This 2010 Article IV Consultation discusses Czech Republic’s economic condition. The Czech economy’s fundamentals were strong prior to the global economic and financial crisis. However, owing to its highly open nature, the economy was hit by spillover effects. A downturn in the euro area depressed exports while investment declined owing to a drop in FDI and the tightening of banks’ lending standards. Monetary and fiscal easing provided helpful stimulus, thereby cushioning the economic downturn.
This paper assesses key aspects of Bulgaria’s competitiveness. The behavior of a variety of a real exchange rate indicators and export performance is also examined in this study. The Balassa–Samuelson effect refers to the impact of differential productivity growth rates in the tradables and nontradables sectors on the real exchange rate. The following statistical data are also included in detail: total and private agricultural production, income accounts, labor force, employment and unemployment, monetary survey, foreign assets of the banking system, and so on.
The paper assesses key aspects of Bulgaria's competitiveness. The challenge is to stay on course and persist with policies that will maintain and strengthen competitiveness. Implementation of the ambitious reform policy with respect to the pension and health care systems is required. The reasons for and implications of low bank credit to the private sector in Bulgaria, and measures to facilitate prudent credit growth are discussed. The statistical data on the economic indices of Bulgaria are also presented in the paper.
This paper briefly describes the factors constraining the social protection policies in the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union (BRO). The analysis considers public spending in social programs, including generalized subsidies for goods and consumer services, pensions, unemployment-related and social benefits, and education and health care. The paper then lists policies that can help mitigate the worsening living standards of the poor and the vulnerable in a fiscally sustainable manner.
This Selected Issues paper on Hungary describes the main factors behind the evolution of output in Hungary since 1990, and examines Hungary’s future growth prospects with specific focus on the role that structural and macroeconomic policies can play in enhancing those prospects. In this paper, the shortfall in growth relative to the other advanced transition economies is attributed to relatively slow progress with macroeconomic stabilization, stalled structural reform between 1993 and mid-1995, and specific features in the design of Hungary’s reform program. The paper also analyzes debt dynamics in Hungary.
The paper assesses the government expenditure effects from changing demographics in the Asian “Tiger” economies through 2050. With some exceptions, their limited social insurance commitments initially suggest that aging populations may not adversely affect fiscal balances. Yet for all the Tigers, changing illness patterns and medical modernization may combine with demographics to intensify budgetary pressures. The paper notes the implications of the Tigers’ reliance on private sector pension and medical insurance systems; the need for an active public role; and the complications for fiscal analysis when private sector instruments are used, in a mandatory way, as public policy instruments.
Pursuant to the Treaty of Maastricht, members of the European Union (EU) intend to participate in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), in part through convergence toward specified limits on the overall deficit and gross debt of general government. The paper argues that in several EU members, the financial imbalance of social security institutions may constitute an impediment to meeting these requirements. Given a constraint on further payroll tax increases, most countries will need to undertake major reform of public pension and health-care systems, to ensure adherence to the EMU fiscal criteria in the medium to long run.