Posted on March 18, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Vitor Gaspar, Richard Hughes, and Laura Jaramillo
Fortune, wrote Machiavelli five hundred years ago in The Prince, is like a violent river. She “shows her power where virtue has not been put in order to resist her and therefore turns her impetus where she knows that dams and dikes have not been made to contain her.” Managing the ebb and flow of government’s fiscal fortunes poses similar challenges today. We need a risk-based approach to fiscal policymaking that applies a systematic analysis of potential sources of fiscal vulnerabilities. This method would help countries detect potential problems early, and would allow for institutional changes to build resilience.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, International Monetary Fund, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: euro area, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, inflation, Japan, oil prices, public finances, spillover | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 11, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Jochen Andritzky
(Versions in Español)
In housing crises, high mortgage debt can feed a vicious circle of falling housing prices and economic slowdown. As a result, more households default on their mortgages and the crisis deepens. A new IMF Working Paper studies the differences in the housing crises and policy responses in Iceland, Ireland, Spain, and the United States, and argues that crisis policies geared to provide temporary debt service relief for struggling households, followed by durable loan modifications, can help break this vicious circle.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Foreclosures, house prices, housing market, Iceland, Ireland, loans, mortgages, recession, Spain, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 9, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Hamid Faruqee and Andrea Pescatori
(Version in Français)
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Canada’s financial system held up remarkably well—making it the envy of its Group of Seven peers. This relative resilience was particularly impressive considering its most important trading and financial partner, the United States, was the epicenter of the crisis.
Part of Canada’s success story lies in the fact that its banking system is dominated by a handful of large players who are well capitalized and have safe, conservative, and profitable business models concentrated in mortgage lending—much of it covered by mortgage insurance and backstopped by the federal government. Notwithstanding such an enviable record and sound financial system, we need to keep an eye on certain financial risks.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Financial Crisis, G-20, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: bank lending, Canada, financial crisis, house prices, housing, housing market, loan-to-value ratio, mortgages, OECD, oil prices, trade, U.S. | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 25, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Martine Guerguil
Does the European Union need closer fiscal integration, and in particular a stronger fiscal center, to become more resilient to economic shocks? A new IMF book, Designing a European Fiscal Union: Lessons from the Experience of Fiscal Federations, published by Routledge, examines the experience of 13 federal states to help inform the debate on this issue. It analyzes in detail their practices in devolving responsibilities from the subnational to the central level, compares them to those of the European Union, and draws lessons for a possible future fiscal union in Europe.
The book sets out to answer three sets of questions: (1) What is the role of centralized fiscal policies in federations, and hence the size, features, and functions of the central budget? (2) What institutional arrangements are used to coordinate fiscal policy between the federal and subnational levels? (3) What are the links between federal and subnational debt, and how have subnational financing crises been handled, when they occurred?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Austria, Belgium, book launch, Brazil, Canada, debt, euro area, Europe, European Union, fiscal federation, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 19, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Bergljot Bjørnson Barkbu, S. Pelin Berkmen, and Hanni Schölermann
Investment in the euro area, and particularly private investment, has not recovered since the onset of the global financial crisis.
In fact, the decline in investment has been much more drastic than in other financial crises; and is more in line with the most severe of these crises (see Chart 1). The October 2014 World Economic Outlook showed that many governments cut investment because their finances became strained during the crisis. In addition, housing investment collapsed in some countries, reflecting a natural scaling back after an unsustainable boom. But what is holding back private non-residential investment?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: banking union, euro area, France, Germany, Greece, investment, Ireland, Italy, monetary policy, Portugal, Spain, structural reform | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 11, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Christopher Jarvis
(Version in عربي)
Egypt currently faces what may seem to be conflicting objectives. On the one hand, there’s an urgent need to restore economic stability—by achieving lower budget deficits, public debt and inflation, and adequate foreign exchange reserves. At the same time, there’s a long-standing need to achieve better standards of living—with more jobs, less poverty, and better health and education systems—one of the key reasons why people took to the streets in 2011.
Some might think that those two goals don’t go together—that the actions needed to reduce the budget and external deficits will necessarily take away from jobs and growth. But that’s not true. Some of the same policies that will improve Egypt’s financial situation can also help improve living standards.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Middle East, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: Arab Spring, Article IV, education, Egypt, fiscal deficit, health, inflation, infrastructure, jobs, Middle Eas, poverty, public debt, structural reform, tourism, unemployment | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 2, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Plamen Iossifov and Jiri Podpiera
Inflation has been falling sharply across Europe since 2012 (see Charts 1 and 2). Across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), inflation expectations have also drifted down especially among countries who peg their currencies to the euro (Bulgaria, Croatia, as well as Lithuania, which adopted the euro on January 1, 2015), but also in those that target their inflation rate (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania).
The recent drop in world oil prices has re-ignited the debate about good vs. bad disinflation. For the euro area, risks from low inflation have been discussed in the March 2014 iMFdirect post. Our blog examines the causes and potential consequences of falling inflation from the perspective of EU countries outside the euro zone.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Central Europe, commodiity prices, core inflation, Czech Republic, deflation, disinflation, eastern Europe, euro, euro zone, exchange rate, food prices, Hungary, inflation, oil prices, Poland, Romania, spillover, Sweden, unemployment | Leave a comment »