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Gabriel Di Bella, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Karim Foda, Svitlana Maslova, Alex Pienkowski, Martin Stuermer, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
This paper analyzes the implications of disruptions in Russian gas for Europe’s balances and economic output. Alternative sources could replace up to 70 percent of Russian gas, allowing Europe to avoid shortages during a temporary disruption of around 6 months. However, a longer full shut-off of Russian gas to the whole of Europe would likely interact with infrastructure bottlenecks to produce very high prices and significant shortages in some countries, with parts of Central and Eastern Europe most vulnerable. With natural gas an important input in production, the capacity of the economy would shrink. Our findings suggest that in the short term, the most vulnerable countries in Central and Eastern Europe — Hungary, Slovak Republic and Czechia — face a risk of shortages of as much as 40 percent of gas consumption and of gross domestic product shrinking by up to 6 percent. The effects on Austria, Germany and Italy would also be significant, but would depend on the exact nature of remaining bottlenecks at the time of the shutoff and consequently the ability of the market to adjust. Many other countries are unlikely to face such constraints and the impact on GDP would be moderate—possibly under 1 percent. Immediate policy priorities center on actions to mitigate impacts, including to eliminate constraints to a more integrated gas market via easing infrastructure bottlenecks, to accelerate efforts in defining and agreeing solidarity contributions, and to promote stronger pricing pass through and other measures to generate greater energy savings. National responses and RePowerEU contains many important measures to help address these challenges, but immediate coordinated action is called for, with specific opportunities in each of these areas.
Vizhdan Boranova, Raju Huidrom, Ezgi O. Ozturk, Ara Stepanyan, Petia Topalova, and Shihangyin (Frank) Zhang
The auto sector is macro-critical in many European countries and constitutes one of the main supply chains in the region. Using a multi-sector and multi-country general equilibrium model, this paper presents a quantitative assessment of the impact of global pandemic-induced labor supply shocks—both directly and via supply chains—during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic on the auto sector and aggregate activity in Europe. Our results suggest that these labor supply shocks would have a significant adverse impact on the major auto producers in Europe, with one-third of the decline in the value added of the car sector attributable to spillovers via supply chains within and across borders. Within borders, the pandemic-induced labor supply shocks in the services sector have a bigger adverse impact, reflecting their larger size and associated demand effects. Across borders, spillovers from the pandemic-induced labor supply shocks that originate in other European countries are larger than those that originate outside the region, though the latter are still sizable.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept.
This paper provides an update on the status of the SDR trading market and operations. In over three decades, SDRs have been exchanged for freely usable currencies in transactions by agreement primarily through the Voluntary Trading Arrangements (VTAs). The VTAs are bilateral arrangements between the Fund and SDR participants or prescribed holders, in which the VTA members agree to buy and sell SDRs within certain limits. A fraction of transactions by agreement—sales or acquisitions of SDRs—were arranged directly between parties.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

The Slovak auto industry is deeply integrated in regional and global value chains. While this has brought tremendous benefits, it has also made the sector susceptible to foreign shocks as exemplified by the disruptions it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, the industry will need to adapt to mega trends such as potential reconfigurations of supply chains and changes in preferences and technology. This paper uses a general equilibrium global trade model to: (i) quantify the impact of the pandemic-induced labor supply shock on the auto industry in Slovakia; (ii) disentangle the spillovers of the COVID-19 shock to the Slovak auto sector through cross-border and domestic production chains; and (iii) shed light on the Slovak auto sector’s exposure to potential changes in the post-COVID global economy, namely higher trade costs with select partners.

Rachel F Wang, Mr. Timothy C Irwin, and Lewis K Murara
Although there are several measures of fiscal transparency, none provides satisfactory information on certain issues of macroeconomic relevance, including whether fiscal data are available for all of general government, whether the government reports a balance sheet, and whether spending and revenue are reported on a cash or accrual basis. Drawing on government finance statistics reported to the IMF, this paper presents a new database of fiscal transparency for 186 countries in 2003–13 and derives from it indices of the overall comprehensiveness of fiscal statistics as well as specific indices of the coverage of public institutions, fiscal flows, and fiscal stocks, respectively. It finds evidence of gradual improvement, most notably in the coverage of institutions, but most countries’ reporting remains far from comprehensive
Mr. Andrea Pescatori, Mr. Damiano Sandri, and John Simon
Using a novel empirical approach and an extensive dataset developed by the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF, we find no evidence of any particular debt threshold above which medium-term growth prospects are dramatically compromised. Furthermore, we find the debt trajectory can be as important as the debt level in understanding future growth prospects, since countries with high but declining debt appear to grow equally as fast as countries with lower debt. Notwithstanding this, we find some evidence that higher debt is associated with a higher degree of output volatility.