Hungary’s economy entered the COVID-19 pandemic on a strong footing and the authorities responded swiftly and strongly to the crisis it triggered. While the lockdowns weighed heavily on activity, the fast vaccination pace is allowing an early relaxation of containment measures, and the economy has started to rebound.
Carolina Correa-Caro, Leandro Medina, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton
Using financial statement data from the Thomson Reuter’s Worldscope database for 22,333 non-financial firms in 52 advanced and emerging economies, this paper examines how fiscal stimulus (i.e., changes in structural deficit) interacted with sectoral business cycle sensitivity affected corporate profitability during the recovery period of the global financial crisis (GFC). Using cross-sectional analyses, our findings indicate that corporate profitability improved significantly after the GFC fiscal stimulus, especially in manufacturing, utilities and retail sectors. Firm size and leverage are also found to be significant in explaining changes in corporate profitability.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the headline inflation in Hungary has started to pick up, mainly owing to higher energy prices, while core inflation has been running sideways over the past six months, despite emerging capacity constraints. Unemployment remains on a decreasing trend, and labor shortages are intensifying despite the improvement in participation rates. The 2017 general government fiscal deficit narrowed to 2 percent of GDP, compared with the budgeted 2.4 percent. This outcome was mostly driven by strong GDP growth and reduced interest payments. The IMF staff projects the 2018 overall fiscal deficit at about 2.4 percent of GDP, in line with the budget’s target.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights Hungary’s several consecutive years of high growth and debt reduction. The pickup in growth was supported by high use of EU funds, a favorable external environment, and accommodative monetary and fiscal policies. However, despite robust private sector consumption, GDP growth temporarily slowed in 2016 to an estimated 2 percent, mainly because of a decline in investment. Output growth is projected to accelerate to about 2.9 percent in 2017. The recovery in EU funds disbursement and related investment, together with planned projects in the automotive industry, will be the main drivers of growth.
Laura Jaramillo, Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, and Elijah Kimani
What explains public debt spikes since the end of WWII? To answer this question, this paper identifies 179 debt spike episodes from 1945 to 2014 across advanced and developing countries. We find that debt spikes are not rare events and their probability increases with time. We then show that large public debt spikes are neither driven by high primary deficits nor by output declines but instead by sizable stock-flow adjustments (SFAs). We also find that SFAs are poorly forecasted, which can affect debt sustainability analyses, and are associated with a higher probability of suffering non-declining debt paths in the aftermath of public debt spikes.
This paper focuses on the following key issues of the Slovenian economy: export competitiveness, corporate financial health and investment, European Central Bank (ECB) quantitative easing, and financial sector development issues and prospects. Slovenia’s exports have been the main contributor to GDP growth in recent years. In particular, by 2015 exports of goods and services had increased by 20 percentage points of GDP compared to their postcrisis low in 2009. Preceding the global economic slump in 2008, bank credit in Slovenia fueled corporate investment. The past few years have witnessed substantial monetary easing by the ECB. With inflation running well below target, the ECB has been pursuing unconventional monetary policy-easing actions.
Ms. Elva Bova, Marta Ruiz-Arranz, Mr. Frederik G Toscani, and H. Elif Ture
We construct the first comprehensive dataset of contingent liability realizations in advanced and emerging markets for the period 1990–2014. We find that contingent liability realizations are a major source of fiscal distress. The average fiscal cost of a contingent liability realization is 6 percent of GDP but costs can be as high as 40 percent for major financial sector bailouts. Contingent liability realizations are correlated among each other and tend to occur during periods of growth reversals and crises, accentuating pressure on the budget during already difficult times. Countries with stronger institutions are able to better control and address the underlying risks so that they are less exposed to contingent liability realizations.