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NEWS

Europe and Central Asia: Coping with policy normalization in high-income countries

www.worldbank.org
14 January 2014

[Extract.  Read full report here]

 

Economic activity strengthened in the Europe and Central Asia region(1) in 2013 supported by strengthening external demand. The return to growth in the Euro Area in the second quarter of 2013 supported real side activity in the region, particularly in the Central and Eastern European countries, due to strong trade linkages. In Turkey, buoyant domestic demand underpinned acceleration in growth to 4.3 percent in 2013 from 2.2 percent in 2012.

Performance among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has been mixed. Among energy-exporting countries (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan), activity has remained strong, reflecting relative strength in energy-related commodity prices, expansion of production in extractive sectors, and robust growth in domestic demand.

In contrast, among non-energy exporters, weaknesses in key commodity prices cut into incomes and activity, with Belarus, Kyrgyz Republic and Ukraine experiencing the most negative terms of trade impacts. Capital inflows to the region began strong, but weakened after the US tapering announcement in the mid-year and heightened volatility thereafter, resulting in a slight decline of 1.6 percent year-on-year to $119.3 billion in 2013. Across the region, the banking sector remains weak, saddled with overhang of nonperforming loans (e.g., Albania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Romania, and Serbia).  [Read full report here].