Following the COVID shock, supervisors encouraged banks to use capital buffers to support the recovery. However, banks have been reluctant to do so. Provided the market expects a bank to rebuild its buffers, any draw-down will open up a capital shortfall that will weigh on its share price. Therefore, a bank will only decide to use its buffers if the value creation from a larger loan book offsets the costs associated with a capital shortfall. Using market expectations, we calibrate a framework for assessing the usability of buffers. Our results suggest that the cases in which the use of buffers make economic sense are rare in practice.
In this paper, we estimate the aggregate and sectoral fiscal multipliers of EU Structural Investment (ESI) Funds and of public investment at the EU level. We complement these results with a specific application to the case of Slovenia. We first analyze aggregate data and find large and significant multipliers and strong crowding-in of private investment. Our main findings show that positive shocks to ESI Funds are followed by an increase in output that ranges from 1.2 percent on impact, to 1.8 percent after 1 year, and by an increase in private investment between 0.7 and 0.8 percent of GDP. We address country heterogeneity by dividing countries according to key characteristics that have been known to affect multipliers. In particular, we find higher multipliers in a group of CEE countries that are important recipients of European funds and are characterized by fixed exchange rate regimes and sound public investment governance (e.g. Croatia and Slovenia). We also complement the aggregate analysis by estimating the effect of different types of public investment and the effect of public investment on different sectors of the economy.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.
The paper seeks to identify strategies of commercial banks in response to higher capital requirements of Basel III reform and its phase-in. It focuses on a sample of nine EU emerging market countries and picks up 5 largest banks in each country assessing their response. The paper finds that all banking sectors raised CAR ratios mainly through retained earnings. In countries where the banking sector struggled with profitability, banks have resorted to issuance of new equity or shrunk the size of their balance sheets to meet the higher capital-adequacy requirements. Worries echoed at the early stage of Basel III compilation, namely that commercial banks would shrink their balance sheet by reducing their lending to meet stricter capital requirements, did materialize only in banks struggling with profitability.
This paper discusses key findings and recommendations of the Technical Assistance report on establishing a spending review process in Slovenia. Slovenia’s fragile fiscal situation requires further consolidation to ensure that the upward trajectory of public debt does not threaten long-term fiscal sustainability. Spending in the education sector is the fourth-highest spending level. Spending pressures also need to be explicitly identified, quantified, and included in the spending review to better inform the government’s decision making process. There is also a need to update existing performance information associated with government expenditure programs to ensure that more meaningful information focused on achieving desired outcomes is developed to better inform future reviews.
This Selected Issues paper examines inflation dynamics in Bulgaria from January 2012 to February 2015 and highlights some stylized facts about inflation in the country. January 2012 to February 2015 is the most relevant period for identifying factors contributing to recent deflation in Bulgaria, as well as their relative importance. Regression analysis suggests that during this period the inward spillover of low inflationary pressure from the European Union to Bulgaria has been the most significant factor, which was further exacerbated by consecutive electricity price cuts in 2013 and fast-falling global commodity prices, especially since late 2014.
The spike in Slovenian inflation in 2007–08 has shown how structural bottlenecks may hamper Slovenian growth in the future. This Selected Issues paper investigates the role of supply factors and demand-side effects in explaining this surge. The paper concludes that the spike in Slovenian inflation in 2007–08 was a consequence of cost-push and demand-pull factors. The supply-side factors, including the spike in commodity prices and demand-pull factors related to the business cycle, explained approximately two-thirds of the surge.
This Selected Issues paper for Romania reports that the practice of nonpayment and arrears accumulation has been widespread in Romania. Managers of enterprises that remain in the pipeline for privatization for long periods of time have little incentive to reduce arrears. The state contributed to growth of arrears by accepting nonmonetary tax and utility payments, using tax offsets in procurement, and tolerating payment arrears. These practices have been prevalent at all levels of state and local government, as well as state utility companies.
Poverty risk is most marked for children, displaced persons and returnees, unemployed, and people with low education. Basic goals of the macroeconomic framework of the mid-term development strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina are to reduce the overall public expenditures, lower the public debt, and to bring the current account deficit to a sustainable level through fiscal consolidation. The strategy is to attract more foreign investment, create conditions for a more efficient privatization process, and to ensure new cycles of donor assistance.