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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Economic activity in Europe has slowed on the back of weakness in trade and manufacturing. For most of the region, the slowdown remains externally driven. However, some signs of softer domestic demand have started to appear, especially in investment. Services and domestic consumption have been buoyant so far, but their resilience is tightly linked to labor market conditions, which, despite some easing, remain robust. Expansionary fiscal policy in many countries, and looser financial conditions, have also supported domestic demand. On balance, Europe’ s growth is projected to decline. A modest recovery is forecast for 2020 as global trade is expected to pick up and some economies recover from past stresses. This projection, broadly unchanged from the April 2019 World Economic Outlook, masks significant differences between advanced and emerging Europe. Growth in advanced Europe has been revised down, while growth in emerging Europe has been revised up. Amid high uncertainty, risks remain to the downside, with a no-deal Brexit the key risk in the near term. An intensification of trade tensions and related uncertainty could also dampen investment. More broadly, the weakness in trade and manufacturing could spread to other sectors—notably services—faster and to a greater extent than currently envisaged. Other risks stem from abrupt declines in risk appetite, financial vulnerabilities, the re-emergence of deflationary pressures in advanced economies, and geopolitics.

Sangyup Choi, Davide Furceri, and Mr. Prakash Loungani
Central bankers often assert that low inflation and anchoring of inflation expectations are good for economic growth (Bernanke 2007, Plosser 2007). We test this claim using panel data on sectoral growth for 22 manufacturing industries for 36 advanced and emerging market economies over the period 1990-2014. Inflation anchoring in each country is measured as the response of inflation expectations to inflation surprises (Levin et al., 2004). We find that credit constrained industries—those characterized by high external financial dependence and R&D intensity and low asset tangibility—tend to grow faster in countries with well-anchored inflation expectations. The results are robust to controlling for the interaction between these characteristics and a broad set of macroeconomic variables over the sample period, such as financial development, inflation, the size of government, overall economic growth, monetary policy counter-cyclicality and the level of inflation. Importantly, the results suggest that it is inflation anchoring and not the level of inflation per se that has a significant effect on average industry growth. Finally, the results are robust to IV techniques, using as instruments indicators of monetary policy transparency and independence.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper analyzes a very large database of corporate financial statements and ownership information published by Bureau van Dyck, to compare the profitability of German-owned firms located in Germany with that of German-owned firms located outside of Germany. The study relies on data for all nonfinancial, nonmining firms in the Orbis universe that are incorporated in a European country, have average annual sales of at least USD 25 million during 2006–2014, and have financial information available for each year during that period. Orbis coverage is generally considered to be good for continental European countries. For Germany, the coverage in our raw data is between 45 and 55 percent of total sales, using data published in Deutsche Bundesbank (2016) as a reference. The pattern in nonmanufacturing nonretail/wholesale sectors broadly follows that of manufacturing. The only difference is that German-owned firms that are not part of a multinational group are less profitable than their multinational peers, at least in the balanced sample.
Mr. Robert Dippelsman, Venkat Josyula, and Eric Métreau
There are two approaches for producing volume estimates of GDP, fixed base year and annual chaining. While most advanced economies have adopted the chain-linked approach in the past twenty years, some African countries are hesitant to do so, in part because of the computation and data requirements, and resource constraints. What difference does this make for the accuracy of the growth rates? From detailed data provided by three Sub-Saharan African countries we run simulations and conclude that the differences of GDP growth using the two approaches are small and do not behave in the consistent way found in advanced countries. We also show that weak deflation techniques and overly aggregated classifications used to derive volume measures can lead to large distortions. We conclude that improved deflation techniques and detailed classification should be addressed before adopting chain linking.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Barbados’ economy is estimated to have contracted by 0.7 percent in 2013, with weakness across both the traded and non-traded sectors. The 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that long stay tourist arrivals, which are highly dependent on the U.K. and North American markets, were down by 5.2 percent in 2013. Inflation dropped sharply to 1.9 percent by end-November, although unemployment rose to 11.7 percent. Foreign reserves declined during 2013 to close out the year at US$578 million. The financial system appears to be well capitalized, but credit quality and profitability have suffered with the prolonged downturn.

Mr. Rabah Arezki, Mr. Daniel Lederman, and Mr. Hongyan Zhao

Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.

International Monetary Fund
Strong policies, resilient markets, and an improved external environment have helped Singapore tide over the recession. Singapore has a strong track record of proactive and forward-looking economic policymaking. Fiscal policy has regained its traditional medium-term orientation. Official reserve accumulation has to be kept under review. Social safety nets are well placed. Singapore’s exchange rate regime continues to serve the economy well, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s exchange-rate-centered monetary framework has been an important source of stability in times of economic turbulence.
International Monetary Fund

In Lithuania, the case for complementing the on going fiscal adjustment with revenue measures is strong. In addition to supporting the adjustment, options to raise revenue need to be tailored to enhance growth and export competitiveness. International and empirical evidence suggest important scope for revenue-enhancing tax reforms in Lithuania. Lithuania is in a position to rebalance growth towards exports. Executive Directors suggest a broad tax reform strategy that could raise revenue and tax new revenue sources while supporting growth, competitiveness, and equity to substantially bolster revenues.

Mary Amiti Caroline Freund

The September 2007 issue of F&D looks at the growth of cities and the trend toward urbanization. Within the next year, for the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world's population will be living in urban rather than rural areas. What are the economic implications of this urban revolution? Economists generally agree that urbanization, if handled well, holds great promise for higher growth and a better quality of life. But as the lead article tells us, the flip side is also true: if handled poorly, urbanization could not only impede development but also give rise to slums. Other articles in this series look at poverty as an urban phenomenon in the developing world and the development of megacities and what this means for governance, funding, and the provision of services. Another group of articles discusses the challenge of rebalancing growth in China. 'People in Economics' profiles Harvard economist Robert Barro; 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Mexico, and 'Back to Basics' takes a look at real exchange rates.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper for Canada presents comprehensive and broad-based analysis of the role of domestic and external shocks. Canada’s economic history illustrates the important role played by external as well as domestic macroeconomic disturbances. Canada’s economy slowed in 2001 because of the global slowdown, although by less than in many other countries. In 2003, the recovery has been interrupted by a series of shocks that moderated growth. Fluctuations in Canadian real GDP are explained by external and domestic cycles.