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.
Mr. Rabah Arezki, Mr. Marc G Quintyn, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
This paper investigates the role that International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs and capacity building play in fostering structural reforms. To do so, we exploit two novel datasets on IMF capacity building and structural reforms available for over one hundred IMF member countries over the period 1980 - 2010. The main results are threefold. First, there is a general association between IMF programs and structural reforms but this relationship is not very robust. Second, IMF training leads to an increase in structural reforms but only through IMF programs and only when a significant share of public servants is trained. Third, IMF technical assistance does not significantly lead to more structural reforms but raises the likelihood of completion of ongoing IMF programs. Our results are robust to a large number of checks, estimators and correcting for endogeneity.
Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti, Mr. Patrick M. McGuire, and Mr. Stijn Claessens
The recent financial crisis has shown how interconnected the financial world has become. Shocks in one location or asset class can have a sizable impact on the stability of institutions and markets around the world. But systemic risk analysis is severely hampered by the lack of consistent data that capture the international dimensions of finance. While currently available data can be used more effectively, supervisors and other agencies need more and better data to construct even rudimentary measures of risks in the international financial system. Similarly, market participants need better information on aggregate positions and linkages to appropriately monitor and price risks. Ongoing initiatives that will help in closing data gaps include the G20 Data Gaps Initiative, which recommends the collection of consistent bank-level data for joint analyses and enhancements to existing sets of aggregate statistics, and the enhancement to the BIS international banking statistics.
The recent financial crisis raises important issues about the transmission of financial shocks across borders. In this paper, a global vector autoregressive (GVAR) model is constructed to assess the relevance of international spillovers following a historical slowdown in U.S. equity prices. The GVAR model contains 27 country-specific models, including the United States, 17 European advanced economies, and 9 European emerging economies. Each country model is linked to the others by a set of country-specific foreign variables, computed using bilateral bank lending exposures. Results reveal considerable comovements of equity prices across mature financial markets. However, the effects on credit growth are found to be country-specific. Evidence indicates that asset prices are the main channel through which-in the short run-financial shocks are transmitted internationally, while the contribution of other variables-like the cost and quantity of credit-becomes more important over longer horizons.
Forward-looking behavior on the part of the monetary authority leads least squares estimates to understate the true growth consequences of monetary policy interventions. We present instrumental variables estimates of the impact of interest rates on real output growth for several European countries, using German interest rates as the instrument. We show that the difference between least squares and instrumental variables estimates provides bounds for the degree of endogeneity in monetary policy. The results confirm a considerable downward bias of estimates that do not account for potential forward-looking monetary policy decisions. The bias is higher for countries whose monetary policy was more independent of Germany.
This paper uses a structural vector autoregression representation of the Mundell-Flemming model to analyze the determinants of movements in Sweden’s real exchange rate. It finds that, while (supply and demand) shocks account for over 60 percent of the forecast error variance, comparable to several Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) countries, demand shocks account for a higher fraction of these real shocks in Sweden than in those core countries. If real demand shocks result from controllable macroeconomic policies, the cost of relinquishing the exchange rate is no higher, and may be lower, for Sweden than for most core EMU countries.
This paper presents a coordinated portfolio investment survey guide provided to assist national compilers in the conduct of the Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey, conducted under the auspices of the IMF with reference to the year-end 1997. The guide covers a variety of conceptual issues that a country must address when conducting a survey. It also covers the practical issues associated with preparing for a national survey. These include setting a timetable, taking account of the legal and confidentiality issues raised, developing a mailing list, and maintaining quality control checks.
Interest rate differentials have been widely used to assess the degree of policy credibility. A problem with this measure, however, is that the relationship between the differential and credibility varies not only across maturities but also with the actual level of the exchange rate. The alternative approach used in this paper, based on the construction of rate-of-return bands, overcomes this difficulty. It is applied to Belgium, which in May 1990 hardened its exchange rate policy stance. Comparisons with other small, open European economies are carried out. Econometric evidence is provided supporting the claim that the announcement and active implementation of a tighter exchange rate link does make a difference.