Posted on July 1, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Stefan Laseen, Andrea Pescatori, and Jarkko Turunen
Academics and policy-makers alike have long struggled with the question of whether to use monetary policy to dampen asset price booms – whether to “lean against the wind” or not. Can officials identify emerging asset price bubbles, what are the implications of bursting them, and is monetary policy the appropriate response to potential bubbles? These questions have become even more important to the policy debate in the wake of the global financial crisis, which was preceded by an unsustainable boom in sub-prime mortgage lending and housing prices.
Given over six years of near zero policy interest rates, should the U.S. Fed now use interest rates to lean against potential financial stability risks that may have built up?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics | Tagged: Federal Reserve, financial risks, financial stability, inflation, interest rates, investment, macroprudential policy, U.S., U.S. Fed, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 11, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu and Sarwat Jahan
(Versions in Español, عربي)
Countries will start a new chapter in their development this year with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Designed to replace the Millennium Development Goals, these new goals will broaden the vision of development to embrace economic, social, and environmental issues. To achieve these goals, two elements are critical: money and the right policies to use the money. The IMF, along with many others in the global community, will partner with countries to bring these two elements together.
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Civil Society, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, LICs, Low-income countries, Politics | Tagged: carbon price, Cote d’Ivoire, developing countries, development financing, energy price reform, financing for development, frontier economies, Ghana, Kenya, low income countries, Millennium Development Goals, Min Zhu, Peru, senegal, sustainable development Goals, tax reform, trade, United Nations, Vietnam, Zambia | Leave a comment »
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 5, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Versions in Español and Português)
Latin America has reached a critical moment. So much better off than two decades ago, and still facing deep-seated problems that get in the way of sustained strong growth and economic development. To better understand these problems from countries’ perspectives, and explore ways the IMF and others can help address them, we brought together experts from the region and beyond—central bankers, finance ministers, and academics—for a high-level conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this week.
Under the theme of “Rising Challenges to Growth and Stability,” participants engaged in lively debates about the current difficulties facing Latin America and the policy priorities for now and the future.
Here are my main takeaways from the event:
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Español, Finance, Fiscal policy, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Annual Meetings, commodiity prices, economic development, economic diversification, education, governance, inequality, infrastructure, investment, Latin America, Peru, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, trade, U.S. interest rates | 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 »