This report is focused on the impact of the financial crisis on the Austrian economy and the financial sector, the authorities’ policy responses, and macrofinancial linkages and spillovers. The financial sector has been expanding rapidly, mostly outside Austria. This has brought substantial benefits, but also increased risks and vulnerabilities. Maintaining financial stability will be essential for ensuring macroeconomic stability, fiscal sustainability, and a return to growth, while also having important spillovers to regional financial stability. Austria traditionally benefits from a low unemployment rate compared with the euro area.
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.
The IMF has had extensive involvement in the stress testing of financial systems in its member countries. This book presents the methods and models that have been developed by IMF staff over the years and that can be applied to the gamut of financial systems.
An added resource for readers is the companion CD-Rom, which makes available the toolkit with some of the models presented in the book (also located at elibrary.imf.org/page/stress-test-toolkit).
This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic activity in Austria gathered speed in 2004, supported mostly by strong export performance. Growth of real GDP rose to 2.2 percent in 2004. Consumption growth was modest, in view of small gains in employment and nominal wage growth barely matching inflation. Investment demand continued to expand, benefiting from the improved prospects for exports and the extension of tax incentives through end-2004. Progress in the structural area has been impressive, and this has contributed to Austria’s relatively favorable growth performance in the past period.
Increasing integration to the East has benefited the Austrian economy, but also created vulnerabilities that came to a head with the global financial crisis. The crisis has highlighted old challenges and created new ones that need to be addressed. The banking sector’s return to more normal levels of profitability creates the conditions for a further build-up of high-quality capital and exit from government support. Policies to foster labor market participation by low-skill workers and human capital accumulation would increase long-term growth.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note provides an update on the Austrian insurance industry and an analysis of its regulatory and supervisory regime. The structure of the domestic insurance sector has remained largely stable since the last update. At Q3-2012 there were 50 insurance companies with assets of €108 billion, making up nearly 40 percent of GDP. Although insurance portfolios are largely concentrated in high-quality bonds, they have significant exposure to European banks. Most insurance companies in Austria appear well capitalized under the Solvency I regime. The industry remains profitable though margins have come under some pressure recently.