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Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
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.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
Uwe Böwer
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.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
Mr. Xavier Debrun and Mr. Tidiane Kinda
Institutions aimed at constraining policy discretion to promote sound fiscal policies are once again at the forefront of the policy debate. Interest in “fiscal councils,” independent watchdogs active in the public debate, has grown rapidly in recent years. This paper presents the first cross-country dataset summarizing key characteristics of fiscal councils among IMF members. The data documents a surge in the number of fiscal councils since the crisis. It also illustrates that well-designed fiscal councils are associated with stronger fiscal performance and better macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts. Key features of effective fiscal councils include operational independence from politics, the provision or public assessment of budgetary forecasts, a strong presence in the public debate, and the monitoring of compliance with fiscal policy rules.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the 2008 Article IV Consultation of Romania reviews the issues to tighten fiscal policy, putting less of the stabilization burden on the fledgling inflation-targeting framework. GDP growth has remained strong, underpinned by massive capital inflows. Executive Directors observed that large capital inflows related to Romania’s accession to the European Union, compounded by procyclical fiscal policies, have contributed to booms in domestic demand and credit and emerging capacity constraints. They recommended that structural reform efforts be relaunched to support per capita income convergence to EU levels.