The Czech economy has turned in a solid performance, and the medium-term prospects are good. The short-term outlook is positive, although downside risks are significant The outlook for low underlying inflation leaves scope for monetary policy to continue to support growth. The government's resolve to address the deterioration in the fiscal accounts has been commended. The challenge now is to implement the proposals and prepare for medium-term output. Redressing shortcomings of the judicial and legal systems is the top priority for structural reform.
This volume reviews the experience of 25 non-Asian transition economies 10 years into their transformation to market economies. The volume is based on an IMF conference held in February 1999 in Washington, D.C., to take stock of the achievements and the challenges of transition in the context of three questions: How far has transition progressed ineach country? What factors explain the differences in the progress made? And what remains to be done?
Following a severe and protracted recession, a modest economic recovery has taken hold in the Czech Republic. Economic growth turned modestly positive after the first quarter of 1999, headed by a rebound in household consumption and a recovery of demand in European Union (EU) trading partners. However, investment remained weak owing to banking and corporate sector restructuring. Executive Directors agreed that macroeconomic policies needed to strike a balance between sustaining the pace of recovery and making progress toward achieving medium-term policy objectives.
Mr. Jeffrey M. Davis, Mr. Thomas J Richardson, Mr. Rolando Ossowski, and Mr. Steven A Barnett
Privatization has been a key element of structural reform in many developing and transition economies during the last decade. This paper examines the fiscal and macroeconomic issues involved in the privatization of nonfinancial public enterprises in these economies. It considers issues such as the factors determining the proceeds from privatization and the amount accruing to the budget, the uses of proceeds, the impact of privatization on the budget and macroeconomic aggregates, and the privatization component of IMF-supported programs. The empirical evidence draws on case study countries that reflect geographical diversity and are representative of a range of privatization experience in developing and transition economies.
This paper analyzes fiscal reforms in transition economies during the decade leading up to 1998. The paper argues that macroeconomic stabilization, price liberalization and privatization—the core reforms visualized by the shock therapy approach—are necessary but not sufficient conditions for a complete transition to a market economy. Further deep changes—such as the creation of new fiscal institutions, changes in incentives and processes, and changes in the role of government—are needed.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes the progress made by Estonia since independence. It takes stock of the developments in the banking system and describes how the number of banks in Estonia has been reduced through a series of bankruptcies and mergers from 41 in 1992 to 5 by end 1998. The paper explores nonbank financial sector developments. The paper also describes a composite index of coincidence indicators and tests how well it has tracked recent developments in Estonia.
This paper reviews economic developments in Bulgaria during 1990–97. Bulgaria’s macroeconomic performance during 1990–97 was weaker than in most transition countries in the region. With economic activity declining significantly during most years, the cumulative fall in real output over this period amounted to 37 percent. Although Bulgaria’s difficult initial conditions and adverse external shocks played a role, the weak performance mainly reflected the stop-and-go nature of stabilization policies and the slow pace of structural reform.
This paper reviews a selection of studies on privatization experiences in transition countries. Empirical studies almost invariably show privatized enterprises outperform state enterprises. Moreover, the literature identifies de novo firms as being clearly the best performers, followed by outsider-dominated firms, while insider-dominated firms are the least efficient among those newly privatized. The importance of de novo firms in enlarging the private sector in transition economies is reviewed, along with the question of whether privatization efforts support or hinder de novo private sector development. Finally, the paper discusses the importance of providing a suitable market environment for successful private-sector development.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes four issues relevant to the achievement of high-quality economic growth in Lithuania, namely the composition of government expenditure, financial sector development, foreign direct investment, and entry and exit of commercial enterprises. The paper reviews the composition of public expenditure and draws some comparison with other countries in the region. A discussion of the reforms to date in the area of public expenditure management is presented. The paper also highlights the possible pressures for additional expenditure in a number of areas.
Economic developments in Hungary during 1995-97 illustrate one of the most remarkable cases of macroeconomic adjustment in Europe over the last decade. Several momentous steps in the integration of the Hungarian economy with the rest of Europe and the industrial countries community took place. In May 1996, Hungary acceded to the OECD; in July 1997, it was invited to join NATO; and in the same month, the European Commission recommended that EU start membership talks in near future. Reducing inflation, maintaining a sustainable external position, and allowing growth of the private sector will require the continuation of the prudent fiscal policies that have characterized 1995-97.