Inflation in Southeastern European (SEE) countries has been comparable with euro area inflation, partly owing to on the one hand, high initial price levels. On the other hand, the exchange rate regime is of paramount importance, including the inflation-targeting regime pursued in Albania. The analysis also explores additional heterogeneity between SEE and other regions. Two fiscal rules—a debt rule and an expenditure rule with a debt brake—are discussed in the context of Albania’s current economic outlook. Both rules will contribute toward enhancing fiscal sustainability in Albania.
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.
The near-term outlook is broadly positive, with robust growth and low inflation. However, growth potential remains constrained by weak external competitiveness, high informality, low labor force participation, and a large infrastructure gap. In a complex political environment, the structural reform progress has been slow and fiscal risks have increased.
Kosovo has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite policy support, economic activity is estimated to have fallen 6 percent in 2020 on account of the combined effect of strict domestic containment measures and international travel restrictions. The fiscal deficit increased to 7.7 percent of GDP, given the large fall in tax revenues and the implementation of mitigation and recovery measures of 4.2 percent of GDP. The current account deficit is estimated to have increased to 7.5 percent of GDP mainly due to a large decline in diaspora-related inflows, most notably in tourism. Gross international reserves declined but remain adequate in part due to the purchase under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) in April 2020 and the use of other external financing. Banks have weathered the recession well to date, and the high pre-COVID19 liquidity levels and ample capital buffers bode well for the system’s stability.
Mr. Luis Brandao-Marques, Mr. R. G Gelos, Mr. Thomas Harjes, Ms. Ratna Sahay, and Yi Xue
Central banks in emerging and developing economies (EMDEs) have been modernizing their monetary policy frameworks, often moving toward inflation targeting (IT). However, questions regarding the strength of monetary policy transmission from interest rates to inflation and output have often stalled progress. We conduct a novel empirical analysis using Jordà’s (2005) approach for 40 EMDEs to shed a light on monetary transmission in these countries. We find that interest rate hikes reduce output growth and inflation, once we explicitly account for the behavior of the exchange rate. Having a modern monetary policy framework—adopting IT and independent and transparent central banks—matters more for monetary transmission than financial development.
This paper discusses Serbia's Second Review Under the Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) and Request for Waivers of Applicability of Performance Criteria (PCs). The economy of Serbia is gradually recovering from the 2014 recession, supported by strong export performance coupled with a smaller-than-expected fall in consumption. Inflation has remained below the National Bank of Serbia tolerance band due mainly to low imported inflation. All end-June PCs and indicative targets were met with significant margins. The IMF staff supports the authorities' request for the completion of the Second Review under the SBA, given the program performance so far and the policy commitments going forward.