A stock in excess of €900 billion of nonperforming loans continue to clutter the European banking system, impeding economic growth. This issue remains a key challenge for policy makers. As we show in our latest Global Financial Stability Report, part of the solution to address this legacy is an upgrade in legal systems. Current inefficiencies—long foreclosure times and insolvency procedures—are a reason for the gap between the value of loans on bank balance sheets and the price investors are willing to pay. A reliable legal environment and an efficient judicial system maximize the value of nonperforming loans (NPLs), reduce the value gap and give banks greater incentive to get NPLs off the books. Our analysis, using time to foreclose as a proxy for effective insolvency regimes, shows there is a large upside for new lending capacity in the euro area (Chart 1).
Devaluation is often part of the remedy for a country in financial trouble. Devaluation boosts the competitiveness of a country’s exports and curtails imports by making them more costly. Together, the higher exports and the reduced imports generate some of the financial resources needed to help the country get out of trouble.
For countries that belong to—and want to stay in—a currency union, however, devaluation is not an option. This was the situation facing several euro area economies at the onset of the global financial crisis: capital had been flowing into these countries before the crisis but much of it fled when the crisis hit.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: central bank, euro area, spillover, structural reforms, wage moderation, wages | Leave a comment »
As the Group of Twenty leaders gather in Turkey this weekend, they will have on their minds heartbreaking images of displaced people fleeing countries gripped by armed conflict and economic distress. The surge of refugees in the last few years has reached levels not seen in decades. And these numbers could increase further in the near future.
The immediate priority must be to help the refugees—who bear the heaviest burden, and too often tragically—with better access to shelter, health care and quality education.
Many of the countries neighboring conflict zones—which have welcomed most of the refugees—have stretched their capacity to absorb people to the limit. To support additional public services for refugees, they will require more financial resources. The international community must play its part. With the IMF’s support, for example, Jordan has been able to adjust its fiscal targets to help meet this need.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Africa, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Europe, Fiscal policy, G-20, Global Governance, Globalization, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Middle East, Politics | Tagged: Christine Lagarde, conflict, conflict-affected states, education, G20, health care, immigration, Jordan, labor force, refugees, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sweden, Turkey | Leave a comment »
Today, we released the October 2015 World Economic Outlook.
Our forecasts come at a moment when the world economy is at the intersection of at least three powerful forces.
First, China’s economic transformation – away from export- and investment-led growth and manufacturing, in favor of a greater focus on consumption and services. This process, however necessary and healthy in the longer term, has near-term implications for China’s growth and its relations with its trade partners.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, commodiity prices, deflation, emerging markets, exchange rate, forecast, investment, Japan, Latin America, Maurice Obstfeld, monetary policy, Norway, Russia, trade, United States, WEO, World Economic Outlook | Leave a comment »
Problem loans are clogging the arteries of Europe’s banking system. The global financial crisis and subsequent recession have left businesses and households in many countries with debts that they cannot repay. Nonperforming loans as a share of total loans in the EU have more than doubled since 2009, reaching €1 trillion—over 9 percent of the region’s GDP—by end-2014. These loans are particularly high in the southern part of the euro area, as well as in several Eastern and Southeastern European countries. Only a handful of countries have managed to lower their nonperforming loan ratio to below its post-crisis peak.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: debt, euro area, Europe, European Central Bank, non-performing loans, recession | Leave a comment »
For a man who declared on his arrival at the IMF “I do not blog,” Olivier Blanchard, our soon-to-be former Chief Economist, is one hell of a blogger.
Prolific and popular. A demi-god: half economist, half artist. Blanchard writes the way he thinks: sharp, frank, and intellectual, while pushing against the edges of his métier with the creativity and honesty of a singular economist.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: Greece, IMF Annual Research Conference, IMF chief economist, jobs, Latvia, macroeconomic policy, oil prices, Olivier Blanchard | 1 Comment »
All European Union members, except Denmark and the United Kingdom, are expected under EU treaties to eventually adopt the euro. Six Central and Eastern EU members – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania – are yet to do so.
In the meantime, these countries have a decision to make: Should they opt in to the Banking Union before adopting the euro? Such a move may offer greater insurance against shocks, but at a certain cost to policy flexibility. In a recent study, we explore some of the trade-offs that countries need to weigh.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: banking union, euro | Leave a comment »