Posted on April 17, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Version in Español and Português)
Economic activity in Latin America and the Caribbean has been cooling down for several years, and the temperature in many places is still falling. Regional growth is now expected to dip below 1 percent in 2015—down from 1.3 percent in 2014. Apart from a short-lived recession during the global financial crisis, this would be the slowest rate of growth since 2002.
However, growth dynamics vary across the region, broadly along North-South lines. While spring may be in the air for Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean, the economic climate remains decidedly chilly in much of South America. What is behind these divergent prospects, and how can a sunnier outlook be restored to the entire region?
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Bolivia, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Chile, Colombia, commodiity prices, Ecuador, exchange rate, Latin America, Mexico, oil prices, Peru, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, South America, spillovers, U.S., Venezuela | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 15, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Benedict Clements and Marta Ruiz-Arranz
(Versions in 中文, Français, 日本語, Русский, عربي and Español)
Plunging oil prices have taken the public finances on an exciting ride the past six months. Oil prices have fallen about 45 percent since September (see April 2015 World Economic Outlook), putting a big dent in the revenues of oil exporters, while providing oil importers an unexpected windfall. How has the decline in oil prices affected the public finances, and how should oil importers and exporters adjust to this new state of affairs?
In the April 2015 Fiscal Monitor, we argue that the oil price decline provides a golden opportunity to initiate serious energy subsidy and taxation reforms that would lock in savings, improve the public finances and boost long-term economic growth.
Filed under: Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Middle East, Reform | Tagged: Angola, commodiity prices, Egypt, energy prices, energy subsidies, fiscal balances, Fiscal Monitor, Gulf Cooperation Council, India, Indonesia, inflation, Malaysia, Norway, oil exporters, oil importers, oil prices, taxation | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 15, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Vitor Gaspar
Does fiscal policy respond systematically to economic activity? Can fiscal policy promote macroeconomic stability? Does greater stability support stronger growth? The answer is yes on all counts. This finding, while seemingly obvious, is now backed by numbers to match each question. The April 2015 Fiscal Monitor explores how.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: advanced economies, financial volatility, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, Fiscal rules, fiscal stabilization, macroeconomic stability, public finances | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 15, 2015 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
(Versions in عربي and Español)
The three main messages from this Global Financial Stability Report are:
- Risks to the global financial system have risen since October and have rotated to parts of the financial system where they are harder to assess and harder to address.
- Advanced economies need to enhance the traction of monetary policies to achieve their goals, while managing undesirable financial side effects of low interest rates.
- To withstand the global crosscurrents of lower oil prices, rising U.S. policy rates, and a stronger dollar, emerging markets must increase the resilience of their financial systems by addressing domestic vulnerabilities.
Let me now discuss these findings in detail.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: Africa, Bank of Japan, emerging market, euro area, European Central Bank, financial stability, Global Financial Stability Report, Greece, interest rates, liquidity, Middle East, monetary policy, oil prices, Russia, Ukraine, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 8, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Xavier Debrun
(Versions in عربي, 中文, Français, Русский, 日本語and Español)
Anyone can easily picture an economy where instability, stagnation and runaway government deficits converge into a perfect storm. Yet the simple mirror image of stability, growth, and balanced budgets currently seems odd to many. And with monetary policy looking breathless, some even wonder whether sacrificing fiscal sanity for short-term growth might not be worth a try.
In any economic debate, looking at the data is always a good starting point. And the latest issue of the Fiscal Monitor does exactly that. Our study looks at the experience with fiscal stabilization during the past three decades in a broad sample of 85 advanced, emerging market, and developing economies. The message is loud and clear: governments can use fiscal policy to smooth fluctuations in economic activity, and this can lead to higher medium-term growth. This essentially means governments need to save in good times so that they can use the budget to stabilize output in bad times. In advanced economies, making fiscal policies more stabilizing could cut output volatility by about 15 percent, with a growth dividend of about 0.3 percentage point annually.
Filed under: Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: debt, recession, fiscal policy, government deficits, emerging market, investment, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal stabilization | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 7, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Aqib Aslam, Daniel Leigh, and Seok Gil Park
(Versions in عربي, 中文, Français, 日本語, Русский, and Español)
The debate continues on why businesses aren’t investing more in machinery, equipment and plants. In advanced economies, business investment—the largest component of private investment—has contracted much more since the global financial crisis than after previous recession. And there are worrying signs that this has eroded long-term economic growth.
Getting the diagnosis right is critical for devising policies to encourage firms to invest more. If low investment is merely a symptom of a weak economic environment, with firms responding to weak sales, then calls for expanding overall economic activity could be justified. If, on the other hand, special impediments are mainly to blame, such as policy uncertainty or financial sector weaknesses, as some suggest, then these must be removed before investment can rise.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Financial Crisis, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: euro area, fiscal policy, infrastructure, infrastructure investment, investment, monetary policy, sovereign debt, WEO, World Economic Outlook | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 6, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Mohamed Norat, Marco Pinon and Zeine Zeidane
(Versions in عربي)
Since the global financial crisis, policymakers have sought to press the “reset” button to strengthen financial intermediation that is performed by conventional banks and non-bank financial institutions. The aim has been to address the fault lines that helped trigger one of the most devastating financial crises in a century, and to enable a more inclusive, stable financial system that promotes stability as well as economic development and growth.
Islamic finance offers several features that are consistent with these objectives. Islamic finance refers to financial services that conform with Islamic jurisprudence, or Shari’ah, which bans interest, speculation, gambling and short-sales; requires fair treatment; and institutes sanctity of contracts. And these principles hold the promise of supporting financial stability, since a key tenet of Islamic finance is that lenders should share in both the risks and rewards of the projects and loans they finance.
Filed under: Asia, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, Globalization, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Middle East | Tagged: Asia, financial crisis, Hong Kong, Islamic banking, islamic finance, Luxembourg, Middle East, real estate, senegal, Shariah, South Africa, sukuk, tax, United Kingdom | Leave a comment »