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 »
Posted on January 21, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(version in Español and Português)
The turn of the year usually brings a fresh dose of optimism. Yet, worries dominate across much of Latin America and the Caribbean today, as 2015 marks yet another year of reduced growth expectations. Regional growth is projected at just 1¼ percent, about the same low rate as in 2014 and almost 1 percentage point below our previous forecast. Challenging external conditions are an important drag for many countries. Still, it’s not too late for some good New Year’s resolutions to address domestic weaknesses and improve growth prospects.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, commodi, Ecuador, energy subsidies, euro area, forecast, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, oil, Peru, poverty reduction, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, South America, U.S., Venezuela | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 31, 2014 by iMFdirect
As 2014 draws to a close, we thought you might like a look back at the most read blogs of the year. These are the headlines and ideas that caught your eyes and the list is based on readership. We thought we’d pull them all together for you in one quick read.
Wishing you a wonky & worldy 2015 from all of us at iMFdirect.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Government, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Middle East, recession, unemployment | Tagged: carbon pricing, Caribbean, China, deflation, emerging market debt, euro area, house prices, inequality, lowflation, oil, redistribution, Russia, Saudi Arabia, shale oil | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 2, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Versions in Español and Português)
I am looking forward to being in Peru this week to discuss economic and social developments with the government and a wide range of stakeholders—and also to follow up on the preparations for the next IMF–World Bank Annual Meetings, which will be held in Lima in October 2015. Later this week, I will participate in the Santiago Conference in Chile, where I will meet policymakers and influential representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss economic approaches to strengthen the entire region.
As I travel to the land of the Andes, I am reminded of the natural beauty of the region, the richness of its culture, and its incredible diversity. Despite its current challenges—growth continues to slow, as global economic and financial conditions are shifting and economies run up against capacity limits—I remain decidedly optimistic about the region’s potential to raise living standards while protecting its unique heritage and precious environment.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Español, Finance, Fiscal policy, Globalization, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Caribbean, Chile, Christine Lagarde, commodiity prices, conference, education, health care, inequality, infrastructure, Latin America, Peru, poverty, youth | 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 April 25, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Version in Español and Português)
The prospects for global growth have brightened in recent months, led by a stronger recovery in the advanced economies. Yet in Latin America and the Caribbean, growth will probably continue to slow, although some countries will do better than others. We analyze the challenges facing the region in our latest Regional Economic Outlook and discuss how policymakers can best deal with them.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: Caribbean, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, commodiity prices, economic recovery, Federal Reserve, IMF forecast, interest rates, Latin America, Mexico, monetary policy, Peru, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere | 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 »