Posted on September 10, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Bas B. Bakker and Christoph Klingen
With all eyes on the euro area, it is easy to forget that only a few years ago the emerging economies of Europe, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, went through a deep economic and financial crisis. This crisis is the topic of a new book that we will introduce to the public this week in Bucharest, London, and Vienna.
One lesson is that your best chance to prevent deep crises is forcefully addressing booms before they get out of hand. Another is that even crises that look abysmal can be contained and overcome— policies to adjust the economy and international financial support do work.
In the half decade leading up to the crisis, easy global financial conditions, confidence in a rapid catch-up with western living standards, and initially underdeveloped financial sectors spawned a tremendous domestic demand boom in the region. Western banking groups bankrolled the bonanza, providing their eastern subsidiaries with the funds to extend the loans that fueled the domestic boom. (more…)
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: Baltics, Bucharest, Bulgaria, credit growth, crisis, debt, economic growth, emerging economies, Estonia, euro area, Europe, London, non-performing loans, Poland, Vienna Initiative | 9 Comments »
Posted on July 27, 2012 by iMFdirect
by Nemat Shafik
Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe has been through a lot. In two short decades, the region moved from a communist planned system to a market economy, and living standards have converged towards those in the West.
It has also weathered major crises: first the break-up of the old Soviet system in the early 1990s, then the Russian financial crisis in 1998, and finally the recent global economic crisis. How did these countries do it?
From the Baltic to the Balkans, the region’s resilience and flexibility are the result of hard work and adaptability. But more than anything, it is the strong institutions built over the last two decades that have enhanced the region’s ability to deal with the momentous challenges of the past, the present—and those to come.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: capacity building, communism, eastern Europe, Estonia, euro zone, global economic crisis, governance, grwoth, Hungary, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Joint Vienna Institute, Latvia, living standards, Nemat Shafik, Poland, privatization, Romania, technical assistance, trade liberalization, Ukraine, Vienna Initiative | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 6, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Mauricio Soto
We’re all getting older, and there’s no doubt that pension reform is a hot topic in the advanced economies. But it’s also critical in emerging economies.
Our analysis here at the IMF shows that across emerging economies pension spending is projected to rise as the population ages. On average, these spending increases are not that large. But reforms are needed to increase coverage of the system without making pension systems financially unsustainable over the long term.
In emerging Europe, we’ve seen how pension spending has increased from 7½ to 9 percent of GDP over the past two decades. Spending also increased rapidly in other emerging economies—albeit from much lower levels—going from 2 to 3 percent of GDP over the same period. It seems the relatively low spending in emerging economies outside Europe reflects relatively low coverage (generally only those in the formal sector are eligible) and younger populations.
Populations are aging rapidly in the emerging economies. As illustrated in Chart 1, a rather grim picture is developing where we see that the ratio of elderly to working population will more than double in the next four decades. In the future, there will be many more retirees consuming what fewer workers will produce.
Filed under: Africa, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, growth, Inequality, Latin America, Middle East, Public debt | Tagged: Asia, Bulgaria, Chile, Estonia, Hungary, pensions, Poland, retirement, spending | 11 Comments »
Posted on October 21, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Bas Bakker
(Versions in Español and Français )
As the crisis in Europe deepens, it is worth asking how it all went wrong in the first place. In the past decade there have been stark differences in per capita GDP growth in Europe. Growth rates have ranged from close to zero in Italy and Portugal to more than 4 percent in the best performers. Why do some countries in Europe grow much faster than others? And how can those falling behind catch up before it is too late?
In part, these differences reflect “convergence”. It is much easier for poor countries to grow faster than it is for rich countries because they can import technology they do not already have. It is much more difficult to grow fast if you are already rich and at the technology frontier—now you can only get richer by innovation.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: Austria, banking financial system, convergence, economic policy, Europe, fiscal consolidation, fiscal deficits, GDP, Germany, Greece, growth, imbalances, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Italy, labor markets, Poland, Portugal, public finances, reforms, regulation, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, tax reform, the Netherlands, unemployment | 14 Comments »
Posted on February 24, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Marek Belka
(Version in ελληνικά)
Let’s think now about some of the lessons from the global economic crisis for Europe’s policymakers. In my previous five blogs, I’ve discussed the challenges faced by both advanced and emerging European economies as we emerge from the acute phase of the crisis. The questions I attempted to answer have included: In what shape and form will European integration survive the crisis? Will eastern Europe be able to sustain its remarkable catching up with living standards in western Europe?
For my final blog in this series on iMFdirect, I have decided to add a personal touch and draw on my experience as a former policymaker. So while this article builds on the previous five posts, it goes beyond them and includes some highly subjective comments on what lessons I believe the reformers in eastern Europe should take away from the crisis. And, although my primary focus is on countries outside the eurozone, it is clear that the eurozone will need to address long-term challenges, as I pointed out in my post After the Crisis, Much Still at Stake for Eurozone.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF | Tagged: banks, capital controls, capital flows, crisis lessons, Czech Republic, Estonia, eurozone, Marek Belka, Poland, Romania | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 19, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Marek Belka
Conventional wisdom has been that capital flows are a blessing to emerging economies, bringing needed funds to countries where investments are most productive. But if history is any guide, capital flows have proven to be highly volatile—surging in good times and collapsing in gloomy ones.
The global financial crisis has renewed the debate over the desirability of capital flows to emerging economies. Adding fuel to this debate is the fact that two of the world’s largest emerging economies—China and India—have experienced strong growth and relatively limited fallout from the crisis, all the while maintaining hefty restrictions on the flow of foreign capital.
What can be done to ensure that emerging economies still benefit from productive foreign capital, while reducing the risks associated with highly volatile flows? Can we throw out the bathwater, but keep the baby?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial regulation | Tagged: capital controls, China, European Union, exchange rates, fiscal policy, foreign currency lending, G-20, India, Marek Belka, Poland, reserves | 5 Comments »