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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix deals with the data interpretation problems in the Croatian balance of payments and discusses in detail the overestimation of the size of the external current account deficit in the official statistics. It examines the behavior of the monetary aggregates in Croatia using econometric methods. The structure and performance of the banking sector is also analyzed, including the effects of competition and ownership structure on profitability and interest rate spreads.

Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Mrs. Armine Khachatryan, William Lindquist, Ms. Nhu Nguyen, Ms. Faezeh Raei, and Jesmin Rahman
In the past 25 years, exports have contributed strongly to growth and economic convergence in many small open economies. However, the Western Balkan (WB) region, consisting of small emerging market economies, has not fully availed itself of this driver of growth and convergence. A lack of openness, reliance on low value products, and weak competitiveness largely explain the insignificant role of trade and exports in the region’s economic performance. This paper focuses on how the countries in the WB could lift exports through stronger integration with global value chains (GVCs) and broadening of services exports. The experience of countries that joined the European Union in or after 2004 shows that participation in GVCs can help small economies accelerate export and income growth. WB countries are not well integrated into Europe’s vibrant GVCs. Trade within the region is also limited—it tends to be bilateral and not cluster-like. Our analysis shows that by improving infrastructure and labor skills and adopting trade policies that ensure investor protection and harmonize regulations and legal provisions, the region can greatly enhance its engagement with GVCs. Services exports are an increasingly important part of global trade, and they offer an untapped source of growth. The magnitude of services exports from the WB region compares favorably with that of peers in Europe, particularly in travel services where several of these countries have a revealed comparative advantage. But there is significant room for growth in tourism exports and an untapped potential in business and information technology services exports that these countries can materialize through policy efforts that increase openness and enhance connectivity and labor skills. Serbia offers a good example of how decisive efforts, including education policies to ensure a sustained supply of skilled labor, can help information technology services exports to take off.
International Monetary Fund

The paper analyzes the export performance and external competitiveness in FYR Macedonia. It describes the trends in the account balance, external vulnerabilities, and different approaches to estimate the equilibrium real exchange rate; and reviews economic growth experience and prospects and reveals areas of weakness. It also discusses many different factors responsible for Macedonia's high unemployment rate and examines the main factors behind the low level of intermediation.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
IMF research summaries on foreign direct investment (by Yuko Kinoshita) and on trade linkages and business cycles (by Julian di Giovanni and Andrei Levchenko); country study on Mexico (by Roberto Garcia-Saltos); listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during February-June 2008; listing of contents of Vol. 55, Issue No. 1 of IMF Staff Papers; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; and a listing of recent external publications by IMF staff.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes developments in Croatia’s banking sector since independence in 1991, focusing on the effects of independence, war, transition, and the bank rehabilitation process. Changes in market structure, concentration, and ownership, as well as financial performance are highlighted. The paper reviews the current legal environment governing banking operations and improvements needed to strengthen the legislative framework. Some forward-looking conclusions are presented. The paper also examines selected aspects of Croatia’s export performance.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper on Selected Issues was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed on October 23, 2012. The views expressed in this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of the Republic of Croatia or the Executive Board of the IMF.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix deals with the data interpretation problems in the Croatian balance of payments and discusses in detail the overestimation of the size of the external current account deficit in the official statistics. It examines the behavior of the monetary aggregates in Croatia using econometric methods. The structure and performance of the banking sector is also analyzed, including the effects of competition and ownership structure on profitability and interest rate spreads.
International Monetary Fund
The development of the Croatian financial sector has faced many of the difficulties experienced by other transition countries. Recent troubles have exacted a significant macroeconomic price but the strategy implemented by the Croatian National Bank (CNB) since the approval of the new banking law promises the early resolution of the more immediate problems. GDP at constant prices, trends in total labor costs, price developments, retail inflation rates, agricultural production, consolidated central government fiscal accounts, government employment, health insurance, disability and retirement insurance, and so on are presented in detail.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix examines the revenue and expenditure trends of the Croatia from a cross-country perspective and illustrates the medium-term fiscal outlook under two scenarios: one assumes gradual fiscal adjustment and structural reforms; the other assumes stronger fiscal adjustment and a more aggressive approach to structural reforms. The paper analyzes Croatia’s revenue structure to provide a perspective for the medium-term revenue policy. It also identifies the expenditure items that could be streamlined over the medium term, and presents alternative medium-term fiscal frameworks.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) reports that GDP per capita in BiH is similar to that in neighboring Balkan countries. BiH risks are falling behind rather than catching up with other transition economies in terms of its economic development. This could delay the process of convergence to and integration with the European Union, including its ambitions to eventually adopt the euro. Accelerated structural reforms and macroeconomic stability remain key to achieving higher and sustained growth rates.