Posted on October 23, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Prakash Loungani
(version in 中文)
Raising the minimum wage is a polarizing issue. One side worries that raising it will lower employment. The other side downplays the impact on employment and plays up the positive impact on the living standards of the poor. Both sides are able to cling to their beliefs as the evidence, much of which comes from high-income (“advanced”) economies, is mixed.
The majority of the global labor force, however, is in the emerging markets. Moreover, for a number of these countries, instituting a minimum wage or raising it is squarely on the policy agenda. But little is known about the impacts of minimum wages on employment and living standards in emerging markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, unemployment | Tagged: China, employment, income, labor force, labor market, manufacturing, minimum wage | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 22, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Rabah Arezki
Natural gas is creating a new reality for economies around the world. Three major developments of the past few years have thrust natural gas into the spotlight: the shale gas revolution in the United States, the reduction in nuclear power supply following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, and geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Over the last decade, the discovery of massive quantities of unconventional gas resources around the world has transformed global energy markets, and reshaped the geography of global energy trade (see map). Consumption of natural gas now accounts for nearly 25 percent of global primary energy consumption. Meanwhile, the share of oil has declined from 50 percent in 1970 to about 30 percent today.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Politics | Tagged: energy prices, Fukushima disaster, gas supply, Japan, natural gas, Russia, shale gas, Ukraine, United States, World Economic Outlook | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 20, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Will Kerry and Andrea Maechler
Banks are struggling to overhaul the way they do business given new realities and new regulations adopted in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. While banks are generally stronger—they have more capital—they are less profitable, as measured by the return on equity. There are a number of reasons behind this, including: anemic net income at banks, particularly in the euro area; higher levels of equity; and banks taking fewer risks.
If they cannot change their business models, there is a risk that banks will not be able to provide enough credit to help the economy grow and recover.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: banking sector, business model, ECB, economic recovery, equity, euro area, financial markets, Global Financial Stability Report | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 16, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Luis Brandão-Marques, Gaston Gelos, and Erik Oppers
The global financial crisis reminded us that banks often take risks that are excessive from society’s point of view and can damage the economy. In part, this is the result of the incentives embedded in compensation practices and of inadequate monitoring by stakeholders. Our analysis found the right policies could reduce banks risky behavior.
In our latest Global Financial Stability Report we take stock of recent developments in executive pay, corporate governance, and bank risk taking, and conduct a novel empirical analysis.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: bank capital, banking sector, banks, financial system, Global Financial Stability Report, investment, policymakers, risk management, shareholders, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 15, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Fabio Cortes, David Jones and Evan Papageorgiou
Low interest rates and other central bank policies in the United States have sent investors looking for higher returns on their investments. Money is pouring into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, which is fueling a mispricing of credit and a build-up of risks to liquidity in the markets—the ability to trade in assets of any size, at any time, and to find a ready buyer.
Mutual funds and exchange-trade funds are the largest owners of U.S. corporate and foreign bonds (Chart 1). This means they provide a lot of credit to grease the wheels of the financial system because they have taken investors’ money and lent it to corporates.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: central bank, exchange-traded funds, Global Financial Stability Report, liquidity, liquidity mismatch, monetary policy, money market mutual funds, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 14, 2014 by iMFdirect
By iMFdirect editors
What a week it’s been. Practical and existential questions on how to do good and be good for the sake of the global economy and finance dominated the seminars at the IMF’s Annual Meetings in Washington.
Our editors fanned out to cover what the panelists, moderators, and audiences said in a variety of seminars, and two big themes caught our eye.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Asia, Civil Society, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Global Governance, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: Archbishop of Canterbury, Christine Lagarde, ethics, Europe, G-20, inequality, infrastructure, jobs, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, seminars, shadow banking, Stanley Fisher, technology, unemployment, women | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Serkan Arslanalp, David Jones, and Sanjay Hazarika
Six years after the start of the global financial crisis, low interest rates and other central bank policies in the United States remain critical to encourage economic risk-taking—increased consumption by households, and greater willingness to invest and hire by businesses. However, this prolonged monetary ease also may have encouraged excessive financial risk-taking. Our analysis in the latest Global Financial Stability Report suggests that although economic benefits are becoming more evident, U.S. officials should remain alert to excessive financial risk-taking, particularly in lower-rated corporate debt markets.
Bullish financial risk-taking bears monitoring
Persistently low global interest rates have prompted investors to search for higher returns in a wide range of markets, such as stocks, and investment-grade and high-yield bonds. This has resulted in escalating asset prices, and enabled issuers to sell assets with a reduced degree of protection for investors (we give you an example below). The combined trends of more expensive assets and a weakening quality of issuance could pose risks to stability.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: banking system, corporate debt, emerging market, Global Financial Stability Report, interest rates, U.S. Fed, United States | Leave a comment »