Posted on August 3, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Nicolás Eyzaguirre
After three and a half demanding and fulfilling years at the International Monetary Fund, I’ve had a chance to see, up close, countries trying to cope with the global economy in the same way a cook might operate a blender without the lid on—carefully, while creating as little mess as possible.
As I step down from my position as Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, I would like to share some reflections on one of the central issues facing many countries—adjustment under fixed exchange rates. It goes without saying that these reflect a personal and not an institutional view.
A lot of ink has been spent over the question of why you would lend money to a country trying to bring down its government debt and deficit. The answer is simple: to give the reforms needed to make economies competitive again time to kick in.
In the old days, fixed exchange rates were the norm rather than the exception. A body of literature and a wealth of country experience have accumulated on how to adjust under such exchange rate regimes, mostly in emerging economies. The expression “adjustment and financing” came to summarize what economies should do when faced with severe funding constraints brought on by high borrowing costs for government debt in financial markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: borrowing, competitiveness, devaluation, exchange rates, exports, housing, Labor, Nicolás Eyzaguirre, private sector, Western Hemisphere Department | 4 Comments »
Posted on January 5, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Tamim Bayoumi
The global crisis has pushed trade reforms off—or at least to the edge of—the political radar screen. But shying away from improving the trade system in these tough economic times seems a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
The IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton summed the issue up in a recent speech: “trade wars can put millions of jobs in jeopardy, while trade integration can be an engine of growth.”
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: Doha Development Agenda, exchange rates, global financial crisis, global supply chains, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, international trade, multilateral trading system, trade integration, trade liberalization, trade openness, trade reforms | 6 Comments »
Posted on September 13, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Erik Oppers
What drives the investment decisions of investors with a longer time horizon? Our research found these investors generally do not look at differences in interest rates among countries when deciding where to invest.
It turns out the factors they do consider in making these decisions are good and stable growth prospects, low country risks—including political and economic stability—and a stable exchange rate. This all makes good sense for long-term investors such as pension funds and insurance companies.
So why all this talk about how low interest rates in advanced economies are “pushing” investment flows to emerging countries, where interest rates are generally higher—is this story wrong? (more…)
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: advanced economies, capital flows, carry traders, economic growth, emerging economies, exchange rates, Global Financial Stability Report, hedge funds, institutional investors, insurance companies, interest rates, investors, leveraged investors, market volatility, pension funds, portfolio returns, risks | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 11, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Anoop Singh
Much of the debate over global rebalancing has focused on the U.S.-China trade imbalance. But that’s missing the bigger picture.
With the growth of cross-border supply chains—a signature feature of Asia’s trade in recent decades—it would be misleading to focus on bilateral imbalances and exchange rates.
Instead of specializing in producing certain types of final goods, Asian exporters increasingly have specialized in certain stages of production and become vertically integrated with each other. So, as Asia’s economies strive to rebalance their growth models, we need to understand better how the regional supply chain affects the way exchange rates and shifts in global demand work. (more…)
Filed under: Asia, Economic outlook, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Asian integration, capital goods, competitiveness, cross-border supply chains, economic imbalances, effective exchange rate, exchange rates, global rebalancing, intermediate good imports, intermediate inputs, production disruptions, Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific, regional integration, trade integration, trade partners, vertical integration | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 4, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Gustavo Adler and Camilo E. Tovar
(Version in Español)
Abundant global liquidity and high exposure to capital movements have put foreign exchange intervention at center stage of the policy debate in Latin America. Although intervention is widely used, there is limited evidence about its effects on the exchange rate, and particularly in terms of slowing the pace of currency appreciation.
In the latest Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere we took a fresh look at this issue, examining intervention practices and effectiveness for a group of economies in Latin America and other regions during 2004-10. In particular, we sought to answer the following questions:
- How do Latin American countries intervene and in what respects do they differ from other economies?
- What are the rationales for these policies?
