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 28, 2015 by iMFdirect
By David Marston, Era Dabla-Norris, and D. Filiz Unsal
(version in Español)
Economists are paying increasing attention to the link between financial inclusion—greater availability of and access to financial services—and economic development. In a new paper, we take a closer look at exactly how financial inclusion impacts a country’s economy and what policies are most effective in promoting it.
The new framework developed in this paper allows us to identify barriers to financial inclusion and see how lifting these barriers might affect a country’s output and level of inequality. Because the more you know about what stands in the way of financial inclusion, the better you can be at designing policies that help foster it.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Africa, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, financial inclusion, growth, Guatemala, Honduras, India, inequality, investment, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 29, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Bertrand Gruss
(version in Español and Português)
It looks as if labor markets in Latin America have not been following the economic news—literally! Economic activity has slowed markedly in the last three years, with some South American countries slipping into outright recession more recently. Yet, labor markets still appear remarkably strong, with unemployment rates, in particular, hovering at record-low levels in most countries (Figure 1). So, what is going on? Has the region discovered how to defy the law of gravity?
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform, unemployment | Tagged: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, education, infrastructure, labor market, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, South America, unemployment rate, Uruguay | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 19, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Nicolas Magud and Evridiki Tsounta
(Version in Español)
Many Latin American countries have strengthened their monetary policy frameworks in recent years to keep the rate of inflation in check. Some of them have adopted an inflation target and use the policy interest rate as the main tool to achieve that target.
But how do central bankers know whether monetary policy is expansionary or contractionary? Policymakers would need to know how the current policy rate compares to a benchmark or neutral rate.
The neutral interest rate is the real interest rate consistent with the economy operating at full employment and stable inflation. If the economy is operating above its potential capacity and inflation is rising, policymakers should increase the policy interest rate above the neutral level to cool down the economy. Conversely, if the economy is operating below its full employment level, interest rates may need to be lowered below the neutral level.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Español, Finance, growth, Inequality, Latin America, Low-income countries, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Brazil, business cycle, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, EMBI, Evridiki Tsounta, Guatemala, inflation targeting, interest rates, Mexico, monetary policy, neutral rate, Nicolas Magud, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay | 3 Comments »