This Selected Issues paper examines implications of capital account liberalization in Iceland. Capital controls were critical in 2008 to avoid a more severe collapse of the Icelandic economy. Six years later, capital inflows have been liberalized, but most outflows remain restricted. Iceland has used the breathing room to reduce flow and stock vulnerabilities, strengthen institutions, and prepare for the lifting of capital controls. Simulations using the central bank’s Quarterly Macroeconomic Model (QMM) suggest that, compared with the 2008 crisis episode, the economy can better withstand the impact of an abrupt removal of capital controls. However, the outcome would be dependent on a number of factors, including resident depositor behavior.
This Selected Issues paper examines external developments and competitiveness in France. Over the past decade, the current account has deteriorated from a surplus of 1.2 percent of GDP in 2002 to a deficit of about 2.3 percent in 2012, as France lost ground in goods trade and services recorded just a slight increase in global market shares. The slight improvement of the trade deficit seen in 2012 may suggest a change in trend, although it is still too early to determine. Past deterioration in export performance points to competitiveness weaknesses, rooted in significant rigidities in labor and product markets.
The paper is an account of Finland’s unexpected upcoming deceleration in the economy at the end of 2011 and later. The deleveraging of the financial sector and the debt crisis made the nation fear an inevitable recession. To sustain this vulnerable situation, due attention was given to short-term growth and long-term challenges. Banks were encouraged to build up capitals and toughen bank decrees. Plans were made to multiply labor power and productivity. At the end of the paper, the Board welcomed the commitment of the state in improving and safeguarding the financial sector.
Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia and Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos
This paper examines the usefulness of testing the conformity of macroeconomic data with Benford's law as indicator of data quality. Most of the macroeconomic data series tested conform with Benford's law. However, questions emerge on the reliability of such tests as indicators of data quality once conformity with Benford's law is contrasted with the data quality ratings included in the data module of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (data ROSCs). Furthermore, the analysis shows that rejection of Benford's law may be unrelated to the quality of statistics, and instead may result from marked structural shifts in the data series. Hence, nonconformity with Benford's law should not be interpreted as a reliable indication of poor quality in macroeconomic data.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the gap between the real effective exchange rate (REER) and its equilibrium (medium-term) value. The paper explores certain features of fiscal policy in Iceland, and examines various aspects of fiscal frameworks in other European countries that are possibly worthy of emulation. It provides a detailed summary of the key issues affecting fiscal policy in Iceland. It argues that political economy factors lead to procyclical fiscal trends, and this is exacerbated by macroeconomic volatility. The paper also provides an overview of the structure of the banking sector of Iceland.
This 2007 Article IV Consultation highlights that growth in Finland has outpaced the euro area average. Inflation is among the lowest in the European Union, and the external current account and general government budget are both comfortably in surplus. The labor market has improved markedly since 2005, with rising participation rates and comparatively strong employment growth. The unemployment rate has dipped below the euro area average, and hovers near estimates of the structural unemployment rate.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes whether cyclical factors, including the large real exchange rate appreciation in recent years in New Zealand, can account for the rapidity of the recent rise in import penetration, or whether more lasting structural changes, such as the effects of globalization, may have played a role. The paper also looks at New Zealand’s vulnerabilities from two angles. It evaluates the external position of the country, and then assesses the health and soundness of various sectors of the economy by looking at their balance sheets and the key vulnerability indicators.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
In recent years, Finland’s economy has performed favorably. Growth, which has outpaced that in the euro area, is expected to surpass 3 percent in 2006; the external current account has remained in surplus; and inflation has remained below the euro area average, thanks to strong productivity growth and wage moderation, increased domestic competition, and low nonfuel import prices. Public finances are in surplus but have weakened because of personal income tax cuts and growing local government expenditures. This weakening, along with the imminent rise in old-age dependency, is clouding the long-term outlook for growth and fiscal sustainability, the IMF said in its annual review.
This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes data module provides an assessment of Finland’s macroeconomic statistics against the Special Data Dissemination Standard complemented by an assessment of data quality based on the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework, July 2003. The report reveals that Finland’s macroeconomic statistics are of generally high quality. They are adequate to conduct effective surveillance. Finland’s statistical managers are highly aware of all dimensions of quality. However, some shortcomings may detract from the accurate and timely analysis of economic and financial developments and the formulation of appropriate policy.