This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Belgian economy has shown considerable resilience but the outlook is weighed down by weak demand in Europe. Healthy private balance sheets, integration with Germany, and employment support schemes have helped sustain employment and economic activity. However, output is still well below potential and with, subdued growth prospects, job creation remains insufficient. Fiscal adjustment is expected to resume after a pause in 2014. The pace of adjustment targeted by the authorities for 2015–16 is appropriate given the level of debt and related risks.
The Netherlands is an AAA euro area (EA) economy with significant private sector imbalances. The main policy challenge is to restore growth and manage downside risks while allowing for an orderly adjustment of private sector balance sheets. A focus on medium-term objectives will cement policy credibility and mitigate uncertainty. The financial system must reduce its dependence on wholesale financing, and banks reliant on public sector support need to wind down this support. Reforms in the labor markets and human capital will be important in safeguarding the economy’s growth potential.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and has employed its spare capacity to help stabilize the global oil market, providing important support to the global economy. The associated increase in oil revenues has resulted in sharply higher fiscal and current account surpluses and provided room to accelerate initiatives to address pressing social issues, including a shortage of affordable housing and unemployment. Spillovers from higher growth and fiscal spending, together with increased financial assistance, have positively impacted the region.
This Selected Issues Paper on Belgium provides an overview of the extent of trade and financial openness of Belgium and the links to particular countries. With an export-to-GDP ratio of 79 percent, Belgium belongs to the most open economies in Europe and also globally. Its exports are highly concentrated with a share of three-fourths of total merchandise exports accounted for by the European Union, of which close to two-thirds go to Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
Moldova’s near-term outlook is aimed at slowing growth and receding inflation, but the deteriorating external environment and the fragile political situation poses significant downside risks. The main drivers of growth are private consumption, investment, and exports, fuelled by remittances and rising credit, which is reflected in the improving business climate. Weak tax collection and expenditure overruns resulted in missing the performance criterion on the general government budget deficit by 0.4 percent of GDP. The indicative target on reducing general government expenditure arrears was missed marginally owing to underpayment of heating bills by the Chisinau municipality.