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Economic Convergence in South-Eastern Europe: Will the Financial Sector deliver?


  • Morten Balling


  • Max Watson
  • Valerie Herzberg


The rhythm of financial development in south-eastern Europe has accelerated. In a setting of low inflation and robust growth, domestic credit and cross-border flows are expanding. This process can strengthen real convergence by supporting productivity gains that enhance competitiveness and a smooth servicing of external liabilities. But such an outcome is not guaranteed. It depends on a favourable investment climate. Otherwise a normal expansion of household borrowing and housing investment might not be balanced by rising financial support for the traded goods sector, implying weak foundations for sustained growth. EU Accession - with its potential for trade and investment integration, and an acquis-based strengthening of institutions - improves the chances of good outcomes. It also triggers accelerated financial development, including through the role of EU-15 banks. There is a setting that raises the stakes for policy: it can spur the expansion of the productive economy; but it can also magnify distortions, as seen in the proliferation of unhedged foreign currency borrowing. Prudent fiscal policies and bold structural reforms are needed to underpin the medium-term outlook for growth and forestall risks of financial stress.

Suggested Citation

  • Max Watson & Valerie Herzberg, 2007. "Economic Convergence in South-Eastern Europe: Will the Financial Sector deliver?," SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 2007/2 edited by Morten Balling.
  • Handle: RePEc:erf:erfstu:45

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Hoffmann, 2010. "An Overinvestment Cycle In Central And Eastern Europe?," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 711-734, November.
    2. Perisa Ivanovic & Zoran Grubisic & Nikola Fabris, 2011. "Policies Aa a Result of Global Credit Boom in SEE Countries," Book Chapters, Institute of Economic Sciences.
    3. Zoran Grubisic & Perisa Ivanovic, 2012. "Influence of different monetary regimes on financial stability in see countries," Journal of Central Banking Theory and Practice, Central bank of Montenegro, vol. 1(1), pages 91-106.
    4. Zoran Grubisic & Perisa Ivanovic & Nikola Fabris, 2011. "Financial System Integration of Serbia in the European Financial System," Book Chapters, Institute of Economic Sciences.

    More about this item


    Financial stability; financial development; South Eastern Europe; the Balkans;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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