Posted on March 4, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Reza Moghadam, Ranjit Teja, and Pelin Berkmen
Recent talk about deflation in the euro area has evoked two kinds of reactions. On one side are those who worry about the associated prospect of prolonged recession. On the other are those who see the risk as overblown. This blog and the video below sift through both sides of the debate to argue the following:
- Although inflation—headline and core—has fallen and stayed well below the ECB’s 2% price stability mandate, so far there is no sign of classic deflation, i.e., of widespread, self-feeding, price declines.
- But even ultra low inflation—let us call it “lowflation”—can be problematic for the euro area as a whole and for financially stressed countries, where it implies higher real debt stocks and real interest rates, less relative price adjustment, and greater unemployment.
- Along with Japan’s experience, which saw deflation worm itself into the system, this argues for a more pre-emptive approach by the ECB.
Filed under: Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: competitiveness, deflation, euro area, Europe, inflation, Japan, Spain, unemployment | 1 Comment »
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 February 3, 2014 by iMFdirect
(Version in 中文)
“Economic Shifts in U.S. and China Batter Markets” continuing “Stocks Slide Globally…Investors Head for Exits” read the front page headline in last week’s New York Times. Not sure about the U.S. part, I’ll leave that to others. But, as for China, this seems quite a stretch. Could be the pundits are erring in blaming the market slide on China, or perhaps the markets are misreading news coming out of China.
The purported China trigger was a survey of manufacturers. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell somewhat, crossing the magic threshold from expansion to contraction. PMIs are useful, but let’s not get carried away. China’s PMI is not the best indicator for growth, the decline was rather small, and January and February data (because of the Lunar “Chinese” New Year) are hard to interpret.
Filed under: Asia, Economic research, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: China, forecast, investors, U.S. | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 30, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Version in Español, Português)
Looking to the year ahead, how do we see the global economic landscape, and what will this mean for our region? This question is especially on people’s minds today, given the risks of deflation in advanced economies and of sustained turbulence in emerging markets.
Despite these risks, we expect that the region will grow a little faster than last year—increasing from 2.6 percent in 2013 to 3 percent in 2014. Stronger global demand is one part of the story, but not the whole story; volatility is likely to be a significant feature of the landscape ahead. And regional growth rates will still be in low gear compared to historical trends, and downside risks to growth remain. So, let’s start with the global scene.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: Alejandro Werner, Argentina, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Chile, Colombia, financial market, inflation, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, South America, tourism, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Western Hemisphere | Leave a 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 Isabel Rial, Suchanan Tambunlertchai, and Alexander Tieman
(Version in Türk)
Turkey has received well-deserved praise for its growth performance over the last decade. Yet along with this success story has come a steady widening of the current account deficit, projected to come out at 7.4 percent of GDP in 2013. The counterpart of this deficit is a reliance on external financing, much of which is of a short-term nature, highlighting the Turkish economy’s main problem at the moment.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: Article IV, competitiveness, monetary policy, public financial management, Turkey | 2 Comments »
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 »