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 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 12, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Sabina Bhatia
I know it might sound odd, but I actually like the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings. I know the traffic snarls on Pennsylvania Avenue are terrible, Washington cabbies ruder than ever, lots of men in dark suits (and sadly, they are still mostly men), and there is the constant rush from meeting to meeting.
But beyond the long lines, long hours, cold coffee and the constant buzz of communiqués, press releases, and scores of official meetings, I find my place in the rich and stimulating discussions among the non-official community.
This year, over 600 civil society organizations, including members of parliament, academics, and several youth and labor groups, came to the meetings. They deliberated, discussed and debated some thorny issues. The burning issues close to their hearts? Not that different from what officials are also debating. Here is some of what I heard:
Filed under: Africa, Annual Meetings, Civil Society, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Global Governance, IMF | Tagged: academics, civil society organizations, debt, ebola, inequality, infrastructure, investment, jobs, Labor, parliament, recovery, unemployment, women, youth | 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 »
Posted on October 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
by Vitor Gaspar
(version in Español, Français, 中文, Русский, and 日本語)
Unemployment remains unacceptably high in many countries. It increased dramatically during the Great Recession. Global unemployment currently exceeds 200 million people. An additional 13 million people are expected to be unemployed by 2018.
The most worrisome is youth unemployment. There are examples of advanced economies in Europe where youth unemployment surged above 50 percent. In several developing economies, job creation does not absorb the large number of young workers entering the labor force every year.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Debt Relief, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Finance, Fiscal, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Reform, unemployment | Tagged: bond markets, economic reform, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, Great Recession, inflation, interest rates, labor market, public investment, structural policies, unemployment, youth unemployment | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
(Versions in Español, 中文)
I have three key messages for you today:
1. Policymakers are facing a new global imbalance: not enough economic risk-taking in support of growth, but increasing excesses in financial risk-taking posing stability challenges.
2. Banks are safer but may not be strong enough to vigorously support the recovery. And risks are shifting to the shadow banking system in the form of rising market and liquidity risks. If left unaddressed, these risks could compromise global financial stability.
3. In order to address this new global imbalance, we must promote economic risk-taking by improving the transmission of monetary policy to the real economy. And we must address financial excesses through better micro- and macroprudential policies.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Politics, Reform | Tagged: bank credit, banking sector, economic recovery, Europe, GFSR, Global Financial Stability Report, Japan, José Viñals, liquidity, macroprudential policies, monetary policy, shadow banking, United States | Leave a comment »