As other emerging economies reliant on tourism (about 25 percent total contribution of tourism-related industries in GDP and employment), Croatia has been hit hard by the pandemic and two devastating earthquakes, leading the economy to contract by 8.0 percent in 2020. Vaccinations have been rolled out to about 38 percent of the population (end-June 2021). Staff projects growth to bounce back to 5.4 percent in 2021, driven by a rebound in the services sector and investment, aided by fiscal and monetary policies, and bolstered by large EU grants over the medium-term.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Croatia discusses that it experienced its fifth consecutive year of solid economic growth, once again driven largely by private consumption and tourism. Employment gains have been robust, wages have continued to rise, while import prices have helped to keep inflation muted. Increased absorption of European Union funds is likely to raise public investment in the coming years. In conjunction with continued strong consumption, the current account surplus is expected to decline, and turn into a moderate deficit, while economic growth moderates. Both public and external indebtedness are expected to continue their declining trajectories. The pace of fiscal consolidation in 2019 continued to slow, with the budget estimated to be close to balance. Contingent liabilities could also pressure budget balances in the coming years.
Hours worked vary widely across countries and over time. In this paper, we investigate the role played by taxation in explaining these differences for EU New Member States. By extending a standard growth model with novel data on consumption and labor taxes, we assess the evolution of trends in hours worked over the 1995-2017 period. We find that the inclusion of tax rates in the model significantly improves the tracking of hours. We also estimate the elasticity of hours (and its different margins) to quantify the deadweight loss introduced by consumption and labor taxes. We find that these taxes explain a large share of labor supply differences across EU New Member States and that the potential gains from policy actions are noteworthy.
This Selected Issues paper explores how intersectoral vulnerabilities and risks have shifted over 2001–17, and especially after the Global Financial Crisis. It analyzes financial positions at the sectoral levels deposit taking institutions and non-financial corporations, households, the public sector, and the Croatian National Bank by disaggregating them into instruments, currencies, and maturities. The paper has employed balance sheet analysis (BSA) to gauge cross-sectional exposures and risks. The BSA approach is a method to study an economy as a system of interlinked sectoral balance sheets. The policies to reduce the remaining vulnerabilities have also been discussed in the paper. Standard macroeconomic indicators demonstrate that Croatia’s overall external vulnerabilities have declined since 2010. However, the balance sheet matrix shows little improvement in reduction of important cross-sectoral dependencies and liabilities to the rest of the world over 2010–17. One of the recommendations made is to encourage deleveraging through specific policy options and strategies.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic expansion continues, driven primarily by private consumption and exports of goods and services. Discussions primarily focused on increasing the economy’s flexibility and resilience. Fiscal performance has been strong, however, the materialization of contingent liabilities from government guarantees is likely to reduce the overall surplus. Low public and private investment, and continued emigration appear to weigh on medium-term growth prospects. Downside risks in the near-term stem could be due to possible changes in regional or global economic and financial conditions, and the further realization of contingent liabilities. The IMF staff advocated for a moderately faster fiscal adjustment. The report recommends accelerating the pace of debt reduction that would build fiscal space and help reduce downside risks. The Central Bank may need to address potentially tighter external conditions while continuing with strong bank supervision and macroprudential policies. Additional measures to prevent excessive household borrowing could be considered if needed.