Any comments on the topic are warmly welcome!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Any comments on the topic are warmly welcome!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
One can observe a significant downward movement in case of Italy - by about 20 perc. points within fifteen years. "A lost decade" is currently being felt in Hungary, where GDP per person compared to the EU average is stagnating. Other countries of the region however experience a considerable convergence towards the income levels of the EU average. Slovenia, one of the most succesful countries, will most probably in the medium term overtake its neighbor Italy in GDP per person. This would be the first case of a former Eastern Bloc country to reach higher incomes than a major Western European power.
Monday, August 25, 2008
1. Škoda Auto, automotive, € 8.00 billion
2. ČEZ, energy, € 6.29 billion
3. Foxconn, engineering, € 3.23 billion
4. Unipetrol, oil transmission, € 3.20 billion
5. Agrofert, foodstuff & retail, € 3.00 billion
6. RWE Transgas, gas transmission, € 2.83 billion
7. Siemens, engineering, € 2.55 billion
8. Telefonica O2, communication, €2.27 billion
9. Moravia Steel, metallurgy retail, € 2.23 billion
10. Toyota Peugeot-Citroen, automotive, € 1.85 billion
Note: RWE Energy is missing in the list, although its should be in the top 5.
Top 5 Exporters:
Saturday, August 16, 2008
In addition, for the first time in years, the actual collected end-year tax revenues might be smaller than projected. After seven months of the year, state budget revenues of SKK 186.6 billion have been collected, which is only 53.6% of projected end-year total. Last year at the end of July, the number stood at 59.7%, which is slightly more than 7/12 of the total. Cumulatively, as a result, the state budget ended up in a minute deficit of SKK 614 million (€ 20 mil), which is the worst result in four years, despite still booming economy. Last year at this time, the state budget recorded a surplus of almost SKK 4 billion.
Major factor to blame is the collection of VAT, the dominant source of public finance, which is frozen at last year’s levels, even though retail sales grew by an average of 14% in current prices during the first six months of the year. The fiscal trend, representing a negative change from previous years, should theoretically limit the government in its proposals for generous spending policies. As of now, the restricting effect cannot be observed however.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sovereign Ratings of V4 Countries (long-term, in foreign currency, with outlook):
------------------Moody's --S&P ---Fitch
Slovakia ----------A1p------Ap----- A+s
Czech Republic-- A1p-------As -----A+s
Poland------------ A2s----- A-p -----A-s
Hungary---------- A2s--- BBB+n --BBB+s
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Ranked according to sales in 2007:
Friday, July 4, 2008
There is little doubt that ECB's success has a lot to do with its independence but recent developments show that not all are happy with the present arrangements. Clearly, politicians must care about the short-term state of the economy (even at the expense of medium-run price stability) if they seek popularity and reelection. But, for some, it now includes "a more open discussion about the motivations behind interest rate decisions" (Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the European affairs minister of France). Another French official said that Paris only wants "a voice on monetary policy" and José Luis Zapatero, prime minister of Spain, asserted that he expects the ECB to "behave responsibly." No, he didn't mean the was ECB is paying too little attention to rising prices, he merely hinted at the bleak state of the Spanish housing market.
When the financial crises is over (or becomes less severe), one might hope that attempts to undermine ECB's independence will evaporate. Strong euro and higher-than-America's interest rates will hopefully no longer be big, politically attractive issues. Slovak officials now have an opportunity to impress: all they have to do is to look at some of their western colleagues and not repeat their comic behavior.
Monday, June 30, 2008
But what about Romania? Had there not been high growth? Does it find itself in a "development trap"? Judging by the news coverage, one would never guess that Romania had made enormous advances in recent years. (In fact, I am not sure I have heard the country mentioned since I saw a flood of posters at major European airports in early 2007, announcing/promoting the latest EU enlargement).
And today, my news feed claims that Romania has been "hard hit" by the global financial turmoil. But when I looked up IMF's most recent "consultation with Romania," most of what I saw was praise. The kind that sounds genuine, supportive and substance-based.
Unemployment is falling, growth is well above 5%, fiscal balance is certainly EU-worthy (despite rapidly rising government expenditures) and the growth of external debt appears to have stopped. National Bank of Romania is also praised by the IMF: "Directors welcomed the NBR's commitment to price stability in a challenging environment, and stressed the need to firmly anchor inflation expectations. The NBR has appropriately tightened the monetary stance since mid-2007 ..."
While Romania may not have quite "shined" as much as other emerging markets, at least by the high standards and expectations of the media, the numbers show that it has been successful and is bound to do well in the future. This is a country that should be watched and talked about more - there is clearly much more to it than Dracula-jokes.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Just recall Ken Rogoff's speech documenting that "globalization and de-regulation have been powerful forces supporting the political economy of low inflation." There might be more regulation in the coming years and some countries will grow less than had been expected. But how does the situation today look when compared with the 1990s?
Some seem to forget that world inflation was around 30% in 1990-4. Between 2000 and 2007, by contrast, prices around the world rose no more than 3.8% per annum on average. That is, inflation fell EIGHT FOLD. The industrial economies will probably not venture far from the 3% benchmark. Rising prices in the developing world should, by all means, be a source of concern. But the European Union, including Central Europe, seems to be in a reasonably good shape. Even Hungary, in spite of having a bad year, will probably do well in 2009.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Robert Aumann, father of modern game theory applied in economics, will address an initial lecture of Tatra banka lecture series at the University of Economics in Bratislava on 12th of May 2008.
Participation is possible by invitation. We sincerely believe that one of this blog's editors will attend the event and provide a short summary for our readers.
More info about Mr. Aumann here, short article by Tyler Cowen here, and by the Center for the Study of Rationality here.
EDIT1: ...for those of you who do not know, Mr. Aumann is a Nobel laureate.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
More interesting is the economic performance under changed economic conditions after adopting euro. Although some expect the growth to decline as a result due to Maastricht fiscal ceiling, fiscal discipline is definitely not the only factor influencing the expected outcome. Taking into account that currency-switching is a very specific situation, one should not omit the long-term effects of euro on economic growth.
In my humble opinion, policy makers should have at hand a strategy for further development in form of an industrial policy vision. For this, measurements of the allocation efficiency of public funds for FDI stimuli should be considered. That is to say, that FDI in the automotive industry might have already exploited the existing economies of scale opportunities, which means that a further contribution of this sector to economic growth may not be so robust anymore. For a small country, in addition, a fast adjustment in competitiveness seems to be the key priority of economic policy. Without a scientific guidance in economic policy-making, it is hard to follow optimal solutions, unbiased by ideological disputes.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Nominal expectations can be as important as real ones for possible euro-related real price changes and resource misallocations. I thus bring numbers for the average monthly gross wage in Slovakia at the break of 2009, when the country expects to convert to euro. The average wage, seasonally adjusted, will be 680-690 eur. The figure is to be used in the context of the Slovak economy only, since comparing gross wages across Central-European economies is rather complicated, as I demonstrated before. The expected conversion rate between koruna and euro used in this calculation is 32.63 SKK/EUR (taken from the survey on assessments of Slovakia meeting the Maastricht criteria.