Posted on April 17, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Version in Español)
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 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, emerging market, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, fiscal stabilization, government deficits, investment, recession | 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 »
Posted on April 2, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard
Seven years since the onset of the global financial crisis, we are still assessing how the crisis should change our views about macroeconomic policy. To take stock, the IMF organized two conferences, the first in 2011, the second in 2013, and published the proceedings in two books, titled “In the Wake of the Crisis” and “What Have We Learned?“.
The time seems right for a third assessment. Research has continued, policies have been tried, and the debates have been intense. But have we truly made much progress? Are we closer to a new framework? To address these questions, Raghuram Rajan, Ken Rogoff, Larry Summers and I are organizing a third conference, “Rethinking Macro Policy III: Progress or Confusion?” that will take place on April 15-16 at the IMF.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: capital inflows, central banks, exchange rate, financial system, fiscal policy, IMF Annual Research Conference, macroeconomic policy, macroprudential policy, monetary policy, Olivier Blanchard | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 1, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Changyong Rhee
(Versions in 日本語)
Abenomics can succeed, despite recent setbacks to growth and inflation, in revitalizing Japan by making steadfast progress on all three of its arrows equally and simultaneously, as we show in our new book. This is also essential to avoid an undue weakening of the yen and ensure positive spillovers to Japan’s neighbors, its region, and the global economy.
The Legacy: Structural Changes During the Lost Decades
Most Japan followers will be familiar with the following striking statistic: in 2013, Japan’s level of nominal GDP was about 6 percent below its mid 1990s level. During this period, three important structural changes have been a brake on growth and efforts to get out of deflation: Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Abenomics, Bank of Japan, deflation, deleveraging, inflation, investment, Japan, labor market, small and medium-sized enterprises, structural changes, structural reform, subsidiaries | Leave a comment »