Posted on May 7, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Shekhar Aiyar, Bergljot Barkbu, and Andreas (Andy) Jobst
If financing is the lifeblood of European small businesses, then the effect of the financial crisis was similar to a cardiac arrest. The flow of affordable credit from banks was choked off and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hit hardest. Today, with bank lending still recovering from that shock, smart policy actions could open up securitization as a source of financing to help small businesses start up, flourish and grow.
SMEs are vital to the European economy. They account for 99 out of every 100 businesses, two in every three employees, and 58 cents of each euro of value added of the business sector in Europe. Improving access to finance would therefore not only revive small businesses, but also support a strong and lasting recovery for Europe as a whole.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Finance, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: bank lending, bond markets, capital markets, credit, EU, Europe, France, Germany, infrastructure, Italy, private investment, Securitization, small and medium-sized enterprises, Spain | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 5, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Reinout De Bock, Andrea Maechler, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto
(Versions in Français and deutsch)
Low interest rates in the euro area pose substantial challenges to the life insurance industry. Insurers—particularly in Germany and Sweden—offer their clients long-term policies, sometimes more than 30 years, without holding assets of a correspondingly long duration. Moreover, many policies contain generous return guarantees, which are unsustainable in today’s low interest rate environment.
In 2014, stress tests showed European life insurers are vulnerable to a “Japanese-like” scenario.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation, Reform | Tagged: Europe, European Union, Germany, interest rates, Japan, Life insurance, pension, stress tests, Sweden, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 31, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Yan Liu, Kenneth Kang, Dermot Monaghan, and Wolfgang Bergthaler
Six years after the global financial crisis, Europe continues to be weighed down by high levels of corporate debt and millions of nonperforming loans. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) bear a disproportionately heavy burden. Their nonperforming loan ratios are on average more than double those of their larger corporate cousins. This is worrisome. SMEs are the lifeblood of the European economy, comprising 99 percent of all businesses and employing nearly two of every three workers in Europe. Given the importance of smaller businesses to the economy, addressing their problem loans could lay the foundation for a more robust and sustainable economic recovery.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Cyprus, euro zone, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Ireland, non-performing loans, nonperforming loans, small and medium-sized enterprises | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 25, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Martine Guerguil
Does the European Union need closer fiscal integration, and in particular a stronger fiscal center, to become more resilient to economic shocks? A new IMF book, Designing a European Fiscal Union: Lessons from the Experience of Fiscal Federations, published by Routledge, examines the experience of 13 federal states to help inform the debate on this issue. It analyzes in detail their practices in devolving responsibilities from the subnational to the central level, compares them to those of the European Union, and draws lessons for a possible future fiscal union in Europe.
The book sets out to answer three sets of questions: (1) What is the role of centralized fiscal policies in federations, and hence the size, features, and functions of the central budget? (2) What institutional arrangements are used to coordinate fiscal policy between the federal and subnational levels? (3) What are the links between federal and subnational debt, and how have subnational financing crises been handled, when they occurred?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Austria, Belgium, book launch, Brazil, Canada, debt, euro area, Europe, European Union, fiscal federation, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 15, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Gregorio Impavido and Uffe Mikkelsen
(Version in Türk)
Turkey is going through a time of economic transition, with slowing growth that risks the country being caught in a “middle-income trap,” unable to join the ranks of high income economies.
The country grew at 6 percent per year on average in the period 2010-13, with policies supportive of domestic consumption. This has generated a large current account deficit, mostly financed by short-term capital flows. The reliance on consumption at the expense of investment, slow export growth, and sizable investment needs have hurt potential growth, with the economy already growing more modestly. Moreover, Turkey’s low domestic savings and competitiveness challenges have limited investment as well as exports, which have also suffered from the slow growth in Europe.
With current policies, Turkey’s economy is expected to grow only 3.5 percent annually over the next five years. Going forward, the economy must be rebalanced to make it more competitive and to restore output and employment growth.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: Article IV, banking sector, economic rebalancing, Europe, fiscal policy, inflation, Macroeconomic policies, middle income countries, savings, Turkey | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 7, 2014 by iMFdirect
What a difference 25 years can make. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was a day that changed world history and transformed Europe.
Central and Eastern Europe embarked on a historic transition from communism to capitalism and democracy. We thought this landmark anniversary was a good time to look back at the achievements and also forward to the future, as we do in a new IMF report on 25 Years of Transition. The IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton also gave a recent speech in Warsaw, Poland on this important chapter in history.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Europe, Global Governance, Globalization | Tagged: advanced economies, Berlin Wall, David Lipton, eastern Europe, euro area, Europe, Germany, video | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 14, 2014 by iMFdirect
By iMFdirect editors
What a week it’s been. Practical and existential questions on how to do good and be good for the sake of the global economy and finance dominated the seminars at the IMF’s Annual Meetings in Washington.
Our editors fanned out to cover what the panelists, moderators, and audiences said in a variety of seminars, and two big themes caught our eye.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Asia, Civil Society, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Global Governance, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: Archbishop of Canterbury, Christine Lagarde, ethics, Europe, G-20, inequality, infrastructure, jobs, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, seminars, shadow banking, Stanley Fisher, technology, unemployment, women | Leave a comment »