This Selected Issues paper analyzes the main factors underlying the evolution of competitiveness, export performance, and labor market developments in Poland. The paper seeks to identify key questions of relevance for policymaking. The overall evolution of competitiveness compared with Poland’s trading partners and competitors since 1995 is analyzed using standard measures of the real effective exchange rate (REER). This paper also examines the role of foreign investors in financing domestically issued public debt in Poland.
The government has begun implementing an ambitious program of banking sector and enterprise reform in 1999. A key aspect of this program is the restructuring and privatization of three large state-owned banks. As a by-product of the bank restructuring, the bad assets carved out from the banks will be worked out, together with tax and social security arrears. The Slovak authorities have embarked on an ambitious task to deal with inherited weaknesses of the banking system. Now the challenge is to focus on the institutional improvement in banking supervision.
Poland stands out among transition economies as having experienced a relatively short and shallow contraction followed by sustained, vigorous growth. This paper examines various aspects of Poland’s growth performance from 1992 through 1998 at the macroeconomic level as well as across sectors and regions. It discusses the sources of Poland’s growth, showing that early in the decade, improved resource utilization was the paramount determinant, while factor accumulation, supported by rising foreign direct investment inflows, took on increasing importance in the later 1990s.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix examines external competitiveness and the exchange rate for the Slovak Republic. The paper describes two simple types of competitiveness indicators: (i) real effective exchange rate measures, which examine underlying fundamentals thought to influence external performance; and (ii) indicators of actual export performance. The results suggest that the unfavorable outcomes in the merchandise trade balance and the current account from 1996 to 1998 reflected, at least in part, competitiveness problems. The paper also presents an assessment of banking conditions and the supervision system in the Slovak Republic.
This paper examines the impact of the World Bank on the financial markets and developing countries. The sound financial structure of the Bank rests on its conservative loan-to-capital ratio. Its large liquidity is an assurance to investors in Bank bonds that their investments are assured of liquidity in case the need arises. To cope with their payments difficulties, the heavily indebted developing countries have adopted more cautious fiscal and monetary policies, limited wage increases, and reduced domestic consumption and investment.