Investment to the Rescue
The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) expects GDP in Central, East and Southeast Europe (CESEE) to pick up speed and grow on average by 2-3% over the forecast period 2014-2016 a major driving force rooted in an upward reversal of public and private investment. The question remains, however, whether investment-led growth in the CESEE countries is merely a statistical base effect of a few replacement investments or an indication of a profound paradigmatic shift. Increasing evidence suggests the latter for a number of reasons. During the ongoing economic crisis, public investment was severely reduced. However, in times of extreme uncertainty, the private sector is hesitant to invest. Hence, the public sector has to take the lead. It seems that the time for action has now come. This holds especially true for the New Member States, where towards the end of the previous year additional efforts were made to raise the absorption rate of the funds allocated within the context of the EU multiannual financial framework for 2007-2013 that was about to come to a close. Over the remaining disbursement period of the biennium 2014-2015 substantially higher amounts of EU-funded investment are to be expected. Given that, in practically all cases, national co-financing is also required, CESEE public capital investment will increase, with private investors likely following in its slipstream. Apart from a number of transport infrastructure projects, a host of thermal power plant projects are in the pipeline, as are several major investments in the construction and expansion of nuclear power plants across the region. Apart from public and semi-public infrastructure investment initiatives that have the potential to spur subsequent private investment, improving growth prospects in the euro area, the CESEE economies’ main trading partner, are likely to encourage export industries in the region to modernise and increase their capital stock. This should help avert a lapse into a deflationary spiral and foster a shift towards better equilibrium with lower unemployment rates over the medium term. However, substantial downward risks include possible effects from the current Russia-Ukraine conflict; in particular the interruption of energy supplies, potential trade embargoes or additional interest rate risk premia. All this could adversely affect investment-led growth in CESEE.
|Length:||132 pages including 27 Tables and 25 Figures|
|Date of creation:||Mar 2014|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published as wiiw Forecast Report|
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