This 2019 Article IV Consultation highlights that Finland’s economy has performed well over the past three years, however, has slowed in 2019. There are some vulnerabilities in household finances, and productivity growth remains weak, with trend growth also constrained by adverse demographics. A new coalition government targets greater social support and inclusion, higher employment, carbon neutrality by 2035, and a balanced budget by 2023. A key challenge is to balance plans to increase spending with the need to maintain fiscal buffers. The fiscal expansion is expected to provide useful cyclical support in the short run, but offsetting measures will be required to ensure the structural balance reaches the government’s medium-term target. The government aims for a substantial increase in employment, but the effectiveness of the proposed wage subsidies is unclear. Alternatively, incentives from tax and benefit schedules could be improved, especially for younger women, older workers, and those out of the workforce. Risks in the banking system remain low overall, but some types of lending are increasing household vulnerabilities. The recent recommendation to limit the ratio of household debt to income is both sensible and in line with steps taken in many other countries.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
This report examines whether the IMF has effectively leveraged an important asset: data. It finds that in general, the IMF has been able to rely on a large amount of data of acceptable quality, and that data provision from member countries has improved markedly over time. Nonetheless, problems with data or data practices have, at times, adversely affected the IMF’s surveillance and lending activities. The roots of data problems are diverse, ranging from problems due to member countries’ capacity constraints or reluctance to share sensitive data to internal issues such as lack of appropriate staff incentives, institutional rigidities, and long-standing work practices. Efforts to tackle these problems are piecemeal, the report finds, without a clear comprehensive strategy that recognizes data as an institutional strategic asset, not just a consumption good for economists. The report makes a number of recommendations that could promote greater progress in this regard.
The framework guiding the IMF’s communications—established by the Executive Board in 2007—has enabled the institution to respond flexibly to the changing global context. The framework is based on four guiding principles: (i) deepening understanding and support for the Fund’s role and policies; (ii) better integrating communications into the IMF’s daily operations; (iii) raising the impact of new communications materials and technologies; and (iv) rebalancing outreach efforts to take account of different audiences. In addition, greater emphasis has been placed on strengthening internal communications to help ensure institutional coherence in the Fund’s outreach activities.
Continued efforts are needed to strengthen communications going forward. Several issues deserve particular attention. First, taking further steps to ensure clarity and consistency in communication in a world where demand for Fund services continues to rise. Second, doing more to assess the impact of IMF communications and thus better inform efforts going forward. Third, engaging strategically and prudently with new media—including social media.
This paper presents details of Austria’s 2013 Article IV Consultation. Austria has been growing economically but is facing challenges in the financial sector. Full implementation of medium-term fiscal adjustment plans require specifying several measures and plans that need gradual strengthening to take expected further bank restructuring cost into account. It suggests that strong early bank intervention and resolution tools, a better designed deposit insurance system, and a bank-financed resolution fund would help reduce the need for budgetary support to any troubled banks in the future.
This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes data module provides an assessment of Germany’s macroeconomic statistics against the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by an assessment of data quality based on the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework. The assessment reveals that Germany is currently in observance of the SDDS. It meets the SDDS specifications for coverage, periodicity, and timeliness for all data categories. The SDDS data categories are disseminated on Germany’s National Summary Data Page, which is hyperlinked on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board, and is updated on a timely basis.
The report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) data module provides a review of France’s data dissemination practices against the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by an in-depth assessment of the quality of six sets of macroeconomic statistics: national accounts, consumer price and producer price indices, government finance statistics, monetary statistics, and balance of payments statistics. Then, it presents recommendations to achieve improvements in the framework. Serviceability focuses on aspects of datasets, and accessibility deals with the availability of information to users.
As will become apparent in the assessments, Norway’s membership in the European Statistical System shapes Norwegian official statistics and statistical policy in a number of ways. Norway produces and disseminates a significant share of its data consistent with the legal requirements of the system. Norway’s macroeconomic statistics are of generally high quality. They are adequate to conduct effective surveillance, although the mission (held in Oslo during November 11–26, 2002, by the IMF Statistics Department) identified some shortcomings that may detract from the accurate and timely analysis of economic and financial developments and the formulation of appropriate policy.
This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) data module provides a review of Italy’s data dissemination practices against the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by an in-depth assessment of the quality of national accounts, consumer price index, producer price inde