The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.
Ichiro Fukunaga, Mr. Takuji Komatsuzaki, and Hideaki Matsuoka
This paper quantitatively assesses the effects of inflation shocks on the public debt-to-GDP ratio in 19 advanced economies using simulation and estimation approaches. The simulations based on the debt dynamics equation and estimations of impulse responses by local projections both suggest that a 1 percentage point shock to inflation rate reduces the debt-to-GDP ratio by about 0.5 to 1 percentage points. The results also suggest that the impact is larger and more persistent when the debt maturity is longer, but the difference from the benchmark case is not significant. These results imply that modestly higher inflation, even if accompanied by some financial repression, could reduce public debt burden only marginally in many advanced economies.
This Selected Issues paper describes and discusses potential implications of recent changes in Hungary’s public debt strategy. Special attention is paid to the motivation for, and recent experiences with, the “Hungarian Government Security Plus Scheme” (MÁP+) for physical persons, introduced in June 2019. One of the main benefits of retail bonds is that they usually are perceived as more stable funding. However, it is argued that MÁP+ should be continuously monitored to ensure its objectives are achieved in the most cost-efficient manner and to avoid unintended distortions. The paper also focuses on specific public debt management policies in Hungary and it briefly discusses experiences with the retail bond programs in other countries but focuses mainly on the MÁP+ bond, the initial experience with this bond, and elaborates on its potential implications. MÁP+ has many reasonable objectives, although some of them, such as higher a savings rate of households and reduced external indebtedness, are to a major extent driven by macroeconomic policies. Going forward, the question remains whether these objectives can be achieved by appreciably lower cost to the budget given less expensive alternative funding sources and policy options. Public debt management also needs to respond to changing market conditions.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights slower growth in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia following a solid economic recovery since the global financial crisis. Growth slowed to 2.4 percent in 2016 and contracted by 0.9 percent in the first half of 2017. Economic activity has been supported by private consumption and exports, while negative effects from prolonged political instability have restrained investment and slowed down corporate credit growth. Inflation has gradually picked up, after staying negative during the past few years. Public debt is projected to rise to 47 percent of GDP in 2017. Currently, the government is in the process of preparing the draft economic program.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the strong Czech economy. It grew by 2.4 percent in 2016, and unemployment is now the lowest in the European Union. Headline inflation is at the target, and external deflation pressure has faded. In addition, nominal incomes are growing solidly. Given momentum in the economy, real GDP growth is projected to increase to 3 percent in 2017, largely driven by domestic demand. Strong economic growth and better revenue collection mean a surplus of 0.4 percent of GDP is expected for 2017; current policies and improved tax collection would imply continued small surpluses from 2018.
A favorable external environment, high utilization of EU funds, and supportive macroeconomic policies have boosted economic growth. The authorities’ medium-term fiscal objective is appropriate, but fiscal framework legislation that would anchor policy is yet to be approved by parliament. The central bank’s use of an exchange rate floor to achieve its inflation target has helped stem deflationary pressures, but inflation is still well below target. The financial system is sound and resilient to shocks. Policy recommendations. Policies should aim at comprehensively addressing obstacles to strong and sustained growth, while safeguarding macroeconomic stability.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Slovakia remains among Europe’s stronger economies, with growth continuing to pick up in 2015, driven by strong domestic demand. A push to spend expiring European Union funds has underpinned rising investment while job creation and real wage growth have supported private consumption. Unemployment has fallen significantly since 2013, but is still about 11 percent overall, and is much higher for the long-term unemployed, youth, and women. The outlook is favorable with growth of 3–3.5 percent expected through the medium-term, reflecting sustained domestic demand as well as further contributions from the important export sector as substantial additional foreign auto sector investment is planned.