Posted on February 26, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Jonathan D. Ostry and Andrew Berg
(Version in Français, Português, Русский, 中文)
Rising income inequality looms high on the global policy agenda, reflecting not only fears of its pernicious social and political effects, (including questions about the consistency of extreme inequality with democratic governance), but also the economic implications. While positive incentives are surely needed to reward work and innovation, excessive inequality is likely to undercut growth, for example by undermining access to health and education, causing investment-reducing political and economic instability, and thwarting the social consensus required to adjust in the face of major shocks.
Understandably, economists have been trying to understand better the links between rising inequality and the fragility of economic growth. Recent narratives include how inequality intensified the leverage and financial cycle, sowing the seeds of crisis; or how political-economy factors, especially the influence of the rich, allowed financial excess to balloon ahead of the crisis.
Filed under: Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: education, income inequality, inequality, investment, research | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 28, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Version in Français and Español)
As we begin the new year, Europe confronts both good and bad news. First the good news. Growth is finally picking up in the euro area as it is slowly emerging from the deep recession. The bad news? Still nearly 20 million people are unemployed. Until the effects on employment have been reversed, we cannot say that the crisis is over.
Two trends are particularly troubling, now and for the future. First, the high level of long-term unemployment gives me great cause for concern: almost half of those without a job have been unemployed for more than a year. Second, I still worry about the large number of young people without jobs: nearly one quarter of Europeans under the age of 25 who are looking for a job cannot find one. In Italy and Portugal, more than one third of under-25s are unemployed, and in Spain and Greece more than one half are.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: book launch, Christine Lagarde, Czech Republic, euro area, Europe, Germany, labor market, Slovakia, Spain, unemployment | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 23, 2014 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
Brisbane and Basel may be 10,000 miles apart, but when it comes to financial regulation the two cities will be standing cheek by jowl.
At the next summit of the Group of Twenty advanced and emerging economies, to be held in Brisbane in November, political leaders will take the pulse of the global financial regulatory reform agenda, launched five years ago. The explicit goal of the Australian G-20 presidency is to finally complete these essential reforms. As Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today in Davos, “Financial regulation is always a work-in-progress, but these reforms now need to be finalized in ways that promote confidence without eliminating risk.”
I strongly support this extra push to create a safer financial system that can better support the needs of the real economy, and better protect taxpayers. For far too long, critics have been able to portray the G-20 reform agenda as a regulatory supertanker stuck in the shallow waters of technical complexity, financial industry pushback, and diverging national views. This image is increasingly off the mark.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, G-20, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics | Tagged: Basel III, Ben Bernanke, Davos, economic reform, European Union, Financial Stability Board, G-20, global financial system, Japan, José Viñals, U.S. Fed, United Kingdom, United States, United States Federal Reserve | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 22, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu
(Version in Français, Русский, 日本語, Português, عربي and 中文)
We had a big debate on emerging markets’ growth prospects at our Annual Meetings in October 2013. We lowered our 2013 growth forecast for emerging markets and developing economies by a whopping 0.5 percentage points compared to our earlier forecast. Some argued that we were too pessimistic. Others said that we should have stuck with the lower-growth scenario we had devised at the onset of the global financial crisis.
Fast forward to today. Indeed, most recent figures indicate that the engines of global growth—emerging markets and developing economies—have slowed significantly. Their growth rate dropped about 3 percentage points in 2013 from 2010 levels, with more than two thirds of countries seeing a decline— Brazil, China, and India lead the pack. This is important for the global economy, since these economies generate half of today’s global economic activity.
In my more recent travels around the world—five regions on three continents—I received the same questions everywhere: what is happening with the emerging markets? Is the slowdown permanent? Can emerging markets boost their growth? What are the downside risks?
Filed under: Annual Meetings, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Fiscal Stimulus, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: Brazil, central banks, China, commodiity prices, India, Indonesia, interest rates, international trade, Turkey | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 16, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Version in Español and Português)
Some basic realities seem to be getting lost in the debate over the Fed’s “exit” from unconventional monetary policy and its impact on Latin America.
