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 »
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 | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 26, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard, Atish R. Ghosh, Mahvash S. Qureshi
As with previous crises, the global financial crisis has prompted greater calls for international policy cooperation, but it still remains very much like Nessie, the lovable Loch Ness monster: oft-discussed, seldom seen. To reflect on the obstacles to international policy cooperation, and how to make progress, the IMF recently hosted a panel discussion, Toward a More Cooperative International Monetary System: Perspectives from the Past, Prospects for the Future, with Maurice Obstfeld (CEA; University of Berkley), José Antonio Ocampo (Columbia University), Alexandre Swoboda (The Graduate Institute, Geneva), and Paul Volcker (Former Chairman, Federal Reserve).
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Global Governance, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics, Reform | Tagged: capital flows, exchange rate, G-20, health care, international monetary system, international policy coordination, liquidity, Olivier Blanchard, trade | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 9, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Hamid Faruqee and Andrea Pescatori
(Version in Français)
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Canada’s financial system held up remarkably well—making it the envy of its Group of Seven peers. This relative resilience was particularly impressive considering its most important trading and financial partner, the United States, was the epicenter of the crisis.
Part of Canada’s success story lies in the fact that its banking system is dominated by a handful of large players who are well capitalized and have safe, conservative, and profitable business models concentrated in mortgage lending—much of it covered by mortgage insurance and backstopped by the federal government. Notwithstanding such an enviable record and sound financial system, we need to keep an eye on certain financial risks.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Financial Crisis, G-20, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: bank lending, Canada, financial crisis, house prices, housing, housing market, loan-to-value ratio, mortgages, OECD, oil prices, trade, U.S. | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 2, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Jeff Hayden
We drew our inspiration for Finance & Development‘s cover from Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rivera, a Mexican artist, was commissioned in 1932 to paint the 27-panel visual epic as a tribute to the city’s assembly-line workers, scientists, doctors, secretaries, and laborers, many of whom were struggling at the time to keep their jobs amid the devastation of the Great Depression.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Fiscal policy, Globalization, growth, IMF | Tagged: advanced economies, central banks, economic growth, employment, euro area, F&D, Finance & Development magazine, fiscal policy, forecast, immigration, India, jobs, labor market, Spain, Sub-Saharan Africa, taxes | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 26, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Robert Rennhack and Fabián Valencia
(Versions in Español and Português)
The plunge in world oil prices—from $105 to about $50 per barrel since mid-2014—has been a boon for oil-importing countries, while presenting challenges for oil exporters.
In general, oil importers will enjoy faster growth, lower inflation, and stronger external positions, and most will not encounter any significant fiscal pressures. Oil exporters will tend to face slower growth and weaker external current account balances and some will run into fiscal pressures, since many rely on direct oil-related revenues. One country that stands out is Venezuela, which had been experiencing severe economic imbalances before oil prices began to fall and now finds itself in an even more precarious position.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: barbados, Bolivia, Caribbean, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, energy prices, fuel price subsidy, Guatemala, Latin America, Mexico, oil exporters, oil prices, oil-importing countries, Venezuela | Leave a comment »