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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

KEY ISSUESContext: Austria did not experience a severe boom-bust cycle and came through thecrisis relatively well. The main impact was on the banking sector and public debt. With cyclical slack low and the recovery taking hold, this is the time to resolve crisis legacies and address long-standing structural issues.Outlook and risks: The recovery is taking hold, driven by a pick-up in exports. The most acute risks are mainly geopolitical and could in particular lead to financial spillovers.Financial sector policies: Bank restructuring should now be rapidly completed and bad asset disposal accelerated. Large internationally active banks should stand ready for further capital increases, and the EU banking union framework needs to be swiftly transposed at the national level.Public expenditure reforms: More decisive expenditure reforms in key areas such as pensions, health care, subsidies, and fiscal federalism would generate savings that could be used for both an accelerated debt reduction and lower labor taxation.Boosting potential output growth: Enhancing IT adaptation, improving the performance of the education system, facilitating access to financing for innovative start- ups, and reducing administrative barriers for new businesses would raise potentialgrowth and labor productivity.

LUC LERUTH, REMI PARIS, and IVAN RUZICKA

This paper examines the role and impact of taxation on sustainable forest management. It is shown that fiscal instruments neither reinforce nor substitute for traditional regulatory approaches and can actually undermine sustainability. The paper uses the reasoning at the root of the Faustmann solution to draw conclusions on the incentives for sustainable tropical forest exploitation. It proposes a bond mechanism as an alternative market-based instrument to encourage sustainable forest logging while reducing monitoring costs.

A. R. Prest

From the Foreword to the first issue: “Among the responsibilities of the International Monetary Fund, as set forth in the Articles of Agreement, is the obligation to ‘act as a center for the collection and exchange of information on monetary and financial problems,’ and thereby to facilitate ‘the preparation of studies designed to assist members in developing policies which further the purposes of the Fund.’ The publications of the Fund are one way in which this responsibility is discharged. “Through the publication of Staff Papers, the Fund is making available some of the work of members of its staff. The Fund believes that these papers will be found helpful by government officials, by professional economists, and by others concerned with monetary and financial problems. Much of what is now presented is quite provisional. On some international monetary problems, final and definitive views are scarcely to be expected in the near future, and several alternative, or even conflicting, approaches may profitably be explored. The views presented in these papers are not, therefore, to be interpreted as necessarily indicating the position of the Executive Board or of the officials of the Fund.” The authors of the papers in this issue have received considerable assistance from their colleagues on the staff of the Fund. This general statement of indebtedness may be accepted in place of a detailed list of acknowledgments. Subscription: US$6.00 a volume or the approximate equivalent in the currencies of most countries. Three numbers constitute a volume. Single copies may be purchased at $2.50. Special rate to university libraries, faculty members, and students: $3.00 a volume; $1.00 a single copy. Subscriptions and orders should be sent to: THE SECRETARY International Monetary Fund 19th and H Streets, N.W. Washington, D. C. 20431

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper on Malaysia highlights quantitative assessment of additional measures required during the medium term to achieve fiscal targets. The authorities aim to lower the budget deficit to about 3 percent of GDP by 2015, down from 4.0 percent in 2013, and to balance the budget by 2020. It suggests that ranking fiscal instruments under different fiscal policy goals can help policymakers identify the composition of fiscal adjustment based on their preferences. By combining ranking with the instruments’ potential yield helps in identifying the optimal set of measures required to achieve the needed fiscal adjustment.
International Monetary Fund
Nigeria’s 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that major macroeconomic imbalances had emerged as a result of sharp increases in government spending and expressed concern at the risks of a further acceleration of inflation and continuing instability in the exchange market. The overall fiscal balance deteriorated sharply in 2001, the external accounts worsened, and inflation accelerated. The overall stance of fiscal policy remains highly expansionary in 2002, notwithstanding efforts by the authorities to contain capital spending. Lax financial policies have led to a sharp fall in international reserves.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on Bolivia reports that it has experienced major increases in its gas reserves, production, and exports. Not only have their levels increased significantly, but also there have been extensive regulatory changes, which range from the privatization of the mid-1990s to the increase in the government’s tax take from the hydrocarbons industry. The government has reached new agreements with foreign oil companies that will allow foreign companies to continue recovering part of their old investments.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper considers the case of Poland to analyze global financial spillovers to emerging market (EM) sovereign bond markets. Foreign holdings of Polish government bonds have increased substantially over the last decade. Although foreign participation in local-currency sovereign bond markets provides an additional source of financing and reduces sovereign yields, it has also given rise to concerns about increased sensitivity to shifts in market sentiment. The analysis in this paper suggests that foreign participation plays an important role in transmitting global financial shocks to local-currency sovereign bond markets by increasing yield volatility and, beyond a certain threshold, amplifying these spillovers.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper assesses potential spillover effects to the Philippines from US policy shifts and lower growth in China. The US fiscal expansion affects the Philippine economy through the interest rate and the trade channels. The net spillover impact on Philippine GDP is negative in the short term. Compared with the productive case, in which the net output impact is positive, the US nominal policy rate rises by less, but faster normalization of the US term premium leads to higher real interest rates. On the other hand, the gain from trade is smaller owing to the weaker domestic demand expansion in the United States.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the capital inflows to Indonesia since the global financial crisis. Capital inflows to Indonesia have increased since the crisis. Their average volume increased from 3.25 percent of GDP in 2005–09 to 4.50 percent of GDP in the first quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2016. From the global perspective, driven by the liquidity released from the systemic economies’ unconventional monetary policies, a global search for yields has led to large capital inflows to emerging and developing economies (EMDEs), especially portfolio inflows. Although many EMDEs experienced a steady decline in capital inflows during 2013–16, capital inflows to Indonesia increased and reached a peak in late 2014, and then started to decline but remained at relatively high levels from the first quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016.