World Faces Weak Economic Recovery


By Olivier Blanchard

(Versions in  عربي中文EspañolFrançaisРусский日本語)

The global recovery continues, but the recovery is weak; indeed a bit weaker than we forecast in April.

In the Euro zone, growth is close to zero, reflecting positive but low growth in the core countries, and negative growth in most periphery countries.  In the United States, growth is positive, but too low to make a serious dent to unemployment.

Growth has also slowed in major emerging economies, from China to India and Brazil.

Downside risks, coming primarily from Europe, have increased.

Let me develop these themes in turn.

Continue reading

Global Financial Stability: What’s Still To Be Done?


By José Viñals

(Versions in Español, عربي)

The quest for lasting financial stability is still fraught with risks. The latest Global Financial Stability Report has two key messages: policy actions have brought gains to global financial stability since our September report; but current policy efforts are not enough to achieve lasting stability, both in Europe and some other advanced economies, in particular the United States and Japan.

Much has been done

In recent months, important and unprecedented policy steps have been taken to quell the crisis in the euro area. At the national level, stronger policies are being put in place in Italy and Spain; a new agreement has been reached on Greece; and Ireland and Portugal are making good progress in implementing their respective programs. Importantly, the European Central Bank’s decisive actions have supported bank liquidity and eased funding strains, while banks are reinforcing their capital positions under the guidance of the European Banking Authority. Finally, steps have been taken to enhance economic governance, promote fiscal discipline, and buttress the “firewall” at the euro area level.

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Euro Muscles in Brussels: Christine Lagarde on Greece


by iMFdirect

The head of the IMF Christine Lagarde was clear during her press conference in Brussels yesterday—European leaders’ deal to help Greece and the euro area is a very constructive and comprehensive package of measures to resolve debt problems.

“What to me is critical—really a game-changing decision—is the leaders’ commitment and determination to provide support to countries until they have regained market access, provided that they successfully implement their programs.”

Watch the press conference:

The 17 heads of state of the eurozone have agreed to provide €109 billion in fresh financing for Greece. Together with voluntary contributions from the private sector and continued support from the IMF, this will close the financing gap in Greece’s budget and give the country the breathing room it needs to restore growth and competitiveness.

Greece has not yet requested a new program from the IMF, but Lagarde said it was the global lender’s intention to be an active participant in helping Greece restore growth, debt sustainability and return to financial markets.

The European leaders also agreed to make the terms of the European Financial Stability Facility more flexible, a measure called for by the IMF in its recent assessment of the euro area.

“This flexibility is a key element, in the view of the IMF,” said Lagarde.

No Country is an Island: Ireland and the IMF


by iMFdirect

Speaking to the pain and anger of the Irish people at the toll the economic adjustment has taken on their daily lives, the IMF’s mission chief Ajai Chopra was clear during a press conference today in Dublin:  the end goal is to protect the poor and most vulnerable people in society while restarting the economy.

“We would all agree the key objective is to get growth going again, to create jobs, and bring down unemployment and that will be the true mark of success,” said Chopra.

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A Balanced Debate About Reforming Macroeconomics


Guest post by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University, and
co-host of the Conference on Macro and Growth Policies in the Wake of the Crisis

The most remarkable aspect of the recent conference at the IMF was the broad consensus that the macroeconomic models that had been relied upon in the past and had informed major aspects of monetary and macro-policy had failed. They failed to predict the crisis; standard models even said bubbles couldn’t exist—markets were efficient. Even after the bubble broke, they said the effects would be contained. Even after it was clear that the effects were not “contained,” they provided limited guidance on how the economy should respond. Maintaining low and stable inflation did not ensure real economic stability. The crisis was “man-made.” While in standard models, shocks were exogenous, here, they were endogenous. Continue reading

Two-speed Global Recovery Continues


By Olivier Blanchard

(Version in Español | Français | Русский | عربي| 中文 | 日本語 )

The world economic recovery continues. But it remains a two-speed recovery: slow in advanced countries, and much faster in emerging and developing economies. As a result, tensions and risks are emerging, which require strong policy responses.

The outlook

For some time, global activity was led by fiscal stimulus and the restocking of inventories. This process is now essentially over, which means that global growth is set to slow over the coming year. Fortunately, underlying private demand is improving, so we expect the slowdown to be modest, with global growth remaining at 4.4 percent in 2011, down from 5 percent in 2010. Continue reading

iMFdirect–Must Reads on Global Finance and Budgets


While 2011 is still shiny as a new penny we thought you might like a quick review of 2010’s hot topics in the global economy.  The iMF Direct Blog has picked our list of must read posts covering the highs and lows of global finance and government budgets and spending.

  1. The Ten Commandments for advanced economies to keep the economic recovery on track 
  2. The financial world remains the Achilles Heel of the global economic recovery 
  3. We explain the right mix of ingredients for countries to provide sufficient support to economic activity, and reassure markets in How to Bake a Fiscal Pie 
  4. Fixing the financial sector – Just Do It  
  5. Stable prices and financial stability go hand in hand, or do they? A Marriage Made in Heaven or Hell   
  6. What Must Be Done – the top five reforms to the financial system 
  7. When it comes to supervising the financial rules of the global economy, It’s Hip to Be Square 
  8. Watch This Fiscal Space  to figure out how much room to maneuver governments have when it comes to controlling debt and deficits 
  9. Financial markets and regulators need to break their Credit Rating Addiction
  10.  The global financial tornado means We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, but what will the future financial system look like?

Exploring Economic Policy Frontiers After the Crisis: 2010 IMF Research Conference


By Olivier Blanchard

The crisis has forced economists and policymakers to go back to their drawing boards. Where did they go wrong, and what implications does the crisis have for both macroeconomic theory and macroeconomic policy making?

This was the topic of this year’s IMF Jacques Polak Research Conference. The conference was the first since the passing of Jacques Polak, after whom the conference has been named, and to which he came every year until last year. Present at the Fund’s creation and a long time Fund economist, Jacques had been described by the Managing Director as “a leader of critical thought during the post-war evolution of the global economy.” As such, this conference, and its focus on the post-crisis evolution of the global economy, was fitting a fitting tribute to Jacques. We shall miss him.

Post-crisis policymaking

The twelve papers presented at the conference provided rich fodder for discussion. For two days, researchers and policymakers explored the contours of policy making in the post-crisis world. I want to share with you some of the major themes: Continue reading

Sustaining Asia’s Recovery


By Anoop Singh

I am in Asia this week to launch our October 2010 Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific (REO) in Jakarta and Singapore. As I have inevitably found during visits to Asia over so many years, the mood here is confident about future economic prospects. Yet it is also watchful for risks that may be lurking over the horizon. This mood matches closely the main messages of our current assessment of the outlook for the region. Continue reading

Just Do It—Shaping the New Financial System


By José Viñals

Fearful financial markets, an uncertain growth outlook, fiscal anxieties, long unemployment lines….no other financial crisis since the Great Depression has led to such widespread dislocation in financial markets, with such abrupt consequences for growth, trade, and employment.

The crisis exposed fundamental weaknesses in many areas of the world economy, the most obvious being dramatic deficiencies in the regulation and supervision―nationally and internationally―of financial institutions and markets.

On the bright side, the crisis has provided the impetus for a major overhaul of the financial regulatory system. So, are we making the most of this opportunity to fix the system? Continue reading

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