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Miss Sanaa Nadeem and Mr. Shanaka J Peiris
In emerging Asia, banks constitute the dominant source of financing consumption and investment, and bank balance sheets comprise large gross FX assets and liabilities. This paper extends the DSGE model of Gertler and Karadi (2011) to incorporate these key features and estimates a panel vector autoregression on ten Asian economies to understand the role of the banking sector in transmitting spillovers from the global financial cycle to small open economies. It also evaluates the effectiveness of foreign exchange intervention (FXI) and other macroeconomic policies in responding to external financing shocks. External financial shocks affect net external liabilities of banks and the exchange rate, leading to changes in credit supply by banks and investment. For example, a capital outflow shock leads to a deprecation that reduces the net worth and intermediation capacity of banks exposed to foreign currency liabilities. In such cases, the exchange rate acts as shock amplifier and sterilized FXI, often deployed by Asian economies, can help cushion the economy. By contrast, with real shocks, the exchange rate serves as a shock absorber, and any FXI that weakens that function can be costly. We also explore the effectiveness of the monetary policy interest rate, macroprudential policies (MPMs) and capital flow management measures (CFMs).
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Greece discusses that public debt is projected to trend down over the next decade, though long-term sustainability is not assured under realistic macro-fiscal assumptions. Still-weak bank balance sheets act as a drag on growth prospects and pose significant fiscal and financial stability risks. These and other factors leave Greece vulnerable to a range of external and domestic shocks. Greece’s prospects for improved living standards and economic convergence within the Euro Area (EA) depend on implementing a critical mass of inter-related fiscal, financial, and structural policy reforms. In order to achieve better growth and social outcomes, the fiscal policy mix should be improved, with more emphasis on investment and targeted social spending and lower direct taxes, backed by reforms in revenue administration and public financial management. Greece’s success within the currency union critically hinges on narrowing its structural competitiveness gap. Policies should focus on productivity enhancement through improved labor market flexibility, more effective labor activation policies, stronger institutions, and business deregulation.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Context. The recovery is strengthening, underpinned by lower oil prices and the ECB’s expanded asset purchase program. But the medium-term outlook remains weak, weighed down by the legacies of insufficient demand, lagging productivity, and weak bank and corporate balance sheets. Policies. A concerted, collective effort is needed to sustain the recovery, avoid overburdening monetary policy, and lift potential growth over the medium term, which would have positive spillovers for the rest of the world: Demand support. Quantitative easing (QE) has boosted confidence and improved financial conditions. The ECB’s clear communication to stay the course on QE until inflation is on a sustained adjustment path will help anchor expectations. Countries should adhere to the SGP, but those with fiscal space should use it to support investment and structural reforms. Balance sheet repair. High non-performing loans (NPLs) in some banks are eroding profitability and discouraging new lending. Complementary policies are needed to incentivize NPL resolution through strengthened prudential supervision, insolvency reforms, and development of distressed debt markets. Asset management companies (AMCs) could help banks to offload NPLs and assist with corporate restructuring. Productivity-enhancing structural reforms. Labor and product market reforms should be combined with faster implementation of the Services Directive, further improvements of insolvency regimes, and a greater push toward a single market in capital, transport, energy, and the digital economy. A capital markets union would help diversify funding sources and reduce reliance on bank lending. Better economic governance. A more effective and simpler governance framework, including a move towards "outcome-based" benchmarking, could help advance structural reforms, while the fiscal framework could be simplified and strengthened.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Italian economy is in the third year of a moderate recovery. Supported by exceptionally accommodative monetary policy, fiscal easing, low commodity prices, and the government’s reform efforts, the economy grew by 0.9 percent in 2016 and continued to expand in the first quarter of 2017. Unemployment and nonperforming loans have declined somewhat from their crisis-driven peaks. Growth is projected at about 1.3 percent in 2017 and about 1 percent in 2018–20 as favorable tailwinds become less supportive. Growth could surprise on the upside in the near term, including from a stronger European recovery.
Mr. Johannes Mueller, Irene Yackovlev, and Hans Weisfeld
Most WAEMU countries are likely to see economic growth deteriorate over the next two years as a result of the global economic crisis, and some WAEMU countries will be more severely affected by the crisis than others. This could have a detrimental effect on efforts to reduce poverty. Deteriorating remittances and commodity export prices are projected to negatively affect the WAEMU countries’ external current account deficit and reserves, although the impact should be cushioned by positive terms-of-trade shocks, such as declining import prices for food and fuel products. These developments should also help lower inflation pressures, bringing WAEMU inflation closer to its historical level of about 2 percent by 2010.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

1. The Greek economic recovery has been disappointing. After suffering an output fall of about 25 percent Greece had been expected to recover earlier and to grow at a stronger pace once the economy turned the corner, given ample economic slack and potential benefits of policy objectives under the recent programs. However, income remains short of its pre-accession level and long-term projections suggest limited convergence. Large productivity and competitiveness gaps remain, not least due to unaddressed structural weaknesses amid weak social consensus on essential reforms and crisis legacies of high NPLs, over-indebted borrowers, and high public debt.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

My Greek authorities welcome the Staff Report and the accompanying Selected Issues papers and thank staff for the extensive and constructive discussions and their strong engagement during their last visit to Greece. The authorities, however, feel that despite its merits, the Report focuses excessively on past legacies and challenges and understates recent positive developments that improve significantly the short- and medium-term prospects of the Greek economy. Overall, my authorities assess, and indeed market developments concur, that the Greek economic outlook is much more favorable than the one depicted in the Report.