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EBRD calls for urgent structural reforms as growth slumps

10 May 2013

[Abstract: Full report is here]


"The EBRD has called for urgent structural reforms in emerging Europe after winding back its economic forecasts. The Bank revised down its overall outlook for growth to 2.2 per cent for 2013, well below the 3.1 per cent seen only four months ago.

It said the worsening mood reflected a slowdown particularly in Russia, even as the threat from turmoil in the eurozone appeared to be abating. Weaker activity in other large economies such as Poland and Turkey was also weighing on the outlook.

However, the report said the biggest downside risk to the outlook remained a possible further deterioration of the Eurozone crisis. The recovery might falter in the absence of more growth-friendly economic policies in advanced Europe, it added.

Chief Economist Erik Berglof said the latest slowdown was a "wakeup call across the region to reenergise structural reforms that have been on hold since the start of the crisis".

The EBRD's latest Regional Economic Prospects report expects growth this year to be below the 2.6 per cent seen in 2012. It sees a moderate upturn to 3.2 per cent in 2014.  

The report said the slowdown in Russia partially reflected a decline in global demand for its key energy resources, a reduction in public social spending growth after the 2012 elections and possible dents to investor confidence following setbacks with business environment reforms and the treatment of foreign investors. There was also an impact from supply-side bottlenecks.

...In central Asia, remittances have held up well, providing foreign exchange and household income in many early transition countries. However, lower growth in Russia could have a negative impact on remittance flows to these economies." [Continue reading here].