Crisis Contagion in Central and Eastern Europe
The global financial crisis reached the Central and Eastern European region. Fears of a recession are spreading among investors in Russia and the Ukraine due to the heavy decline of oil and steel prices and provoked a first wave of short-term capital withdrawals. The export sector of all countries in the region is affected by weakening global demand. Finally, the financial sector, which is dominated by international banks in almost all countries, appears as the contagion channel for risk adjustments of mother banks. The combined impact of all these causes and channels lead to a proliferation of restrictions in credit and money supply and an outflow of investment capital. A strong weakening of economic growth is on the way in the region, and a long-lasting recession seems possible in some countries, in first line in the Baltic countries. It becomes a superior task of governments to ease the length and depth of the approaching recession by a strong fiscal stimulus. A continuation of the present policy of fiscal consolidation or of nominal convergence toward a quick adoption of the Euro does not seem very advisable. If governments decided to support domestic demand, measures should be taken to strengthening of a genuinely domestic banking sector in order to maintain credit availability.