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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that the continued structural reforms are key to ensure long-term prosperity, while strengthening the economy’s resilience to shocks. Effective implementation of the recently enacted reforms of vocational training, apprenticeship, and adult education would help address skill shortages, support employment of younger and older people, and boost productivity growth. Macro-financial legacy issues remain in bank and corporate balance sheets, including small and medium enterprises’ nonperforming loans. Structural challenges persist with low productivity growth, skills shortages, high tax wedge, heavy regulatory system, and extensive presence of state-owned enterprises. Policies should focus on fiscal and structural reforms to rebuild fiscal buffers and increase productivity. Slovenia’s external position in 2018 is assessed as substantially stronger than suggested by fundamentals and desirable policies; however the current account is expected to revert toward its norm in the medium term. Continued structural reforms are key to ensure long-term prosperity, while strengthening the economy’s resilience to shocks. Effective implementation of the recently enacted reforms of vocational training, apprenticeship, and adult education would help address skill shortages, support employment of younger and older people, and boost productivity growth.
Uwe Böwer
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.
Mr. Johannes Wiegand
When the euro was introduced in 1998, one objective was to create an alternative global reserve currency that would grant benefits to euro area countries similar to the U.S. dollar’s “exorbitant privliege”: i.e., a boost to the perceived quality of euro denominated assets that would increase demand for such assets and reduce euro area members’ funding costs. This paper uses risk perceptions as revelaed in investor surveys to extract a measure of privilege asscociated with euro membership, and traces its evolution over time. It finds that in the 2000s, euro area assets benefited indeed from a significant perceptions premium. While this premium disappeared in the wake of the euro crisis, it has recently returned, although at a reduced size. The paper also produces time-varying estimates of the weights that investors place on macro-economic fundmentals in their assessments of country risk. It finds that the weights of public debt, the current account and real growth increased considerably during the euro crisis, and that these shifts have remained in place even after the immediate financial stress subsided.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper takes the case of Slovenia to analyze credit growth and economic recovery in Europe. The findings reveal that following the global financial crisis recovery in Slovenia significantly lags typical postrecession recoveries for both typical and financial-crisis-driven recessions. Credit dynamics have also been much more subdued. Controlling for Slovenia’s double-dip recession and the slowdown in global growth after the global financial crisis reveals that Slovenia’s recovery is not atypical. The cross-country study also finds that bank-specific factors are the key determinants of bank lending. Bank credit to the private sector also has a positive but modest impact on economic activity, mainly through the investment channel.