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 10, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Marek Belka
As the deep recession in Europe’s emerging market countries finally comes to an end, the question on everyone’s minds is where growth in the region will come from in the years ahead. Exports are rebounding, and domestic demand is showing signs of stabilization. Most countries will see positive GDP growth this year—a stark difference from 2009. But a return to the high growth rates that preceded the crisis is highly unlikely.
An unbalanced picture
During the boom years, Eastern Europe grew rapidly, but growth in many countries was rather unbalanced. Capital inflows were large, but to a great extent went to the “non-tradable” sector—in particular, real estate, construction, and banking. Capital flows boosted domestic demand rather than supply—leading to a surge in imports, current account deficits that widened to unprecedented levels, and overheating economies.
This kind of growth will not come back. The domestic demand boom came to an end in the fall of 2008. In the global financial turmoil that followed the demise of Lehman Brothers, capital flows to Eastern Europe plunged, leading to a sharp decline in domestic demand. Further exacerbated by a decline in exports, this contributed a deep economic downturn—in the Baltics and Ukraine, GDP declined between 14 and 19 percent last year.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, recession | Tagged: Baltics, banking, Bulgaria, capital flows, construction, Czech Republic, Estonia, exports, labor force, Latvia, Lithuania, real estate, Romania, Slovak Republic, Ukraine | Leave a comment »