Momentos económicos… e não só

About economics in general, health economics most of the time

De uma conferência há uns dias do FMI

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sobre economia europeia, duas respostas sobre a situação portuguesa (acesso via página de Portugal no FMI):

– passagem de medidas no mercado de trabalho para “atacar” directamente os mercados finais, com liberalização nos serviços

– sobre programa cautelar, a visão é simples: se Portugal consegue colocar dívida pública, se mantém um compromisso visível com reformas então para quê programa cautelar, embora deixando a decisão final ao Governo (como não podia deixar de ser).


“QUESTIONER: You mentioned the risk with unemployment. It is not only a risk–it is a reality–in the case of Portugal, so I’d ask you a more broad question: What went wrong with the adjustment, the fiscal adjustment in Portugal, and specifically with unemployment? How can we turn that around?

MR. MOGHADAM: I think your point is correct. The unemployment rate in a number of places in Europe, including Portugal, is unacceptably high.

I think the issue has been first stabilizing the economies. Given the high level of debt and given that Portugal and others had lost market access, it was necessary to have a fiscal adjustment program that would bring debt under control. And to some extent, that has been done. Portugal planned a degree of fiscal adjustment, most of which has already been done. Two-thirds of it has already been put in place.

In terms of unemployment, the focus of the program has been to put conditions in place in product and labor markets, not just in Portugal but across the euro zone countries, through reforms in these areas and structural reforms in general in order to increase the potential growth of the economy. Some of those are yielding results. Now, obviously, the situation is difficult and is likely to continue to be difficult, but the starting point was extremely difficult, I would say critical. Some of these economies did lose market access, and the adjustment was necessary to bring the economies back to health.

So, I think that as we move forward, the emphasis on product and labor market reforms needs to continue. Now, Portugal has done a lot–one should commend them–in terms of labor market reforms. I think there also needs to be greater emphasis in terms of product market reforms, liberalization of the services sector, where there is scope to create jobs and reduce unemployment.

MS. GAVIRIA: We have a related question online: “Portugal is on the eve of concluding the financial assistance program. Do you think Portugal should ask for a precautionary program after the end of the bailout?”

MR. MOGHADAM: The Fund and European-supported programs come to an end at the end of June. I think the Portuguese government is in the process of consultation. They are talking to all the key partners, they are talking to market participants, to assess the easiness of access to the markets in the coming months and years.

What is very encouraging is that not only has market access been regained in a significant way; the spreads have been coming down very sharply in Portugal. It is a testimony to the successful implementation of the program despite many problems.

That process of consultation is continuing now. It would be prejudging it if we say it should go one way or the other. There are good reasons for considering a precautionary arrangement as a safety net. Also, equally, if there is market access, if there is commitment to continuing reforms beyond these programs, a credible case can be made for not having one. So that consideration is continuing now, and I think we need to let the government seek views and form its judgment.”

Autor: Pedro Pita Barros, professor na Nova SBE

Professor de Economia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

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