South East Europe Six: From Double-Dip Recession to Accelerated Reforms
This note discusses the external environment, economic outlook, and key policy challenges for the six South East European Countries (SEE6)—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia—as they seek to reignite economic recovery. After two years of fragile recovery from the global recession, as a group, SEE6 countries experienced a double-dip recession in 2012. Deteriorating external conditions, the impact of the severe winter on economic activity, and a continuing rise in unemployment early in the year took a toll on consumption, investments, and exports. The rise in unemployment continues to threaten the social fabric. Credit recovery and fiscal consolidation are under threat. Nonperforming loans (NPLs)—thought to be stabilizing only a few months ago—are again on the rise. As a result, both within and outside the region, the environment has become much more difficult to navigate, and the policy trade-offs necessary to stabilize economies and reignite growth have become more difficult to make. To overcome these challenges, SEE6 countries need more intensive policy reform to reduce public debt and accelerate structural reforms, especially in fiscal consolidation and the financial sector, labor markets, and business environment. Additional external financing from international financial institutions (IFIs) for growth and jobs could prove effective, but only if accompanied by intensified fiscal and structural reforms.
Volume (Year): (2013)
Issue (Month): 103 (January)
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