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Mr. Christian H Ebeke
The paper shows that investors value the adoption of structural reforms by lending at lower cost. The reform-induced reduction of long-term yields is bigger when reforms are initiated in good times and in countries facing high borrowing costs. Importantly, there is no statistical evidence that markets systematically punish countries that launch reforms concomitantly with fiscal stimulus. The paper also finds that the social context matters: structural reforms lead to a short-lived overshooting of yields when followed by strikes or lockouts. Controlling for endogeneity issues does not reject the central finding of the paper. These results are economically plausible and confirmed even after using sovereign credit ratings as an alternative dependent variable. These results have two main implications: (i) on average, labor market reforms lower borrowing costs; and (ii) country-specific circumstances also play a role.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Context. The recovery has strengthened and employment is increasing, driven by the rebound in consumption and investment. Reforms and strong policy implementation have supported the return of confidence, and significant external tailwinds are helping. However, the level of unemployment remains very high and without further reforms the growth momentum is expected to slow in the medium-term. This reflects still sizable public and private debt overhangs and persistent structural problems, including remaining impediments in the labor market and the low productivity of Spain’s many small firms. Policies. Sustaining the current high levels of growth and job creation over the medium term and further reducing vulnerabilities will require additional policy efforts. Key priorities include the following: Enhancing labor market performance. Maintaining wage growth in line with developments in productivity and external competitiveness, ensuring wages adequately reflect differing business conditions across firms, lowering duality, and enhancing the skills of the long-term unemployed will improve prospects for higher and more inclusive growth also in the medium term. Supporting growth of small firms. Removing obstacles for Spain’s many small firms to grow will allow them to benefit from economies of scale both in domestic and external markets and raise productivity. Facilitating private deleveraging. Continuing to reduce firm and, especially, household debt will foster investment and growth. Further strengthening the banking system will ensure that banks can support growth as credit demand recovers. Anchoring confidence. Sustaining a gradual and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation, well coordinated across all levels of governments, will help maintain strong market confidence and put public debt on a firmly declining path.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Slovenia is recovering from a deep crisis. Growth is estimated to have reached about 2.6 percent in 2014, supported by strong exports and EU-funded public investment. The financial sector has stabilized following recapitalization of the major banks by the state. Government bonds yields have declined markedly. Growth is projected at about 1.9 and 1.7 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively, with potential growth well below precrisis levels. Executive Directors welcomed the fact that Slovenia’s economy is recovering and commended the authorities for their efforts to mend the banking system, facilitate corporate debt restructuring, and consolidate the public finances.

International Monetary Fund

A 28-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) for the Dominican Republic was introduced against the global recession. The main objective of the program is to limit the procyclicality of policies. The countercyclical macroeconomic program improved confidence and fostered aggregate demand. Monetary policy remained accommodative with a record low policy rate. Fiscal policy became countercyclical. All structural benchmarks were observed. IMF staff supports the waiver requests and the completion of the first SBA review given the proposed actions and satisfactory performance.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund

This 2003 Article IV Consultation highlights that Mexico’s real GDP remained subdued in the first half of 2003, with growth of 1.4 percent in the four quarters ending in the second quarter. While recent indicators of activity have been mixed, most observers still expect the economy to recover in the second half of the year, in line with the United States recovery. The government has made significant progress in strengthening the structure of public debt. Public external debt has fallen further from 15 percent of total debt in 2000 to 13½ percent in 2002.