FDI has played a strong role in the export-led growth of eastern European countries that are now members of the European Union (EU). Largely sourced from advanced Europe, FDI inflows were motivated by the intention to pursue new markets and cost efficiency. Over time, foreign investment has restructured the exports sector in these countries in favor of products that are considered more technology-intensive. As these countries face skills shortage and rising wages, what is needed for FDI to continue playing a strong role? Can the Western Balkan countries, who are not yet EU members and have in recent years stepped up financial incentives and policy initiatives to court investors, emulate the experience? This paper takes stock of the FDI experience of both these groups and tries to estimate their potential gains from additional policy efforts.
Superficial examination of aggregate gross cross-border capital inflow data suggests that there was no substitution between portfolio inflows and bank loans in recent years. However, our novel analysis of disaggregate inflows (both by types of instrument and borrower) shows interesting heterogeneity. There has been substitution of bank loans for portfolio debt securities not only in the case of corporate and sovereign borrowers in advanced countries, but also sovereign borrowers in emerging countries. In the case of corporate borrowers in emerging markets, the relationship corresponds to complementarity across types of gross capital inflows, especially during periods of positive capital gross inflows after the global financial crisis. A large part of these patterns does not seem to be driven by a common phenomenon across countries associated with the global financial cycle, but rather by country-specific factors.
The paper seeks to identify strategies of commercial banks in response to higher capital requirements of Basel III reform and its phase-in. It focuses on a sample of nine EU emerging market countries and picks up 5 largest banks in each country assessing their response. The paper finds that all banking sectors raised CAR ratios mainly through retained earnings. In countries where the banking sector struggled with profitability, banks have resorted to issuance of new equity or shrunk the size of their balance sheets to meet the higher capital-adequacy requirements. Worries echoed at the early stage of Basel III compilation, namely that commercial banks would shrink their balance sheet by reducing their lending to meet stricter capital requirements, did materialize only in banks struggling with profitability.
Mr. Guorong Jiang, Mr. Peter Doyle, and Louis Kuijs
The paper discusses factors likely to shape the nature and pace of economic growth of five Central European transition countries now engaged in accession to the European Union. It is organized around the standard growth accounting framework. The paper reviews the growth of these countries since 1990 and draws lessons from the growth experiences of other regions since the 1950s, shedding light on long-term growth prospects for these countries. It discusses a set of growth calculations and highlights the key uncertainties in them.
Mr. Torsten M Sloek and Mr. Peter F. Christoffersen
There is ample empirical evidence for developed economies that asset prices contain information about future economic developments. But is this also the case in transition economies? Using a panel of monthly data for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia for the period 1994-1999 it is shown that historical values for interest rates, exchange rates, and stock prices signal future movements in real economic activity. This result has significant implications for policymakers, and a composite leading indicator based on the three asset prices is presented, which contains information about the future development of economic activity.