Posted on January 22, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Masood Ahmed
(Version in عربي)
The steep decline in global oil prices, by 55 percent since last September, has changed the economic dynamics of oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa. Our update of the Regional Economic Outlook, released yesterday, shows that these countries are now faced with large export and government revenue losses, which are expected to reach about $300 billion (21 percent of GDP) in the Gulf Cooperation Council and about $90 billion (10 percent of GDP) in other oil-exporting countries.
Where prices will eventually settle is, of course, uncertain, making it hard for policymakers to gauge how much of the bane is temporary in nature and what share of it they should expect to last.
Filed under: Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Middle East, Politics, عربي | Tagged: energy subsidies, GCC, Gulf Cooperation Council, Kuwait, Middle East and North Africa, oil, oil exporters, oil prices, Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and North Africa | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 21, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(version in Español and Português)
The turn of the year usually brings a fresh dose of optimism. Yet, worries dominate across much of Latin America and the Caribbean today, as 2015 marks yet another year of reduced growth expectations. Regional growth is projected at just 1¼ percent, about the same low rate as in 2014 and almost 1 percentage point below our previous forecast. Challenging external conditions are an important drag for many countries. Still, it’s not too late for some good New Year’s resolutions to address domestic weaknesses and improve growth prospects.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, commodi, Ecuador, energy subsidies, euro area, forecast, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, oil, Peru, poverty reduction, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, South America, U.S., Venezuela | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 12, 2015 by iMFdirect
In the end, the case for job rich, inclusive growth is not economic, it’s political, according to Nobel prize-winning economist Michael Spence.
In this podcast with the IMF, Spence discusses the growing sense in many countries that it’s mostly the wealthy population who are reaping the benefits of economic development.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Employment, Financial Crisis, Global Governance, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: China, economic development, global economy, Great Recession, inclusive growth, infrastructure, investment, Michael Spence, podcasts, public sector | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 7, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Kevin Fletcher and Peter Kunzel
The main features of boom-bust cycles in housing markets are by now all too familiar.
During booms, conditions such as lax lending standards and low interest rates help drive up house prices and with them mortgage debt.
When the bust arrives, over-indebted households find themselves underwater on their mortgages— owing more than their homes are worth.
Feeling the pinch of reduced wealth and access to credit, households, in turn, rein in consumption. At the same time, lower house prices cause investment in new houses to tumble.
Together, these forces significantly depress output and increase unemployment. Non-performing loans increase, and banks respond by tightening credit and lending standards, further depressing house prices and adding to the vicious cycle.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Transition | Tagged: bank lending, boom-bust cycle, debt, Denmark, house prices, housing market, Ireland, mortgages, Netherlands, private sector, Spain, tax exemptions, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 31, 2014 by iMFdirect
As 2014 draws to a close, we thought you might like a look back at the most read blogs of the year. These are the headlines and ideas that caught your eyes and the list is based on readership. We thought we’d pull them all together for you in one quick read.
Wishing you a wonky & worldy 2015 from all of us at iMFdirect.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Government, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Middle East, recession, unemployment | Tagged: carbon pricing, Caribbean, China, deflation, emerging market debt, euro area, house prices, inequality, lowflation, oil, redistribution, Russia, Saudi Arabia, shale oil | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 21, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Benedict Clements, Sanjeev Gupta, and Masahiro Nozaki
(Versions in 中文, Français, 日本語, Русский, and Español)
Improvements in health can have a tremendously positive effect on society’s well-being and the level of economic activity. Indeed, 2013’s path-breaking report by the Lancet Commission indicates that about 11 percent of the economic growth in recent decades can be attributed to these improvements. As such, it makes good sense for macroeconomists to pay attention to health indicators and to the factors that influence them, such as public health spending.
In this context, it is not surprising that the impact of IMF-supported programs on public health spending has generated considerable attention. Previous research, focusing on periods before the global financial crisis, indicates that Fund-supported programs have a positive effect on public health spending (Martin and Segura, 2004; Center for Global Development, 2007; Clements, Gupta and Nozaki, 2013). But does this pattern still hold if we extend the analysis to more recent years? In this blog, we take a fresh look at this evidence for developing economies.
Filed under: Africa, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, Globalization, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Africa, ebola, health care, health spending, Liberia, public health spending, Sierra Leone, Sub-Saharan Africa, tax reform | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 15, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Gregorio Impavido and Uffe Mikkelsen
(Version in Türk)
Turkey is going through a time of economic transition, with slowing growth that risks the country being caught in a “middle-income trap,” unable to join the ranks of high income economies.
The country grew at 6 percent per year on average in the period 2010-13, with policies supportive of domestic consumption. This has generated a large current account deficit, mostly financed by short-term capital flows. The reliance on consumption at the expense of investment, slow export growth, and sizable investment needs have hurt potential growth, with the economy already growing more modestly. Moreover, Turkey’s low domestic savings and competitiveness challenges have limited investment as well as exports, which have also suffered from the slow growth in Europe.
With current policies, Turkey’s economy is expected to grow only 3.5 percent annually over the next five years. Going forward, the economy must be rebalanced to make it more competitive and to restore output and employment growth.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: Article IV, banking sector, economic rebalancing, Europe, fiscal policy, inflation, Macroeconomic policies, middle income countries, savings, Turkey | Leave a comment »