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Can Banking Intermediation in the Central and Eastern European Countries Ever Catch up with the Euro Area?


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    This paper focuses on the private credit flow-to-GDP ratio for measuring and comparing the degree of banking intermediation, which complements the widely used stock-flow measure. The authors find that, on the basis of this flow-flow measure, the current degree of banking intermediation in most Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) is significantly closer to the euro area average than suggested by the traditional stock-flow measure. Nevertheless, the longer-term average of annual figures of the recent past indicates that most CEECs still have some way to go to catch up with intermediation in the euro area in a persistent manner, even on the basis of the flow-flow measure. Furthermore, the authors analyze the implications of the different concepts of convergence in the degree of banking intermediation. According to simulations, maintaining a flow-flow ratio in the CEECs equal to the euro area average of the past ten years (i.e. given full convergence in the flow-flow ratio) will also lead to convergent stock-flow ratios. However, this will only be the case at a rather late point in time, i.e. not before the end of this century, and will thus come considerably later than convergence in GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP). On the other hand, for the CEECs to simultaneously achieve convergence in the stock-flow ratio and in per capita income levels, the flow-flow ratios would have to significantly and persistently exceed the euro area average of the period from 1994 to 2003 for a period of between 15 and 50 years, depending on the respective country. Drawing on the experience of major catching-up economies in the past 50 years worldwide, the authors do not completely exclude, but take a rather skeptical view on, the possibility of realizing in a sustainable manner the high level of the flow-flow ratio that would be required for the simultaneous convergence in the stock-flow ratio and in per capita income levels.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) in its journal Focus on European Economic Integration.

    Volume (Year): (2005)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()

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    Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbfi:y:2005:i:2:b:4

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