 assessments per year. While the number of central banks under monitoring decreased slightly from 67 to 63, some monitoring cases required intense engagement due to safeguards challenges that emerged. These related to forensic investigations, governance reforms, and a deterioration in safeguards frameworks of central banks facing difficult external conditions.
Austria is prosperous and stable. Nevertheless, it can still improve its economic performance to ensure a continuing rise in incomes and employment within a stable macroeconomic environment. To this end, a comprehensive package of structural and fiscal reforms can raise low GDP growth and ensure the steady decline of public debt. Financial system stability needs to be maintained in a challenging environment.
This paper presents details of Austria’s 2013 Article IV Consultation. Austria has been growing economically but is facing challenges in the financial sector. Full implementation of medium-term fiscal adjustment plans require specifying several measures and plans that need gradual strengthening to take expected further bank restructuring cost into account. It suggests that strong early bank intervention and resolution tools, a better designed deposit insurance system, and a bank-financed resolution fund would help reduce the need for budgetary support to any troubled banks in the future.