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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Macroeconomic performance and buffers were strong when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Economic and social restrictions instituted in March 2020 helped slow new infections and mitigate negative health outcomes but triggered a deep decline in activity in Q2:2020. The slump was followed by a strong rebound in Q3 as the restrictions were eased. With the resurgence of the virus, pressures on the health system peaked in late-March 2021 and eased after a new round of restrictions. Going forward, the outlook is for a near-term economic recovery subject to large two-way risks. The strength and durability of the recovery hinges on the evolution of the health situation and the extent of economic scarring from the pandemic.
Emmanouil Kitsios, João Tovar Jalles, and Ms. Genevieve Verdier
How can governments reduce the prevalence of cross-border tax fraud? This paper argues that the use of digital technologies offers an opportunity to reduce fraud and increase government revenue. Using data on intra-EU and world trade transactions, we present evidence that (i) cross-border trade tax fraud is non-trivial and prevalent in many countries; (ii) such fraud can be alleviated by the use of digital technologies at the border; and (iii) potential revenue gains of digitalization from reducing trade fraud could be substantial. Halving the distance to the digitalization frontier could raise revenues by over 1.5 percent of GDP in low-income developing countries.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Danish authorities’ efforts to strengthen cross-border anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) supervision continue to gather momentum. Since the Fund’s publication of a Selected Issues Paper on this subject in June 20192, the Danish authorities have made significant progress, including by conducting or participating in three multinational on-site inspections of banks; developing a new institutional risk assessment model; issuing an AML/CFT on-site inspection manual; and, via Act No. 1563 (2019), amending several pieces of legislation so as to bolster the monitoring and enforcement powers of the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (DFSA), establish additional reporting requirements for the private sector, and stiffen the penalties for violations of AML/CFT obligations.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Estonia examines impact of assessing competitiveness and exposure to shocks integrating global value chains (GVCs). This paper strengthens the analytical underpinnings of competitiveness assessments and exposure to shocks by incorporating GVCs. Standard real effective exchange rates (REER) indexes assume trade is only in final goods. However, like most European economies, Estonia is highly integrated into GVCs. This implies that assessments of competitiveness should consider trade in value added. Based on a structural model, the paper assesses competitiveness and exposure to trade shocks accounting for the GVC participation in Estonia. The analysis using a REER index considering the GVC architecture suggests potential competitiveness problems in Estonia. The paper also estimates the impact of overvaluation (and appreciation) of the GVC related REER measure on value added export and real GDP growth and finds observable effects. Further, trade tension induced tariff hikes may have important costs for value added produced in Estonia.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Estonia discusses that the outlook is favorable for the near term, however, for slower economic activity for the medium term. Th economy has performed well in recent years, supported by prudent management and effective structural reforms. Growth remains strong and unemployment is at a record low. Inflation is above the euro-area average, consistent with Estonia’s convergence process. Wages are rising, reflecting a tight labor market and skill shortages at the high end of the labor market. Absent reforms to boost productivity and manage demographic challenges, however, growth will slow notably. The authorities need to guard against potential overheating in the near term while taking advantage of sizable fiscal buffers in the medium term to support innovation and labor supply and reduce inequality. The report recommends that it is imperative to consider changes that preserve the pension system’s viability and sustainability, while promoting policies that address inequality. This includes raising female labor participation through broader implementation of gender pay transparency and flexible childcare arrangements.
International Monetary Fund
This report reviews the Observance of Standards and Codes on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for the Republic of Latvia. Latvia has taken strong measures in recent years, through legislative amendments and improvements in implementation, to address deficiencies in its AML/CFT framework and move closer to compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations. Most of the necessary AML/CFT institutions and legal framework are now in place, although coverage of some designated nonfinancial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) is not yet complete.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.