Serbia succeeded in addressing macroeconomic imbalances and restoring confidence and growth under the precautionary SBA which expired in February 2018. Fiscal sustainability has been restored by placing public debt on a firm downward path and the external position has been realigned with fundamentals. Monetary policy has kept inflation under firm control, while supporting economic recovery. The resilience of the financial sector has improved. Progress has also been made on structural and institutional reforms, including in rationalizing the size of public sector employment, addressing fiscal risks from SOEs, and improving the business environment. However, challenges remain for achieving robust, inclusive, and sustainable growth, which Serbia needs for faster income convergence with its EU peers. The authorities requested a 30-month Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) to provide a framework for continued macroeconomic stability and reforms, and maintain close policy dialogue with staff.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Latvia’s economic growth eased to 2 percent in 2016, as gross investment contracted significantly by 11.7 percent on the back of lower than expected absorption of European Union (EU) funds. This effect was compounded by a drag from net exports, as import volume growth accelerated markedly, while export growth remained modest. Despite a strong rise in imports, the current account recorded a surplus of 1.5 percent in 2016 as the terms of trade, driven largely by falling energy prices, improved by over 4.7 percent. Growth is expected to pick up to 3.2 percent in 2017 on the back of an accelerated pace of disbursement of EU funds and continued robust private credit growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the spillover effects of key external shocks on Paraguay. It presents an overview of Paraguay’s major economic and financial linkages with the rest world, and quantifies the spillover effects of key external factors on the Paraguayan economy, using a vector autoregression approach. The empirical results suggest that global shocks have a significant impact on Paraguay’s growth rate. The paper also highlights that output and exchange rate shocks stemming from Brazil and Argentina are also important, even after controlling for global factors.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the income dispersion and comovement in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union region. It finds that incomes are diverging, with the Leeward Islands converging to a higher income level than the Windward Islands. The paper examines the macroeconomic impact of trade preference erosion on the Windward Islands and demonstrates the substantial impact from preference erosion on growth, trade balances, and fiscal positions. The paper also analyzes the size of the informal economy in the Caribbean.
This Selected Issues paper reviews the financial sector development in Georgia in recent years, and investigates why it has lagged behind economic development, as well as developments in more advanced transition economies. The paper briefly reviews recent financial sector development in Georgia, comparing it with developments in its neighboring countries in the Caucasus, the seven poorest countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS-7), the Baltics, and central and eastern Europe. The paper also analyzes possible factors constraining financial intermediation in Georgia and in some of the CIS countries more generally.
This Selected Issues paper examines inflation dynamics over the past five years for Lithuania. A decomposition of inflation into its components provides clues to its main causes. It shows that energy price increases and convergence to European Union (EU)-wide price levels have been important factors driving inflation, but domestic demand pressures—and wage growth, in particular—have also contributed to inflation. The types of possible efficiency gains are illustrated in the context of health care and social assistance. The paper also examines migration and its long-term fiscal implications.
This Selected Issues paper examines the main factors explaining Ukraine’s growth performance so far, assesses whether the recent recovery is sustainable, and provides a quantitative analysis of long-term growth prospects. It finds that the recent recovery is not yet self-sustaining and estimates that long-term per capita GDP growth of 4–5 percent per year would be possible only if structural reforms are accelerated. The paper also discusses how the shadow economy has been measured in Ukraine and compares the results with studies of other transition economies.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes causes and consequences of real exchange rate appreciation in Albania. The paper highlights that Albania has experienced a sustained real appreciation since 1992, which appears to have been brought about by largely beneficial developments: price liberalization, productivity growth, external inflows, and a successful stabilization policy. The pace of appreciation has slowed in the last few years, and a real depreciation in 2002 has brought the real effective exchange rate back to its January 2000 level.
Measuring the size of the underground economy is obviously a difficult task. This paper reviews the literature, as applied to Belgium and elsewhere, on the determinants of the gray economy. The methods that have been used to measure the size of the gray economy are also discussed. The estimates for Belgium are updated using the currency demand approach. The major theory of the gray economy focuses on taxes, which drive a wedge between net incomes and gross labor costs.