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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
Report prepared by Jack Boorman, Former Director of the Policy Development and Review Department and Teresa Ter-Minassian, former Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF: This report summarizes the views of a representative sample of country authorities on IMF surveillance.
International Monetary Fund
In light of the multilateral effort to ensure the adequacy of the financial resources available to the International Monetary Fund (the “Fund”), and with a view to supporting the Fund’s ability to provide timely and effective balance of payments assistance to its members, the Bank of Slovenia agrees to lend to the Fund an SDR-denominated amount up to the equivalent of EUR 280 million, on the terms and conditions set out in this paper.
Ms. Katerina Smídková, Jan Babecky, and Mr. Ales Bulir
The Great Recession affected export and import patterns in our sample countries, and these changes, coupled with a more volatile external environment, have profound impact on our estimates of real exchange rate misalignments and projections of sustainable real exchange rates. We find that real misalignments in several countries with pegged exchange rates and excessive external liabilities widened relative to earlier estimates. While countries with balanced net trade positions are expected to continue to experience appreciation during 2010-2014, several currencies are likely to require real depreciation to maintain sustainable net external debt. Our estimates point to somewhat larger disequilibria than those of IMF country teams, however, any estimates of equilibrium exchange rates are subject to sizable uncertainty.
Ms. Florence Jaumotte and Piyaporn Sodsriwiboon
The paper examines the causes, consequences, and potential cures of the large current account deficits in the Southern Euro Area (SEA). These were mostly driven by a decline in private saving rates. But it was the European Monetary Union and the Euro, which enabled these countries to maintain investment rates, and thus run larger current account deficits, by improving their access to the international pool of saving. The paper finds that the deficits in SEA in 2008 were larger than can be explained by fundamentals, though the situation varies substantially across countries. It also finds that although the global financial crisis has started to force some unwinding, the current account deficits are expected to remain high in the medium run, though again with substantial variation across countries. The paper argues these large external deficits pose risks to the economy and therefore matter, even in a currency union, and discusses some policy options to reduce them.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) reports that GDP per capita in BiH is similar to that in neighboring Balkan countries. BiH risks are falling behind rather than catching up with other transition economies in terms of its economic development. This could delay the process of convergence to and integration with the European Union, including its ambitions to eventually adopt the euro. Accelerated structural reforms and macroeconomic stability remain key to achieving higher and sustained growth rates.
International Monetary Fund
This paper explores inflation determinants within the EU and implications for new members' euro adoption plans. Factor analysis partitions observed inflation in EU25 countries into common-origin and country-specific (idiosyncratic) components. Cross-country differences in common-origin inflation within the EU are found to depend on gaps in the initial price level, changes in the nominal effective exchange rate, the quality of institutions, and the economy's flexibility. Idiosyncratic inflation is generally small in magnitude. Nonetheless, the results show that country-specific shocks have systematically pushed down headline inflation, potentially influencing the assessment of compliance with the Maastricht inflation criterion.
International Monetary Fund
Of the new members entering the European Union (EU) in May 2004, several had achieved a decade of impressive export growth, expanding significantly their shares of world markets. The empirical analysis shows that over the period 1994–2004, quality and technology upgrading associated with the structural transformation were, indeed, also associated with increased market share. Several bivariate relationships to motivate an empirical framework for analyzing the evolution of market shares are ascribed. It gives the basic regressions explaining the changes in market shares for 58 countries.
Ms. Susan M Schadler

Abstract

Eight central and eastern European countries--the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia--officially joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004. This auspicious milestone marked the beginning of the next major step for these countries in their move toward full integration with the EU-adoption of the euro. Seeking to consider the opportunities and challenges of euro adoption, the papers in this volume--by a noted group of country officials, academics, representatives of international institutions, and market participants-offer insight on the various dimensions of euro adoption in these eight new EU members--how they should prepare, whether an early move is optimal, and what pitfalls may occur along the way.

Ms. Katerina Smídková and Mr. Ales Bulir
Estimation and simulation of sustainable real exchange rates in some of the new EU accession countries point to potential difficulties in sustaining the ERM2 regime if entered too soon and with weak policies. According to the estimates, the Czech, Hungarian, and Polish currencies were overvalued in 2003. Simulations, conditional on large-model macroeconomic projections, suggest that under current policies those currencies would be unlikely to stay within the ERM2 stability corridor during 2004-10. In-sample simulations for Greece, Portugal, and Spain indicate both a much smaller misalignment of national currencies prior to ERM2, and a more stable path of real exchange rates over the medium term than can be expected for the new accession countries.