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Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

After solid growth in 2015, the Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) region is now heading into choppy waters. Lower euro area and U.S. growth, tighter global financial conditions, and continued weakness in many emerging economies are creating headwinds. Nonetheless, near-term growth is expected to remain robust in most CESEE countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), thanks to strong domestic demand. At the same time, output contraction is projected to moderate in the CIS, as the shocks that hit the Russian and Ukrainian economies gradually reverberate less and activity stabilizes. While downside risks are now more pronounced than in the fall of 2015, policies in most economies will need to rebuild room for maneuver.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Despite the strong cyclical rebound, growth in CESEE remains well below precrisis levels. If lower potential growth in CESEE turns out to be the “new normal,” this would imply a much slower pace of income convergence with advanced Europe. This chapter explores the reasons behind the postcrisis growth slowdown by looking at labor, capital and productivity trends across the region. It also aims to identify the key gaps between CESEE and advanced Europe – with regard to capital deepening and productivity – as well as the specific institutional and structural features of CESEE economies that might explain these gaps. While there is no magic formula for fast convergence, the hope is that this chapter will provide some insights for ongoing policy discussions in the region on how to get back on a fast convergence track.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

In the baseline, supportive monetary policy and medium-term fiscal consolidation remain valid for many economies in the region. In the event of a negative growth shock, monetary policy should be the first line of defense, while automatic fiscal stabilizers should be allowed to play freely, provided there is enough fiscal policy room to do so. In case of a major shock and depending on the nature of the shock, fiscal policy should ease within the medium-term adjustment plans that dispel concerns about sustainability. Against the backdrop of mediocre global growth prospects, structural reforms are critical to lift potential growth and re-accelerate convergence.

Mr. Julio Escolano and Mr. Parthasarathi Shome
Two possible tax policy strategies for the NIS are: (1) an optimal nondistortionary tax structure as a one-shot action; and (2) a structure with identifiable and clearly understood distortionary elements as a temporary phenomenon to close the fiscal gap. An assessment of NIS tax structures reveals that they conform to neither. They are rapidly acquiring complex features comprising multiple rates, exemptions, and other difficult-to administer properties, with uncertain ramifications for efficiency, equity, and the fiscal deficit. Steady--and perhaps prolonged--effort needs to be made if simple, broad-based, and revenue-productive tax structures are to be achieved. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This Technical Assistance Report on the Republic of Moldova provides details of IMF mission to review available source data for deposit takers and other sectors including other financial corporations (OFCs); and to review the current financial soundness indicators (FSI) compiled by the National Bank of Moldova with a view to ensure methodological consistency of the FSI compilation with the IMF’s FSI Compilation Guide 2006. The mission found some deviations from the FSI Guide in key indicators currently compiled based on the International Financial Reporting Standards and Basel III principles as well as national supervisory standards. Some methodological deviations include the measurement of capital. In order to support progress in the above work areas, the mission recommended a detailed action plan with several priority recommendations. It is recommended to expand the coverage of the OFCs sector to include the non-bank credit organizations (microfinance institutions and leasing companies) in collaboration and coordination with the National Commission for Financial Markets.
International Monetary Fund
Global growth remains strong. The recovery has created jobs and increased incomes. But growth momentum is moderating. Previously identified risks have partly materialized or have become more pronounced. A rapid reversal in financial market conditions, ten years after the global financial crisis, could again expose debt vulnerabilities at a time when many countries have more limited policy space. The window of opportunity to guard against risks and raise medium-term growth prospects is narrowing. Now is the time for policymakers to act to rebuild policy space, strengthen resilience, and implement structural reforms for the benefit of all. Waning support for multilateralism is fueling policy uncertainty. However, improved global cooperation is precisely what is needed to boost inclusive growth by modernizing the trade system, reducing excess global imbalances, improving debt dynamics, and leveraging technology. We will continue to review our policies and strategies to enhance Fund advice and support multilateralism. This includes surveillance, program conditionality, capacity development, debt limits, and anti-money laundering and the combatting of terrorism financing.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

This paper discusses the robust growth that continues in most Central and Southeastern European economies as well as in Turkey. Accommodative macroeconomic policies, improving financial intermediation, and rising real wages have been behind the region’s mostly consumption-driven rebound, while private investment remained subdued. In the near-term, strong domestic demand is expected to continue supporting growth amid continued low or negative inflation. The Russian economy went through a sharp contraction last year amid plunging oil prices and sanctions. Other CIS countries were hurt by domestic political and financial woes, as well as by weak demand from Russia. In 2016, output contraction is projected to moderate to around 1½ percent from 4¼ percent in 2015 as the shocks that hit the CIS economies gradually reverberate less and activity stabilizes. In the baseline, a combination of supportive monetary policy and medium-term fiscal consolidation remains valid for many economies in the region.

Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.