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 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Romania recorded strong economic growth in 2017, with record low unemployment and an improving financial sector. Private consumption boosted by fiscal stimulus and wage increases led the strong growth, while investment lagged and structural reforms slowed. Public investment fell to a multi-year low in percent of GDP with a low absorption of European Union funds. Both the government deficit and current account deficit widened, respectively to 2.8 and 3.4 percent of GDP in 2017. Growth is expected to reach 5 percent in 2018—led again by continuing stimulus to private consumption from fiscal relaxation—and accompanied by a current account deficit and elevated inflation, even as monetary policy is tightened.
This paper discusses Romania’s Ex-Post Evaluation of Exceptional Access under the 2013 Stand-by Arrangement. Romania experienced strong economic growth in 2016, resulting in a closed output gap. Private consumption was boosted by an expansionary and procyclical fiscal policy and wage increases. The cyclically adjusted budget deficit grew by 1.5 percent of GDP in 2016, reflecting large tax rate cuts and wage increases. Growth is expected to reach 4.2 percent in 2017—supported by continued stimulus to private consumption from a new round of fiscal relaxation and wage increases—and to moderate to 3.5 percent in the medium term.
This Selected Issues paper quantifies the short- and medium-term growth effects of major ongoing highway and railway projects in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A standard neoclassical growth model is augmented with public capital to capture both demand and supply-side effects of public infrastructure investments. The calibrated model suggests that the four ongoing highway and railway investments of 2–3 percent of GDP annually for 2014–18 are likely to raise the growth rate of real GDP by 0.5 percentage points on average for each year in 2014–20. Enhancing public investment efficiency can increase growth effects up to 0.8 percentage points.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, outlook, and risks related to the Romanian economy. Romania made important progress in addressing economic imbalances and restoring growth after the global financial crisis. Prudent policies, partly in the context of successive IMF-supported programs, reduced vulnerabilities, and the fiscal and current account deficits improved markedly. However, economic policies have weakened recently and hard-won gains are at risk of being reversed. Governance problems have received more attention recently, and Romania has made progress compared to its peers in the fight against corruption. Staff’s baseline projection is for growth to remain above potential in 2016–17.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Romania’s economic recovery has become more entrenched and broad based, with private consumption picking up on the back of rising real disposable income. At the same time, inflation has decelerated substantially over the past two years and a negative output gap persists. The banking sector has considerably reduced nonperforming loans, though they remain high, and private sector credit has fallen since 2013. Growth is projected to remain robust in a low inflation environment. Raising growth prospects over the longer term requires continuity of sustainable macroeconomic policies, underpinned by stronger fiscal and regulatory institutions, and a more stable and predictable business environment, which is crucial for investor confidence.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Portugal’s practices meet most of the principles of the revised Fiscal Transparency Code at good or advanced levels. A number of areas still present practices at a basic level, but in most of these cases this reflects reforms that have recently been launched and have not yet been fully implemented so as to affect current practices. Indeed, if measured against the practices observed prior to the recent financial crisis, there has been remarkable progress. The challenge is to press ahead with the reform agenda so that all fiscal transparency practices meet good or advanced levels, thus strengthening even further the management of public finances and the associated risks. The key findings of the present Fiscal Transparency Evaluation are: • Fiscal reporting is in line with good or advanced practices, particularly in compliance with EU requirements and ESA 95 standards, but still lacks a sound conceptual accounting framework based on internationally accepted standards. • Fiscal forecasting and budgeting have improved over the last three years, although investment evaluation only meets the basic standard of the Code. • Reporting of fiscal risks is in its infancy and in spite of numerous initiatives undertaken in the last few years, such as the publication of a fiscal risk statement, remains fragmented. The large amount and good quality of information available allows a very preliminary and partial estimate of the public sector net worth and total risk exposure. An estimated negative net worth position of 140 percent of GDP (including the liabilities of the main defined-benefits employment-related pension scheme) and a sizeable exposure to various contingent liabilities, although some of these have a low probability of crystallizing, are reminders of the still fragile status of Portugal’s public finances.