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Ms. Deniz O Igan, Ali M. Kutan, and Ali Mirzae
We examine the association between capital inflows and industry growth in a sample of 22 emerging market economies from 1998 to 2010. We expect more external finance dependent industries in countries that host more capital inflows to grow disproportionately faster. This is indeed the case in the pre-crisis period of 1998–2007, and is driven by debt, rather than equity, inflows. We also observe a reduction in output volatility but this association is more pronounced for equity, rather than debt, inflows. These relationships, however, break down during the crisis, hinting at the importance of an undisrupted global financial system for emerging markets to harness the growth benefits of capital inflows. In line with this observation, we also document that the inflows-growth nexus is stronger in countries with well-functioning banks.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
KEY ISSUES 2014 marked the tenth anniversary of accession to the EU of the first group of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. The first NMS Policy Forum was launched in the fall of 2014 as a platform for discussing policy frameworks and issues relevant for non-euro area NMS. It brought together representatives of the six CEE countries that are EU members but are not yet in the euro area - Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania (NMS-6), as well as the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF. Discussions focused on four themes: Euro adoption: A once sizeable country risk premium associated with joining the euro area has mostly vanished, as the euro crisis has exposed flaws in the euro area’s institutional framework. Further, the crisis has illustrated both risks and benefits from adoption: monetary autonomy has proven helpful for absorbing shocks, while foreign currency mismatches—that can be much reduced with euro adoption—have shown to be a key vulnerability. Flexible labor markets, fiscal and macro-prudential policy space, and income convergence are prerequisites for successful adoption. Opting into the Banking Union (BU) before euro adoption: The lack of equal (or fully equivalent) treatment of the BU members and non-euro area opt-ins—regarding their role in the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), as well as access to common liquidity and fiscal backstops—makes opting into the BU before euro adoption less attractive. Countries that would benefit most from early opt-in are those that see the BU as a way to enhance the quality and credibility of bank supervision or to gain access to larger industry-funded common backstops. The EU’s fiscal framework and pension reform: In the wake of the crisis, many NMS abolished second pillar pension funds. Further reforms to the EU’s fiscal framework are warranted to remove disincentives for setting up and maintaining second pension pillars and, more generally, for structural reforms. Making the most of the EU single market and EU Services Directive: Structural reforms to strengthen human capital, skills match, labor market efficiency, and foreign investment environment will help NMS to reap full benefits from EU integration. Further liberalization of trade in services will likely benefit the NMS-6 more than other EU members.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Informational Annex highlights that the World Bank has been leading the policy dialogue in structural and institutional reforms aimed at Bulgaria’s successful European Union (EU) integration and convergence. The Country Partnership Strategy of the World Bank maintains a strong focus on Bulgaria making the most of its EU membership. It aims to partner with Bulgaria in strengthening national institutions and capacity to meet EU targets and in accelerating the absorption of EU grant funds. The World Bank also continues to undertake substantial knowledge and advisory services on policy reforms in selected sectors and themes of Bulgaria’s National Reform Program 2011–15, such as innovation, education, business regulation, transportation, water, climate change, and social inclusion.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Bulgaria did not have any exchange rate crisis, international bailout, bank intervention, or build-up of public debt. This attests to the strength of the policy framework and policy implementation. The fiscal adjustment achieved so far should be preserved, but improving the composition of the budget would support growth. The financial system is stable with high buffers, but the low growth environment poses challenges. Executive Directors suggest the need for some structural reforms.
Yuko Kinoshita
In the run up to the global crisis, countries in Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe attracted large capital inflows and some of them built up large external imbalances. This paper investigates whether these imbalances are linked to the sectoral composition of FDI. It shows that FDI in the tradable sectors leads to an improvement of the external balance. We also find that the countries with large market size, good infrastructure, greater trade integration, and educated labor force are more likely to receive more FDI in the tradable sectors.
Ms. Pritha Mitra
The recent boom-bust episode in Emerging Europe was largely the product of surges and sudden stops in capital inflows. This paper empirically argues that the sectors into which capital flows determines their impact on GDP growth. Applying data from EU New Member States, it is found that capital flows into real estate have a greater impact on swings in GDP than other sectors, irrespective of a country's exchange rate or fiscal policy. Consequently, as new waves of capital inflows spread to emerging markets, policies may usefully focus on supporting capital inflows towards economic sectors that minimize large swings in GDP.
Jesmin Rahman
This paper analyzes current account (CA) developments in the following 10 new EU members states: Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. During the last 15 years, these countries, on average, have run CA deficits that are considerably higher than the average CA deficit of other developing countries. However, more recently, a diverging pattern has emerged among these countries with one group, consisting of the Baltic countries, Bulgaria and Romania, experiencing rapid widening, while the others seeing a stabilization in their CA balances. Using panel data for 59 countries, this paper empirically investigates the following three questions: Are higher average deficits in EU-10 explained by medium-term macroeconomic fundamentals? What explains the diverging CA behavior among EU-10? And finally, how challenging is it for the group experiencing rapidly widening CA deficits to reverse the trend?
Mr. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti and Mr. Philip R. Lane
We examine the evolution of the net external asset positions of Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) countries over the past decade, with a strong emphasis on the composition of their international balance sheets. We assess the extent of their international financial integration, compared with the advanced economies and other emerging markets, and highlight the salient features of their external capital structure in terms of the relative importance of FDI, portfolio equity, and external debt. In addition, we briefly describe the country and currency composition of their external liabilities. Finally, we explore the implications of the accumulated stock of external liabilities for future trade and current account balances.
Ms. Nada Mora, Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, and Mr. Pietro Garibaldi
Between 1991 and 1999, capital flows to 25 transition economies in Europe and the former Soviet Union differed widely in terms of overall levels and the share and composition of private flows. With some exceptions (notably Russia), the main form of private inflows was foreign direct investment. Portfolio investment was volatile and concentrated in a handful of countries. Regressions show that direct investment can be well explained in terms of economic fundamentals, whereas the presence of a financial market infrastructure and a property-rights indicator are the only explanatory variables that seem to have had a robust effect on portfolio investment.