Public investment is expected to play a significant role in the post-pandemic economic recovery in Montenegro. Due to the importance of the tourism sector, the pandemic has had a deep economic impact. In addition, as government debt already exceeds one hundred percent of GDP, fiscal space to increase public investment is limited. Nevertheless, the completion of the first phase of the Bar-Boljare Highway (BBH), by the end of 2021, should free up public resources within the budget constraint, that could be used for public investments. In this context, a strengthened public investment management (PIM) framework would contribute to maximize its impact on economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Statistics Department (STA) conducted a technical assistance (TA) mission to the Central Bank of Montenegro (CBM) for the compilation of external sector statistics (ESS) during April 28–May 13, 2021. The mission was funded by Eurostat to meet the European Union (EU)’s acquis1 from the ESS perspective. The mission focused on the compilation of quarterly international investment position (IIP),2 and assisted the CBM in preparing the Reserves Data Template (RDT) as well as in recording of financial intermediary services indirectly measured (FISIM) in balance of payments statistics.
COVID-19 hit the economy hard, but a strong recovery is underway. Public debt, already elevated before the pandemic, has increased further. The government has embarked on a reform program ‘Europe Now’, which aims to arrest outward migration through a sharp minimum wage increase, labor tax wedge reduction, and the introduction of a progressive tax code. The financial sector appears to have withstood the COVID-19 shock well.
This paper assesses how regional trade agreements (RTAs) impact growth volatility on a worldwide sample of 170 countries with data spanning the period 1978-2012. Notwithstanding concerns that trade openness through RTAs can heighten exposure to shocks, in particular when it leads to increased product specialization, RTAs through enhanced policy credibility, improved policy coordination, and reduced risk of conflicts can ease growth volatility. Empirical estimations suggest the benefits outweigh the costs as RTAs are consistently associated with lower growth volatility, after controlling for trade openness and other determinants of growth volatility. Furthermore, regression results also suggest that countries that are more prone to shocks are more likely to join a RTA, in particular with countries with relatively less volatile growth, additionally enhancing the stabilization effect.