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International Monetary Fund


Upon entry into the European Union, countries become members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), with a derogation from adopting the euro as their currency (that is, each country joining the EU commits to replace its national currency with the euro, but can choose when to request permission to do so). For most of these countries, adopting the euro will entail major economic change. This paper examines likely economic developments and policy challenges for the five former transition countries in central Europe--the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia--that joined the European Union in May 2004 and operate under independent monetary policies but have not yet achieved policy convergence with the rest of the euro area.


External sector policies and exchange rate policy are central to a country's economic performance and to the IMF's surveillance functions. The papers in this book, edited by Richard Barth and Chorng-Huey Wong, were presented at a seminar on Exchange Rate Policy in Developing and Transition Economies held by the IMF Institute. They analyze choices of exchange rate regimes, issues affecting management of exchange regimes, and specific types of regimes, including case studies from the former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Ms. Susan M Schadler


Eight central and eastern European countries--the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia--officially joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004. This auspicious milestone marked the beginning of the next major step for these countries in their move toward full integration with the EU-adoption of the euro. Seeking to consider the opportunities and challenges of euro adoption, the papers in this volume--by a noted group of country officials, academics, representatives of international institutions, and market participants-offer insight on the various dimensions of euro adoption in these eight new EU members--how they should prepare, whether an early move is optimal, and what pitfalls may occur along the way.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
Ms. Katerina Smídková, Jan Babecky, and Mr. Ales Bulir
The Great Recession affected export and import patterns in our sample countries, and these changes, coupled with a more volatile external environment, have profound impact on our estimates of real exchange rate misalignments and projections of sustainable real exchange rates. We find that real misalignments in several countries with pegged exchange rates and excessive external liabilities widened relative to earlier estimates. While countries with balanced net trade positions are expected to continue to experience appreciation during 2010-2014, several currencies are likely to require real depreciation to maintain sustainable net external debt. Our estimates point to somewhat larger disequilibria than those of IMF country teams, however, any estimates of equilibrium exchange rates are subject to sizable uncertainty.
Mr. Armando Méndez Morales
Currency option implied volatility predicts more efficiently exchange rate volatility for the Polish zloty relative to the Czech koruna, reflecting differences in the frequency of central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market. A GARCH model shows a positive impact of the introduction of the Euro on exchange rate volatility for the Polish zloty (negative for the Czech koruna), related to its larger exposure to external shocks. For countries in transition to Euro integration, the implied trade-off between isolation from shocks and efficient signaling must be addressed based on the risk of exchange rate misalignment at the time of monetary conversion.
Mr. Günther Taube and Mr. Rene Weber
This paper assesses the macroeconomic impact and policy challenges related to Estonia’s prospective accession to the EU and its potential adoption of the euro. Our analysis of the trade, financial, and fiscal channels includes a model-based illustrative scenario using MULTIMOD. We conclude that the welfare enhancing effects for Estonia of further EU integration are likely to outweigh the drawbacks of more pronounced macroeconomic imbalances that could accompany this process. To smooth Estonia’s accession-related adjustment, its fiscal and structural policies should be geared toward mitigating domestic demand pressures, promoting saving, and ensuring efficient public investment.
Richard Podpiera and Tomás Dvorák
The announcement of the European Union enlargement coincided with a dramatic rise in stock prices in accession countries. This paper investigates the hypothesis that the rise in stock prices was a result of the repricing of systematic risk due to the integration of accession countries into the world market. We found that firm-level stock price changes are positively related to the difference between a firm's local and world market betas. This result is robust to controlling for changes in expected earnings, country effects, and other controls, although the magnitude of the effect is not very large. The differences between local and world betas explain nearly 22 percent of the stock price increase.
Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti and Mr. Christian Schmieder
The recent crisis has spurred the use of stress tests as a (crisis) management and early warning tool. However, a weakness is that they omit potential risks embedded in the banking groups’ geographical structures by assuming that capital and liquidity are available wherever they are needed within the group. This assumption neglects the fact that regulations differ across countries (e.g., minimum capital requirements), and, more importantly, that home/host regulators might limit flows of capital or liquidity within a group during periods of stress. This study presents a framework on how to integrate this risk element into stress tests, and provides illustrative calculations on the size of the potential adjustments needed in the presence of some limits on intragroup flows for banks included in the June 2011 EBA stress tests.
Mr. Helge Berger
The likely enlargement of euro-area membership will radically change the environment under which monetary policy will be made in the euro area. Within less than a decade, the number of member countries in the euro area could more than double, with the vast majority of accession countries being relatively small in economic terms, compared with current members. Absent reforms, such a significant but asymmetric expansion could impede the effectiveness of the institutional policymaking process of the European Central Bank (ECB) and be seen by some as resulting in the overrepresentation of small member countries in the ECB Council. The paper illustrates these issues, describes the principles on which reforms of the ECB statute could build, and discusses four specific institutional reform scenarios. The analysis coincides with the ECB Council being scheduled to present suggestions for reform by late 2002.