Posted on June 17, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Julian Chow and Shamir Tanna
(Versions in Español)
Much has been said lately about growing private sector debt in emerging market economies. In our recent analysis, we examined the corporate sector in a number of countries and found their rising levels of debt could make them vulnerable.
Low global interest rates in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and ample amounts of money pouring in from foreign investors have enabled nonfinancial corporations to raise record levels of debt.
Credit was readily available in the aftermath of the crisis, and economic expansion enabled earnings to grow healthily, thus helping to prevent leverage from rising too far and too fast. Recently though, slowing growth prospects are beginning to put pressure on firms’ profitability. Moreover, higher debt loads have led to growing interest expense, despite low interest rates. As a result, the ability of firms to service their debt has weakened (Figure 1).
Filed under: Debt Relief, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: banking sector, credit, emerging market, exchange rate, interest rates, macroprudential policies, private sector | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 11, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu
(Versions in عربي, Español, 日本語, 中文, Français, and Русский)
House prices are inching up. But is this a cause for much cheer? Or are we watching the same movie again? Recall how after a decade-long boom, house prices started to fall in 2006, first in the United States and then elsewhere, contributing to the 2008-9 global financial crisis. In fact, our research indicates that boom-bust patterns in house prices preceded more than two-thirds of the recent 50 systemic banking crises.
While a recovery in the housing market (Figure 1) is surely a welcome development, we need to guard against another unsustainable boom. Housing is an essential sector of every country’s economy and has systemic implications, which is why we at the IMF are focusing on it not only in individual countries but on a cross-country basis.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: Article IV, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Global House Price Index, Hong Kong, house prices, housing market, income, Ireland, Korea, macroprudential policies, Min Zhu, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, Thailand | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 9, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Sanjeev Gupta and Enrique Flores
The Finance Minister answers her mobile. On the line is the Minister of Energy, who informs her that the country has struck oil and that he expects revenues from its sale to start flowing into the budget in the coming four years. While excited by the prospects of higher revenues—indeed the average resource-rich country gets more than 15 percent of GDP in resource revenues—she starts to ponder how to use these revenues for her country’s development. She is aware that only in rare cases have natural resources served as a catalyst for development; too often they have led to economic instability, corruption, and conflict or what has been termed as “the resource curse.”
Filed under: Economic research, Finance, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Alaska, budget, energy, income, income distribution, macroeconomics, natural resources, Nigeria, oil, resource wealth, subsidies, wealth | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 4, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Jesus Gonzalez-Garcia and Francesco Grigoli
(Version in Español)
Government ownership of banks is still common around the world, despite the large number of privatizations that took place over the past four decades as governments reduced their role in the economy. On average, state-owned banks hold 21 percent of the assets of the banking system worldwide. In Latin American and Caribbean countries, the public banks’ share is about 15 percent, with some of them showing very large shares, for instance, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Costa Rica are all over 40 percent (see Figure 1).
State-owned banks play an important role in the financial system. They fulfill functions that are not performed by private banks, provide financing for projects that benefit the rest of the economy, and provide countercyclical lending (lending more when the economy is weak). But public banks usually respond to the needs of governments owing to the state’s obvious involvement in their administration. As a result, government’s participation in the banking system may weaken fiscal discipline by allowing the public sector to access financing that they would not obtain from other sources.
In our recent study, we use a panel dataset for 123 countries to test whether a larger presence of state-owned banks in the banking system is associated with more credit to the public sector, larger fiscal deficits, higher public debt ratios, and the crowding out of credit to the private sector.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Español, Finance, Fiscal policy, Government, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: Argentina, bank credit, banking, big banks, Caribbean, Latin America, public sector, Uruguay | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Holger van Eden
Most economists would agree that institutions in general are incredibly important in helping to shape countries’ overall economic and fiscal outcomes. But which institutions really matter, and to what extent, is less clear.
A team of staff at the IMF recently completed a study, along with detailed country evaluations, that explores the G-20 countries’ efforts to strengthen their budget institutions in the wake of the global financial crisis, and evaluates their impact on fiscal policy. We ask whether strong budget institutions helped these countries to cope with the substantial fiscal consolidation needs that arose after the Great Recession. The evidence suggests that these institutions have indeed been important.
Budget institutions matter
In the study we identify 12 institutions (see figure1) that are commonly viewed as important for the effectiveness of fiscal policy. To be clear, the term “institution” is used in a broad sense—it encompasses processes, procedures, systems, legal frameworks, and organizational entities which contribute to the budget process.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: budget institution, budget preparation, fiscal reporting, G-20 | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 28, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Chris Papageorgiou, Lisa Kolovich, and Sean Nolan
(Version in Español)
Low-income countries have spent a lot of time thinking about how they can achieve faster growth, and we have done some research to help them. We found that pursuing export diversification is a gateway to higher growth for these economies. Using a newly constructed diversification toolkit, our empirical analysis shows that both the range and quality of the goods a country produces has a direct impact on growth
Low-income countries have historically depended on a narrow range of primary products and few export markets for the bulk of their export earnings.
But export diversification is associated with higher per capita incomes, lower output volatility, and higher economic stability—relationships that can be tracked using our new publically available dataset, which gives researchers and policymakers access to measures of export diversification and product quality for 178 countries from 1962-2010.
We have looked at two measures of export diversification and their impact on economic growth. One measure captures diversification into new product lines, the other development of a more balanced mix of existing products. Analysis using these measures shows that export diversification in low-income countries is indeed among the most effective drivers of economic growth.
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Globalization, growth, International Monetary Fund, Investment, LICs, Low-income countries | Tagged: agriculture, Asia-Pacific, China, economic diversification, European Union, export diversification, infrastructure, investment, Kenya, low income countries, manufacturing, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 22, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Alexander Klemm, Andre Meier, and Sebastián Sosa
(Version in Español)
Governments in most emerging economies, including in Latin America, have reduced their exposure to U.S. interest rates over the past decade, by issuing a greater share of public debt in domestic currencies.
Even so, sudden changes in U.S. interest rates still have the power to roil financial markets in emerging economies. Witness last year’s “taper tantrum”—when the Fed hinted at the possibility of tapering its bond purchases sooner than previously expected, causing bond yields to rise sharply. Continue reading
Filed under: Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Brazil, capital flows, emerging economies, emerging markets, financial stability, IMF, interest rates, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, monetary policy, South Africa, taper tantrum, Treasury, Turkey, U.S. interest rates, United States | Leave a comment »