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International Monetary Fund

The responsible conduct of macroeconomic policies has continued with the new government. These policies have been key to stabilizing the economic situation and improving growth prospects. Maintaining budgetary control to stimulate the economy and step up social and infrastructure spending is the immediate challenge. The achievement of broad price stability attests to the adept handling of monetary policy. Structural reform implementation remains the major concern. Sustaining the recovery will require the deepening and broadening of structural reforms and the normalization of Argentina's relations with external creditors.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Spain’s sustainable growth rate. It sheds some light on Spain’s medium-term growth prospects by looking into the key factors driving potential growth, both in the past and likely in the future, and international experience of countries in the aftermath of financial crisis. The paper suggests Spain is likely to face a long period of moderate growth (about 1½–2 percent) and high unemployment, but policy action—especially that directed toward reducing structural unemployment and raising productivity—could lead to much better outcomes.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper estimates a small open economy model that makes it possible to quantify the relative strength of the trade and financial channels in Hungary, Poland. and Romania. The Bayesian results indicate that both the trade and financial channels are strongest for Romania, possibly owing to the expansion of financial balance sheets and lower integration into global supply chains. For all countries, tighter domestic monetary conditions result in reduction of output and currency appreciation, although the magnitude of appreciation is less in Romania compared with peers. The trade channel is also dominant in the transmission of foreign monetary policy shocks, which result in output losses and currency depreciation.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes household savings ratio in Spain. The household savings ratio has fallen to its lowest historical rate in 2012, as households cut back savings to support consumption in response to negative income shocks. Household savings fell across all households, but the declines were likely more material among lower income and highly indebted groups. Declining household income and savings slowed deleveraging and put household balance sheets under pressure. Looking ahead, households may need to restrain consumption further to free resources for repaying debt. Household savings rates will likely stay below historical levels for some time then slowly increase.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines social spending reform and fiscal savings in Slovenia. Rising expenditure has been at the root of Slovenia’s fiscal deterioration since the onset of the crisis. The paper explores reform options to reduce Slovenia’s social spending over the medium and long term. It discusses key features of the pension system, and analyzes the evolution of pension spending in the absence of reforms. The paper also examines the health and education spending and provides a framework to assess their efficiency relative to other countries.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper describes financial conditions and growth at risk in Portugal. The macro-finance literature and recent experience provide compelling evidence that financial imbalances grow in good times, creating downside risks to economic growth. The analysis highlights the importance of the price of risk, leverage and credit growth as leading indicators of risks to gross domestic product growth. The price of risk appears to provide the most powerful signal in the short term, while credit aggregates are the most significant predictor in the medium term. This finding is consistent with the volatility paradox and is line with other empirical studies. The Growth-at-Risk (GaR) model suggests contained downside risks to Portugal’s growth projections at the current juncture based on financial conditions data, but credit growth should continue to be monitored given still high leverage. The moderate risk to growth identified by the GaR model reflects the impact of low credit spreads and volatility in the financial markets, in their turn reflecting the prevailing policy mix. Still, a repricing of risks and other shocks could be magnified by the still-high leverage, and lead to less favorable growth outcomes.