Posted on June 11, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu
(Versions in عربي, Español, 日本語, 中文, Français, and Русский)
House prices are inching up. But is this a cause for much cheer? Or are we watching the same movie again? Recall how after a decade-long boom, house prices started to fall in 2006, first in the United States and then elsewhere, contributing to the 2008-9 global financial crisis. In fact, our research indicates that boom-bust patterns in house prices preceded more than two-thirds of the recent 50 systemic banking crises.
While a recovery in the housing market (Figure 1) is surely a welcome development, we need to guard against another unsustainable boom. Housing is an essential sector of every country’s economy and has systemic implications, which is why we at the IMF are focusing on it not only in individual countries but on a cross-country basis.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: Article IV, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Global House Price Index, Hong Kong, house prices, housing market, income, Ireland, Korea, macroprudential policies, Min Zhu, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, Thailand | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 4, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Jesus Gonzalez-Garcia and Francesco Grigoli
(Version in Español)
Government ownership of banks is still common around the world, despite the large number of privatizations that took place over the past four decades as governments reduced their role in the economy. On average, state-owned banks hold 21 percent of the assets of the banking system worldwide. In Latin American and Caribbean countries, the public banks’ share is about 15 percent, with some of them showing very large shares, for instance, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Costa Rica are all over 40 percent (see Figure 1).
State-owned banks play an important role in the financial system. They fulfill functions that are not performed by private banks, provide financing for projects that benefit the rest of the economy, and provide countercyclical lending (lending more when the economy is weak). But public banks usually respond to the needs of governments owing to the state’s obvious involvement in their administration. As a result, government’s participation in the banking system may weaken fiscal discipline by allowing the public sector to access financing that they would not obtain from other sources.
In our recent study, we use a panel dataset for 123 countries to test whether a larger presence of state-owned banks in the banking system is associated with more credit to the public sector, larger fiscal deficits, higher public debt ratios, and the crowding out of credit to the private sector.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Español, Finance, Fiscal policy, Government, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: Argentina, bank credit, banking, big banks, Caribbean, Latin America, public sector, Uruguay | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Holger van Eden
Most economists would agree that institutions in general are incredibly important in helping to shape countries’ overall economic and fiscal outcomes. But which institutions really matter, and to what extent, is less clear.
A team of staff at the IMF recently completed a study, along with detailed country evaluations, that explores the G-20 countries’ efforts to strengthen their budget institutions in the wake of the global financial crisis, and evaluates their impact on fiscal policy. We ask whether strong budget institutions helped these countries to cope with the substantial fiscal consolidation needs that arose after the Great Recession. The evidence suggests that these institutions have indeed been important.
Budget institutions matter
In the study we identify 12 institutions (see figure1) that are commonly viewed as important for the effectiveness of fiscal policy. To be clear, the term “institution” is used in a broad sense—it encompasses processes, procedures, systems, legal frameworks, and organizational entities which contribute to the budget process.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: budget institution, budget preparation, fiscal reporting, G-20 | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 22, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Alexander Klemm, Andre Meier, and Sebastián Sosa
(Version in Español)
Governments in most emerging economies, including in Latin America, have reduced their exposure to U.S. interest rates over the past decade, by issuing a greater share of public debt in domestic currencies.
Even so, sudden changes in U.S. interest rates still have the power to roil financial markets in emerging economies. Witness last year’s “taper tantrum”—when the Fed hinted at the possibility of tapering its bond purchases sooner than previously expected, causing bond yields to rise sharply. Continue reading
Filed under: Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Brazil, capital flows, emerging economies, emerging markets, financial stability, IMF, interest rates, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, monetary policy, South Africa, taper tantrum, Treasury, Turkey, U.S. interest rates, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 19, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu
(Version in 中文,Français, Português, and Español)
There is a group of fast-growing low-income countries that are attracting international investor interest—frontier economies. Understanding who they are, how they are different, and how they have moved themselves to the frontier matters for the global economy because they combine huge potential with big risks.
Get to know them
The first thing to note is that some of these countries already have moved to the lower-middle income group. While a working definition of frontier economies is subject to further discussion, broadly speaking, these countries have been deepening their financial markets, such as Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Vietnam.
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, LICs, Low-income countries | Tagged: Bangladesh, Bolivia, fiscal policy, Ghana, iMFdirect, Kenya, monetary policy, Mozambique, Nigeria, services sector, Tanzania, Vietnam | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Antoinette M. Sayeh
In my many travels to sub-Saharan Africa, a frequent question on the lips of policymakers is the following: “Sure, we know that growth has not been inclusive enough and poverty remains high in most of our countries, but what exactly can we do to make growth more inclusive?” This is an important question that the latest edition of the Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa takes a stab at.
It is well known by now that growth in sub-Saharan Africa for the past 15 years or so has on average been quite strong. What is less well known perhaps is that a number of human development indicators such as infant and maternal mortality, primary school enrollment and completion rates, have also improved (see Chart 1).
Filed under: Africa, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: agriculture, Mozambique, poverty, Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, structural reform, Sub-Saharan Africa, United Nations, Vietnam | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 5, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Romain Duval
(Version in 中文, and 日本語)
In recent decades, trade integration within Asia has increased more than in other regions. In valued-added terms, intraregional trade grew on average by over 10 percent a year from 1990 to 2012, twice the pace seen outside of Asia. Likewise, financial integration within the region has started to catch up, although it still lags behind trade integration. Concomitantly, business cycles in Asia have become steadily more synchronized over the past two decades, with the correlation between ASEAN economies’ growth rates almost reaching the very high levels seen within the Euro Area.
As outlined in the IMF Asia and Pacific Department’s latest Regional Economic Outlook, these facts are related. Namely, increases in trade and financial integration have strengthened the propagation of growth shocks between regional partners, leading Asian economies to move more in lockstep. One driver of this synchronization of business cycles has been the increase in size and connectedness of China’s economy. Looking ahead, we expect regional integration agenda and a bigger China to further increase spillovers and growth co-movement across the region. Greater international cooperation, particularly regional and global financial safety nets, can help countries respond to the associated risk of more synchronized, sharper downturns, and thereby help Asia make the most of greater regional integration.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: ASEAN, China, euro area, global trade, Korea, Malaysia, Regional Economic Outlook: Asia, spillovers, Taiwan, Thailand | Leave a comment »