First, the still-loose stance makes sense. U.S. inflation is too low, the output gap too large, and the labor market too weak. And even during tapering, the Fed’s stance will remain highly loose. The 10-year Treasury rate, adjusted for core inflation, is about 230 basis points below its 30-year average and the inflation-adjusted Fed funds rate is 320 basis points below. These rates are likely to remain below their 30-year average for at least the next two to three years.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Español, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Low-income countries | Tagged: capital flows, financial stability, inflation, Latin America, monetary policy, U.S., U.S. Fed | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 13, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Alexander Culiuc and Kalpana Kochhar
(Versions in Español, Русский, Português, and 中文)
A number of emerging market economies have been on a rollercoaster since the U.S. Federal Reserve announced last May the eventual tapering of its asset purchase program. This is another reminder of how susceptible these economies remain to economic conditions outside their borders.
Much of the market movements to date have been short term in nature. But emerging markets know the end-game – interest rates in advanced economies will eventually go up, reducing the cheap external financing they have benefited from until now. And this is not the only external factor weighing on the growth prospects of emerging markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: advanced economies, capital flows, commodiity prices, emerging market economies, exchange rate, inflation, interest rates, World Economic Outlook | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 15, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard, Jonathan D. Ostry, and Atish R. Ghosh
International policy coordination is like the Loch Ness monster: much discussed but rarely seen. Going back over the decades, and even further in history to the period between the Great Wars, coordination efforts have been episodic.
Coordination seems to occur spontaneously in turbulent periods, when the world faces the prospect of some calamitous outcome and the key players are seeking to avoid cascading negative spillovers. In quieter times, coordination is rarer—though not unheard of; the Louvre and Plaza accords are examples.
Today, policy coordination has resurfaced as a hot topic: while the worst of the global financial crisis is behind us, no one would claim that a return to “Great Moderation” is in the cards, and policymakers around the globe appear worried about policy transmissions across many dimensions.
Filed under: Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: exchange rate, interconnected, monetary policy, policy coordination, spillover | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 11, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Versions Español and Português)
Public finances in most Latin American countries strengthened significantly before the global financial crisis. Since 2009, countries have generally increased public deficits, drawing down on their fiscal coffers.
These expansionary policies continue and are yet to be reversed. With further pressures likely to build over the period ahead—as economic growth has slowed, commodity prices have softened, and external funding costs are bound to rise—now is the right time to rethink fiscal policies across the region.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, fiscal policy, Fiscal Stimulus, infrastructure, labor market, Mexico, Peru, public deficits, public finances, public spending | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 2, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Steven Barnett
(Version in 中文)
It’s the season for shopping. We have Cyber Monday in the United States and Singles Day in China (November 11 or 11/11). So, while we are pondering shopping, try to guess which consumer market is growing the fastest. The answer is…China!
China had the largest consumption increase in the world. This was true in 2011, true in 2012, and likely to be true again this year (see chart). Consumption in China is also generally thought to be weak. Indeed, the government and the IMF are calling for more consumer-based growth. How could consumption, in effect, be both weak and strong at the same time?
Filed under: Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: China, consumer spending, consumption | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 27, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Martin Kaufman and Mercedes García-Escribano
(Version in Español and Português)
Since the early 2000s, Brazil’s economy has grown at a robust clip, with growth in 2010 reaching 7.5 percent—its strongest in a quarter of a century. A key pillar of its hard-won economic success has been sound economic policies and the adoption of far-reaching social programs, which resulted in a substantial decline in poverty.
In the last couple of years Brazil’s growth slowed down. Although other emerging market economies experienced a similar slowdown, the growth outturns in Brazil were particularly disappointing. And the measures taken to stimulate the economy did not produce a sustained recovery. This is because unleashing sustained growth in Brazil requires measures geared not at stimulating domestic demand but at changing the composition of demand towards investment and at increasing productivity.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Español, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Português, Public debt | Tagged: Article IV, Brazil, BRICs, fiscal consolidation, infrastructure, macroeconomic policy, recovery, unemployment | Leave a comment »