The pandemic is inflicting much suffering, which has been met with swift, substantial, and well-coordinated policy responses. The anti-crisis measures have helped preserve jobs, provide liquidity to companies and income support to the vulnerable groups. They averted a larger decline in output and kept unemployment under control. After contracting by 5.5 percent in 2020, real GDP is projected to grow by 3.9 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022, as vaccinations help achieve herd immunity. However, risks to the outlook are large and tilted to the downside, given the epidemiological situation.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that the continued structural reforms are key to ensure long-term prosperity, while strengthening the economy’s resilience to shocks. Effective implementation of the recently enacted reforms of vocational training, apprenticeship, and adult education would help address skill shortages, support employment of younger and older people, and boost productivity growth. Macro-financial legacy issues remain in bank and corporate balance sheets, including small and medium enterprises’ nonperforming loans. Structural challenges persist with low productivity growth, skills shortages, high tax wedge, heavy regulatory system, and extensive presence of state-owned enterprises. Policies should focus on fiscal and structural reforms to rebuild fiscal buffers and increase productivity. Slovenia’s external position in 2018 is assessed as substantially stronger than suggested by fundamentals and desirable policies; however the current account is expected to revert toward its norm in the medium term. Continued structural reforms are key to ensure long-term prosperity, while strengthening the economy’s resilience to shocks. Effective implementation of the recently enacted reforms of vocational training, apprenticeship, and adult education would help address skill shortages, support employment of younger and older people, and boost productivity growth.
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.
When the euro was introduced in 1998, one objective was to create an alternative global reserve currency that would grant benefits to euro area countries similar to the U.S. dollar’s “exorbitant privliege”: i.e., a boost to the perceived quality of euro denominated assets that would increase demand for such assets and reduce euro area members’ funding costs. This paper uses risk perceptions as revelaed in investor surveys to extract a measure of privilege asscociated with euro membership, and traces its evolution over time. It finds that in the 2000s, euro area assets benefited indeed from a significant perceptions premium. While this premium disappeared in the wake of the euro crisis, it has recently returned, although at a reduced size. The paper also produces time-varying estimates of the weights that investors place on macro-economic fundmentals in their assessments of country risk. It finds that the weights of public debt, the current account and real growth increased considerably during the euro crisis, and that these shifts have remained in place even after the immediate financial stress subsided.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights Slovenia’s fourth year of steady economic recovery, following decisive measures to address a looming banking crisis in 2013. Output and employment have risen considerably. The external position has strengthened, reflecting robust exports and strong tourism. The financial system has substantially improved in the past few years. Rising domestic demand and continuing strong exports will support projected growth of about 3 percent in 2017. Over the medium term, economic growth will converge to the estimated potential GDP growth rate of 1.75 to 2.00 percent. Higher growth is possible if policies increase investment, reduce labor skills mismatches, and boost total factor productivity growth.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, outlook, and risks in Slovenia. Although strong demand in trading partners and large European Union structural fund transfers buoyed growth in 2014–15, the outlook is less reassuring. The short-term outlook is broadly balanced, while medium-term prospects are subject to downside risks. Significant structural reforms are needed to realize Slovenia’s growth potential, but political tensions and coalition discussions may affect their pace and ambition. Slovenia needs to avoid complacency; with more ambitious reforms, growth can be faster and more sustainable. Concrete measures need to be taken to address binding constraints on growth and reduce financial and fiscal vulnerabilities.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Slovenia is recovering from a deep crisis. Growth is estimated to have reached about 2.6 percent in 2014, supported by strong exports and EU-funded public investment. The financial sector has stabilized following recapitalization of the major banks by the state. Government bonds yields have declined markedly. Growth is projected at about 1.9 and 1.7 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively, with potential growth well below precrisis levels. Executive Directors welcomed the fact that Slovenia’s economy is recovering and commended the authorities for their efforts to mend the banking system, facilitate corporate debt restructuring, and consolidate the public finances.
By analysing data from January 2007 to December 2012 in a panel GLS error correction framework we find that European countries’ sovereign CDS spreads are largely driven by global investor sentiment, macroeconomic fundamentals and liquidity conditions in the CDS market. But the relative importance of these factors changes over time. While during the 2008/09 crisis weak economic fundamentals (such as high current account decifit, worsening underlying fiscal balances, credit boom), a drop in liquidity and a spike in risk aversion contributed to high spreads in Central and Eastern and South-Eastern European (CESEE) countries, a marked improvement in fundamentals (e.g. reduction in fiscal deficit, narrowing of current balances, gradual economic recovery) explains the region’s resilience to financial market spillovers during the euro area crisis. Our generalised variance decomposition analyisis does not suggest strong direct spillovers from the euro area periphery. The significant drop in the CDS spreads between July 2012 and December 2012 was mainly driven by a decline in risk aversion as suggested by the model’s out of sample forecasts.
This Information Annex highlights that Slovenia maintains an exchange system that is free of restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions, with the exception of exchange restrictions maintained for security reasons. Slovenian fiscal statistics are timely and high quality. The Ministry of Finance publishes a comprehensive monthly Bulletin of Government Finance, which presents monthly data on the operations of the state budget, local governments, social security, and the consolidated general government. The coverage of general government excludes the operations of extrabudgetary funds and general government agencies’ own revenues. However, these operations are small.
Slovenia, among other euro area countries, experienced the largest economic contraction since 2008. The performance of Slovenian banks deteriorated markedly in recent years as a result of the unfavorable operating environment and weak governance. Despite some deleveraging, banks continued to depend heavily on wholesale funding from abroad. Slovenia’s rebalancing required relying on supply-side policies, in particular, the labor market. With the banking system under pressure and the corporate sector highly leveraged, the Executive Board recommended strengthening the regulatory and supervisory frameworks.