Posted on October 10, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Serkan Arslanalp, David Jones, and Sanjay Hazarika
Six years after the start of the global financial crisis, low interest rates and other central bank policies in the United States remain critical to encourage economic risk-taking—increased consumption by households, and greater willingness to invest and hire by businesses. However, this prolonged monetary ease also may have encouraged excessive financial risk-taking. Our analysis in the latest Global Financial Stability Report suggests that although economic benefits are becoming more evident, U.S. officials should remain alert to excessive financial risk-taking, particularly in lower-rated corporate debt markets.
Bullish financial risk-taking bears monitoring
Persistently low global interest rates have prompted investors to search for higher returns in a wide range of markets, such as stocks, and investment-grade and high-yield bonds. This has resulted in escalating asset prices, and enabled issuers to sell assets with a reduced degree of protection for investors (we give you an example below). The combined trends of more expensive assets and a weakening quality of issuance could pose risks to stability.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: banking system, corporate debt, emerging market, Global Financial Stability Report, interest rates, U.S. Fed, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 22, 2014 by iMFdirect
Lurking conjures up images of spies, flashers and other dodgy types. The IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard takes readers into the dark corners of the financial crisis in his latest article ‘Where Danger Lurks’ in our recent issue of Finance & Development Magazine, and looks at small shocks, sudden stops and liquidity.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Globalization, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics | Tagged: central banks, Finance & Development magazine, financial crisis, global economy, macroeconomic policy, Olivier Blanchard, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 18, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Sweta Saxena
1. Are emerging markets slowing down? Yes. They have been slowing down for some time now. GDP growth has declined from 7 percent during the pre-crisis period (2003-8) to 6 percent over the post-crisis period (2010-13) to 5 percent, in our projections, over the next 5 years (2014-18). This path is illustrated below in Chart 1. This last point stands out. Despite an uneven recovery, growth in advanced economies is projected to eventually recover. Not so for emerging markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: Brazil, Central America, China, commodiity prices, emerging market economies, global trade, Russia, spillover effects, spillover reports, structural reform, Venezuela | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Ian Parry
The time has come to end hand wringing on climate strategy, particularly controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We need an approach that builds on national self-interest and spurs a race to the top in low-carbon energy solutions. Our findings here at the IMF—that carbon pricing is practical, raises revenue that permits tax reductions in other areas, and is often in countries’ own interests—should strike a chord at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York next week. Let me explain how.
Ever since the 1992 Earth Summit, policymakers have struggled to agree on an international regime for controlling emissions, but with limited success. Presently, only around 12 percent of global emissions are covered by pricing programs, such as taxes on the carbon content of fossil fuels or permit trading programs that put a price on emissions. Reducing CO2 emissions is widely seen as a classic “free-rider” problem. Why should an individual country suffer the cost of cutting its emissions when the benefits largely accrue to other countries and, given the long life of emissions and the gradual adjustment of the climate system, future generations?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Global Governance, Globalization, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Australia, carbon pricing, carbon tax, China, Climate change, CO2 emissions, energy taxes, environment, European Union, fossil fuels, Poland, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 15, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Steven Barnett and Shaun Roache
(Versions in 中文)
“Shadow” banking: a surprisingly colorful term for our staid economics profession. Intended or not, it conjures images of dark, sinister, and even shady transactions. With a name like “shadow banking” it must be bad. This is unfair. While the profession lacks a uniform definition, the idea is financial intermediation that takes place outside of banks—and this can be good, bad, or otherwise.
Our goal here is to shine a light on shadow banking in China. We at the IMF have used many terms. Last year, we had a descriptive one, albeit a mouthful—off-balance sheet and nonbank financial intermediation. The April 2014 Global Financial Sector Report (GFSR) called it nonbank intermediation. This year our China Article IV report used the term shadow banking.
Filed under: Asia, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: bank credit, China, corporate bonds, emerging economies, Global Financial Stability Report, loans, shadow banking | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Era Dabla-Norris
Much of the debate on inequality focuses on its deleterious social and political effects and its impact on growth. But an equally important issue is what policies play a clear role in reducing income inequality.
The results of our new study suggest that improvements in education—even more than factors such as government expenditure or financial sector development—have contributed in an important way to reducing income inequality within countries.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Globalization, growth, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: education, expenditure reform, income inequality, inequality, technology, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 3, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Doris Ross
Three months ago African leaders and policymakers assembled in Mozambique under an “Africa Rising” banner to assess the continent’s strong economic performance. But while the outlook for the continent remains strong, individual countries have faced problems and the uncertain global outlook continues to pose risks. Against this backdrop, what are the policies that Africa should pursue to sustain the positive momentum for the continent?
In reality, Africa Rising has never been about unbridled optimism; it has been a tale of strong growth tempered by serious challenges. And rising in economic terms is as much about sustaining expansion as about the dimensions of growth itself. The extended process of African development also requires increased resilience to shocks, and it is this resilience that may be tested by economic problems in some African nations.
Strong growth—and increased resilience—were the focus of the Africa Rising conference organized in May by the IMF and the government of Mozambique in Maputo. The nearly 1,000 officials, corporate executives, civil society representatives, and journalists who gathered for the two-day event discussed the difficult issues that must be addressed if Africa is to maintain its upward trajectory of the past two decades.
Filed under: Africa, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, LICs, Low-income countries, Reform | Tagged: Africa, agriculture, book launch, capacity building, coal, fiscal policy, Mozambique, natural gas, poverty reduction, private sector, Sub-Saharan Africa, tax regimes | Leave a comment »