Posted on November 17, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu
(Versions in 中文, Русский)
The world’s central bankers are certainly in the news these days. Not a week goes by without the Fed, the European Central Bank or the Bank of Japan taking big and often unprecedented actions to fight deflation, preserve financial stability, or address mediocre growth. We tend to forget, however, that these are not the only central banks that are struggling to adapt their policies to changing circumstances in our connected world.
Take the Caucasus and Central Asia — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Central banking in these former Soviet republics rarely makes international headlines. But figuring out how best to design and run monetary policy is no less a challenge than in the United States or the euro zone.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bank of Japan, Caucasus and Central Asia, central banks, European Central Bank, exchange rate, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Min Zhu, monetary policy, Russia, Switzerland, technical assistance, Turkmenistan, United States, Uzbekistan | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 12, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard, Luc Laeven and Esteban Vesperoni
The global crisis—which challenged paradigms about the functioning of financial markets and had significant consequences in other markets—and the sluggish recovery since 2009, are a reminder of the importance of understanding interconnections and risks in the global economy. The increasing trend in global trade, and even more significant, in cross-border financial activities, suggests that spillovers can take many different forms.
The understanding of transmission channels of spillovers has become essential, not only from an academic perspective, but also policymaking. The challenges faced by policy coordination after the initial response to the crisis in 2009—illustrated by the debate on the impact of unconventional monetary policy in emerging economies—raise wide ranging issues on fiscal, monetary, and financial policies.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, IMF, Politics | Tagged: capital flows, central banks, European Central Bank, exchange rate, Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference, Olivier Blanchard, sovereign debt, spillovers, surveillance, trade, U.S. monetary policy, unconventional monetary policy | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 5, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Deniz Igan
(version in Español)
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when science fiction could make us look forward to a better world. We had uplifting visions of the future in shows like Star Trek and Back to the Future. Today, the menu of options only offers a dystopian world ruined by poverty and violence (think The Hunger Games, Divergent, or Elysium).
It sure is easy to get pessimistic these days. Six years after the financial crisis, the recovery in the United States has been fragile and weaker than anything we have seen in the post-WWII period. Growth figures, in large part, have been serial disappointments, disrupted by government shutdowns, debt ceiling showdowns, or meteorologically-triggered slowdowns.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Article IV, deficit, education, global financial crisis, immigration, infrastructure, labor force, recovery, tax reform, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 28, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Antoinette M. Sayeh
Tremendous efforts are under way to upgrade sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure. But the needs on the ground are still immense as evidenced by the frequent electricity blackouts, poor roads, and insufficient access to clean water in many countries.
Infrastructure is one of the key challenges facing policymakers in the region—I experienced it first hand when I was finance minister of Liberia before coming to the IMF. The benefits are fairly clear: with improved infrastructure, new growth opportunities in the manufacturing and services sector can be generated, barriers to intraregional trade can be reduced, and economies will be better positioned to transition from low to higher productivity activities. Without improved infrastructure, I fear the increase in productivity and greater economic diversification necessary to sustain Africa’s current growth momentum will not materialize.
In this spirit, in the latest Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa economists from the IMF’s African Department looked at progress so far in addressing the infrastructure deficit and discussed policies needed going forward.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Financial Crisis, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Reform | Tagged: Africa, China, domestic tax revenues, infrastructure, investors, manufacturing, public debt, Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, telecommunication | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 20, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Will Kerry and Andrea Maechler
Banks are struggling to overhaul the way they do business given new realities and new regulations adopted in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. While banks are generally stronger—they have more capital—they are less profitable, as measured by the return on equity. There are a number of reasons behind this, including: anemic net income at banks, particularly in the euro area; higher levels of equity; and banks taking fewer risks.
If they cannot change their business models, there is a risk that banks will not be able to provide enough credit to help the economy grow and recover.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: banking sector, business model, ECB, economic recovery, equity, euro area, financial markets, Global Financial Stability Report | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 16, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Luis Brandão-Marques, Gaston Gelos, and Erik Oppers
The global financial crisis reminded us that banks often take risks that are excessive from society’s point of view and can damage the economy. In part, this is the result of the incentives embedded in compensation practices and of inadequate monitoring by stakeholders. Our analysis found the right policies could reduce banks risky behavior.
In our latest Global Financial Stability Report we take stock of recent developments in executive pay, corporate governance, and bank risk taking, and conduct a novel empirical analysis.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: bank capital, banking sector, banks, financial system, Global Financial Stability Report, investment, policymakers, risk management, shareholders, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 14, 2014 by iMFdirect
By iMFdirect editors
What a week it’s been. Practical and existential questions on how to do good and be good for the sake of the global economy and finance dominated the seminars at the IMF’s Annual Meetings in Washington.
Our editors fanned out to cover what the panelists, moderators, and audiences said in a variety of seminars, and two big themes caught our eye.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Asia, Civil Society, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Global Governance, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: Archbishop of Canterbury, Christine Lagarde, ethics, Europe, G-20, inequality, infrastructure, jobs, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, seminars, shadow banking, Stanley Fisher, technology, unemployment, women | Leave a comment »