- How effective have they been in affecting the exchange rate? (more…)
Filed under: Economic outlook, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: capital flows, currency appreciation, derivative markets, exchange rate misalignment, exchange rate regimes, exchange rates, foreign exchange intervention, intervention rules, liquidity conditions, overvalued currency, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, spot markets | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 10, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Dominique Strauss-Kahn
(Version in Español Français 日本語)
The international monetary system (IMS) is a topic that encompasses a wide range of issues—reserve currencies, exchange rates, capital flows, and the global financial safety net, to name a few. It is one of the key issues on the G-20’s work agenda for 2011, and a topic that is eliciting lively discussion—for instance the recent, insightful report of the group chaired by Michel Camdessus, called the “Palais-Royal Initiative”.
Some are of the view that the current system works well enough. While not perfect, they point to its resilience during the crisis, citing the role of the U.S. dollar served as a safe haven asset. And now that the global recovery is underway, they see little reason to worry about the IMS. In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
I take a less sanguine view. (more…)
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, G-20, Global Governance, Globalization, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: capital controls, capital flows, early warning exercise, exchange rates, Flexible Credit Line, FSAP, G-20 mutual assessment process, global financial safety net, global imbalances, international monetary cooperation, international monetary system, macrofinancial linkages, policy coordination, precautionary credit line, regional financing mechanisms, reserve currencies, Special Drawing Rights, surveillance | 17 Comments »
Posted on May 4, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Nicolás Eyzaguirre
Versión en Español
Not so long after the global financial crisis, the supply of foreign financing has become abundant, and cheap, for many emerging market countries. This sounds like good news for Latin America, and it is—creating opportunities for debt management, saving on interest paid to foreigners, and expanding opportunities for investment. But it also comes with a number of potential risks that need to be managed.
Our new Regional Economic Outlook for the Western Hemisphere takes an in-depth look at the risks arising from what we call “easy external financial conditions.” There we analyze how the more financially integrated economies of Latin America have responded to such conditions in the past, with comparison to countries of other regions. Our comparisons focus especially on a group of advanced economies—Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Norway—that also are commodity exporters, as well as being inflation targeters with highly flexible exchange rates.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, growth, Latin America | Tagged: bond spreads, capital inflows, commodity exporters, credit booms, debt management, exchange rates, foreign financing, private spending, risk aversion | 4 Comments »
Posted on April 13, 2010 by iMFdirect
Today we have released the three analytical chapters in our upcoming Global Financial Stability Report. These chapters cover some of the most relevant areas facing policymakers as they devise financial reforms that address the systemic risks that arose during the crisis and deal with potential forthcoming vulnerabilities.
Chapter 1 comes out next week. Chapter 2, published today, focuses on two questions facing policymakers attempting to reform the financial landscape. One, whether systemic risk would be reduced by placing all regulatory functions under the purview of one entity—be that a single agency or an overseeing council? And two, if we were to use capital surcharges on financial institutions to try to limit the systemic risk associated with domino-like failures, how would we construct such surcharges?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: AIG, credit default swaps, derivatives, exchange rates, Financial regulation, Global Financial Stability Report, Lehman | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 19, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Marek Belka
Conventional wisdom has been that capital flows are a blessing to emerging economies, bringing needed funds to countries where investments are most productive. But if history is any guide, capital flows have proven to be highly volatile—surging in good times and collapsing in gloomy ones.
The global financial crisis has renewed the debate over the desirability of capital flows to emerging economies. Adding fuel to this debate is the fact that two of the world’s largest emerging economies—China and India—have experienced strong growth and relatively limited fallout from the crisis, all the while maintaining hefty restrictions on the flow of foreign capital.
What can be done to ensure that emerging economies still benefit from productive foreign capital, while reducing the risks associated with highly volatile flows? Can we throw out the bathwater, but keep the baby?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial regulation | Tagged: capital controls, China, European Union, exchange rates, fiscal policy, foreign currency lending, G-20, India, Marek Belka, Poland, reserves | 5 Comments »