This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that San Marino’s economy rebounded in 2016, on the back of recovering domestic demand and important gains in employment. However, the growth momentum slowed in 2017 amid financial sector uncertainties around a sizable loss at the largest bank and a closure of a small bank. Only moderate growth is projected in the near and medium term. The economy is projected to grow at 1.3 percent in 2018, driven by domestic demand. Private consumption is expected to recover gradually, and an externally financed investment project will add a significant boost to investment, which otherwise lacks support from the deleveraging banking sector.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the slow recovery of San Marino’s economy after a deep recession following a series of financial sector shocks. Growth resumed in 2015 and accelerated in 2016 to an estimated 1 percent, thanks to stronger domestic and external demand. Moderate growth is expected in the near and medium term. GDP growth is projected to reach 1.3 percent in the medium term, driven by continued expansion in nonfinancial industries and services. However, following the current trend, the pace of growth would not be strong enough to bring output to precrisis levels over the next five years as risks remain tilted to the downside.
Over the last half decade, San Marino’s economy has managed to weather the implosion of its offshore banking model, the global crisis, and Italy’s decision to put San Marino on a tax blacklist. Together, these shocks resulted in a loss of a third of output since 2008, caused banking system NPLs to rise to over 40 percent—with the largest bank requiring 13 percent of GDP in public support—and pushed up net public debt by some 20 percent of GDP (from virtually nil five years ago). Looking forward, the economy is stabilizing, reflecting the inclusion of San Marino in Italy’s tax whitelist, but downside risks persist.
In this study, the economic development and growth of San Marino are discussed. For liquidity management, the Central Bank of San Marino was commended. Different measures have been taken to enhance the operational autonomy of the Central Bank of San Marino (CBSM), buttress supervisory functions, and strengthen Antimoney Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). The goals to reduce the fiscal deficit are encouraged, but counseled that the credibility of fiscal plans would be enhanced by a better-articulated strategy. Cuts in public sector employment through attrition and reforms could be the key elements of this strategy.
Stress tests indicate that the main vulnerabilities of the banking sector of San Marino relate to deposit outflows or to a deterioration of credit quality, and these risks are particularly high for the largest bank. There is no effective mechanism to provide liquidity to banks. The nonbank financial sector in San Marino consists of just over 50 small companies, but has growth potential. The governing body of the Central Bank of San Marino (CBSM) should be subject to clearer and stronger accountability, and be more independent from the government.
Based on the request of the Central Bank of San Marino (CBSM), an assessment of San Marino’s compliance with the Basel Core Principles was undertaken in November 2009 in the context of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). The mission followed the 2006 Core Principles methodology. The banking sector dominates the financial sector. San Marino’s macroeconomic policy is generally sustainable. San Marino has engaged in a substantial economic reform effort since 2005 to increase market discipline. The CBSM should address governance issues in banks.
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that the global financial crisis, which began to affect the economy of San Marino in the second half of 2008, is likely to continue to do so in 2009–10. Short-term vulnerabilities in the financial sector have risen owing to exposure of the largest bank to a troubled Italian banking group and to liquidity pressures from a tax amnesty adopted by the Italian government. Executive Directors have commended the authorities for strengthening international cooperation in economic and financial matters.