Posted on July 30, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Deniz Igan
(Version in Español)
Much has changed on the fiscal front since we started worrying about U.S. fiscal sustainability. The federal government budget deficit has fallen sharply in recent years―from almost 12 percent of GDP in 2009 to less than 7 percent in 2012. And recent budget reports show that the deficit is shrinking faster than expected only a few months ago, to a projected 4½ percent of GDP for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. Plus, health care cost growth has slowed down dramatically since the Great Recession, alleviating the pressure on public health care programs at least temporarily.
Does this mean we can stop worrying? Not quite. Recent developments certainly mean that things are better than we thought just a few years ago and the fiscal adjustment needed to restore sustainability is smaller. But if the choice and timing of policy measures is not right, the deficit reduction may turn out to be too much in the short run—stunting the economic recovery—and not enough in the long run.
So, in our recent annual check-up of the U.S. economy, our advice is to slow the pace of fiscal adjustment this year—which would help sustain growth and job creation—but to speed up putting in place a medium-term road map to restore long-run fiscal sustainability.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Article IV, deficits, economic recovery, fiscal sustainability, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, public debt, United States | 3 Comments »
Posted on April 26, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Benedict Clements
We all hope to retire one day. Our pensions hold the promise of that.
But when that promise is a public pension, it’s also a lot like debt the government has to pay at some point in the future.
Good fiscal policy means thinking about how policy decisions—especially ones that involve long-term promises, such as pensions—affect government finances both today and in the future.
The first problem is that good fiscal policy hasn’t always ruled the day, to put it mildly. Today, pension reform is a priority for the advanced economies as current trends are unsustainable—see Commandment V—and for many emerging and low-income economies that need “to improve coverage of health and pension systems in a fiscally sound manner.” Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: fiscal indicators, fiscal policy, fiscal sustainability, government deficits, pension liabilities, pension reform, pension-adjusted budget balance, pensions, public debt | 7 Comments »
Posted on April 12, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
Undertaking a sizable fiscal adjustment is a lot like driving up a tall mountain: it’s hard work, it can take a long time, and you don’t want to run out of fuel partway up the incline. Countries are starting the climb, cutting back government deficits and debt levels, but according to our analysis often current plans aren’t enough to get countries where they need and want to go.
The plans in place are large by historical standards, which brings with it difficult choices, and particular risks and uncertainties. Let me fill you in on what these are. Continue reading
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: bank recapitalization, cyclically adjusted balance, debt sustainability, fiscal adjustment, fiscal consolidation, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal sustainability, government debt, interest rate-growth differential, medium-term fiscal consolidation, primary budget balance, public debt, sovereign risks | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 11, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard
The world economic recovery is gaining strength, but it remains unbalanced.
Three numbers tell the story. We expect the world economy to grow at about 4.5 percent a year in both 2011 and 2012, but with advanced economies growing at only 2.5 percent, while emerging and developing economies grow at a much higher 6.5 percent.
On the good news side. Earlier fears of a double dip—which we did not share—have not materialized. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: bank recapitalization, capital controls, capital inflows, commodity prices, economic recovery, exchange rate, Financial regulation, financial stability, financial supervision, fiscal consolidation, Fiscal Stimulus, fiscal sustainability, inflation expectations, inventory cycle, macroprudential policies, policy coordination, potential output, private demand, unemployment, World Economic Outlook | 8 Comments »
Posted on November 19, 2010 by iMFdirect
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.
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
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: capital flows, financial integration, financial markets, Financial regulation, financial sector, financial stability, fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, fiscal space, Fiscal Stimulus, fiscal sustainability, hot money, IMF Jacques Polak Research Conference, Jacques Polak, macroprudential regulation, monetary policy, monetary policy rule, risk aversion | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 12, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Dominique Strauss-Kahn
(Version in عربي 中文 Español Français 日本語 Русский )
This past weekend in Washington DC, as the economic leaders of 187 countries gathered for the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, the mood was tense. The world’s finance ministers and central bank governors were concerned because the global recovery is fragile. And uneven. And it is fragile because it is so uneven.
In the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, things are going pretty well. Even in Africa, many countries have returned to growth much faster than in previous recessions. In Europe, however, the recovery is sluggish. And in the United States, it remains subdued. The IMF’s latest economic outlook, released during the meetings, does not anticipate a “double dip.” But there are risks. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, G-20, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation, عربي | Tagged: Annual Meetings, balanced and sustainable growth, cooperation, cross-border linkages, currency wars, double dip, financial sector reform, fiscal sustainability, G-20, global recovery, governance, IMF quotas, IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings, IMFC, International Monetary and Financial Committee, jobs, policy coordination, spillovers, unemployment | 10 Comments »
Posted on December 10, 2009 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
The IMF held a high-level conference last week on unwinding public interventions in the financial sector. Insightful discussions took place among policymakers, academics, and the private sector, highlighting several areas where a broad consensus appears to be emerging, as well as some challenges that policymakers are about to face.
There was broad agreement that an exit strategy from monetary, fiscal, and financial sector interventions is essential. The pivotal goal of this exit process would be to arrive at a condition of price stability, fiscal sustainability, and financial stability, including a new financial landscape that is much safer than currently exists. This will provide the necessary underpinnings for stable, strong, and balanced growth.
It will be relatively easy to unwind financial interventions that have sunset clauses or have penal rates so they become unattractive as market conditions normalize (photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Financial regulation, Fiscal Stimulus, recession | Tagged: asset bubbles, exit strategy, fiscal sustainability, risky assets, spillover effects | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 20, 2009 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
Health spending in OECD countries increased from 4½ percent of GDP in 1960 to 12½ percent in 2007 (see Figure 1 below). What accounts for this dramatic increase? Income growth, insurance, demographics, and technological change all contributed, but the latter was the key driver. Public spending for health care also increased sharply (by 5½ percentage points of GDP) during this period (see Figure 2).
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis | Tagged: demographics, fiscal sustainability, health spending, income growth, insurance, U.S. budget | 3 Comments »