Posted on June 10, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Eugenio Cerutti, Jihad Dagher, and Giovanni Dell’Ariccia
Housing finance—considered one of the villains of the recent global financial crisis—was seen, at least until recently, as a vehicle for economic growth and social stability. Broader access to housing finance promotes home ownership, especially for younger and poorer households; which in turn is often linked to social stability, and ultimately economic growth.
But real-estate boom episodes have often ended in busts with dire economic consequences, especially when the boom was financed through fast credit growth. Several countries have seen these boom-bust patterns over the last decade, particularly in some of the hardest hit countries during the global financial crises, such as Ireland, Spain, and the United States. Despite having different mortgage market structures, these three countries saw an astonishing increase in house prices and construction on the back of risky lending which was followed by a painful adjustment period—a mortgage credit boom gone bad.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: house prices, household debt, housing market, Ireland, monetary policy, mortgages, real estate, Spain, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 9, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Fabiano Rodrigues Bastos and Ke Wang
(Versions in Español and Português)
Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean has weakened significantly over the last few years. Part of this weakness appears to be here to stay, and IMF economists have marked down medium-term growth projections. This story sounds eerily familiar, given the region’s past difficulties to improve its comparative growth performance.
Abstracting from the “golden decade” from 2003 to 2011, when rising commodity prices powered a strong expansion, why has the region been unable to sustain sufficiently high growth rates to catch up with more advanced economies? Part of the answer is Latin America’s modest success in branching out into more sophisticated—or complex—goods.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Brazil, Caribbean, commodiity prices, commodity exports, education, infrastructure, investment, Latin America, macroeconomic stability, Mexico, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, trade | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 4, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
IMF staff have just concluded their annual health check of the U.S. economy, and released their concluding statement.
This year we have also undertaken a Financial Sector Assessment Program with the United States. We conduct these once every 5 years for systemically important countries and it is a comprehensive exercise looking at the whole U.S. financial system.
Given this important work, we have focused our review of the U.S. economy on financial stability risks and the appropriate policies to mitigate them, as well as looking at recent movements in the U.S. dollar and the timing, form, and impact of interest rate normalization by the Fed.
A more detailed report on the U.S. economy and on the financial sector will be available on July 8.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, Inequality, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Christine Lagarde, financial stability, financial system, fiscal policies, inflation, monetary policy, U.S., United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 2, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Jonathan D. Ostry and Atish R. Ghosh
Financial bailouts, stimulus spending, and lower revenues during the Great Recession have resulted in some of the highest public debt ratios seen in advanced economies in the past forty years. Recent debates have centered on the pace at which to pay down this debt, with few questions being asked about whether the debt needs to be paid down in the first place.
A radical solution for high debt is to do nothing at all—just live with it. Indeed, from a welfare economics perspective—abstracting from real world problems such as rollover risk—this would be optimal. We explore this issue in our recent work. While there are some countries where clearly debt needs to be brought down, there are others that are in a more comfortable position to fund themselves at exceptionally low interest rates, and that could indeed simply live with their debt (allowing their debt ratio to decline through growth or windfall revenues).
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Debt Relief, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt, recession | Tagged: bailout, budgets, debt, fiscal policies, Great Recession, interest rates | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Jeff Hayden
World leaders will come together three times—in July, September, and December—to press for progress in the fight against poverty and to forge partnerships in support of better-quality life around the world.
In July, government officials and representatives from civil society organizations, donor groups, and the private sector will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to secure the financing needed to lift millions out of extreme poverty.
The global community assembles again in New York in September to review progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire this year, and to adopt new ones—the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—that map out development through 2030.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Africa, Civil Society, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Finance, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, Globalization, Government, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics, unemployment | Tagged: Africa, Arab Spring, Christine Lagarde, Civil Society, development, development financing, F&D, Finance & Development magazine, infrastructure, Millennium Development Goals, poverty, terrorist financing, unemployment, United Nations, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, youth unemployment | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 7, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Shekhar Aiyar, Bergljot Barkbu, and Andreas (Andy) Jobst
If financing is the lifeblood of European small businesses, then the effect of the financial crisis was similar to a cardiac arrest. The flow of affordable credit from banks was choked off and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hit hardest. Today, with bank lending still recovering from that shock, smart policy actions could open up securitization as a source of financing to help small businesses start up, flourish and grow.
SMEs are vital to the European economy. They account for 99 out of every 100 businesses, two in every three employees, and 58 cents of each euro of value added of the business sector in Europe. Improving access to finance would therefore not only revive small businesses, but also support a strong and lasting recovery for Europe as a whole.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Finance, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: bank lending, bond markets, capital markets, credit, EU, Europe, France, Germany, infrastructure, Italy, private investment, Securitization, small and medium-sized enterprises, Spain | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 6, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alexander Klemm
(Versions in Español and Português)
Latin America is heading for tougher times. Regional growth is expected to dip below 1 percent in 2015, partly as a result of the drop in global commodity prices. How well placed is the region for the coming lean times?
Countries face this slowdown from much weaker fiscal positions than when the global financial crisis hit. Then, Latin America responded strongly with expansionary fiscal policies, including explicit fiscal stimulus programs in many countries. But, as growth has recovered, this increase in spending has proved difficult to reverse.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, commodiity prices, fiscal policy, infrastructure, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, public debt, public spending, trade, Uruguay | Leave a comment »