A stock in excess of €900 billion of nonperforming loans continue to clutter the European banking system, impeding economic growth. This issue remains a key challenge for policy makers. As we show in our latest Global Financial Stability Report, part of the solution to address this legacy is an upgrade in legal systems. Current inefficiencies—long foreclosure times and insolvency procedures—are a reason for the gap between the value of loans on bank balance sheets and the price investors are willing to pay. A reliable legal environment and an efficient judicial system maximize the value of nonperforming loans (NPLs), reduce the value gap and give banks greater incentive to get NPLs off the books. Our analysis, using time to foreclose as a proxy for effective insolvency regimes, shows there is a large upside for new lending capacity in the euro area (Chart 1).
Rising inequality is both a moral and economic issue that has implications for the general health of the global economy, and impacts prosperity and growth.
So it’s not surprising that reducing inequality is an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the United Nations summit in September. I often discuss with my colleagues where sub-Saharan Africa stands with respect to these objectives. Unfortunately, the region remains one of the most unequal in the world, on par with Latin America (see Chart 1). In fact, inequality seems markedly higher at all levels of income in the region than elsewhere (see Chart 2).
Filed under: Africa, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Africa, Angola, Antoinette Sayey, Cameroon, gender inequality, growth, inclusive growth, inequality, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable development Goals | Leave a comment »
From advanced economy financial markets to developing country commodity producers, the world has closely followed developments in China in recent months. After 35 years of extraordinarily rapid growth, the Chinese economy is undergoing a major transition from export-led growth to a model increasingly driven by consumption and services, with less emphasis on debt-financed public investment.
Filed under: Asia, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: China, economic transition, financial sector, growth, IMF, inflation | Leave a comment »
A growing number of policymakers see financial inclusion—greater access to financial services throughout a country’s population—as a way to promote and make economic development work for society. More than 60 countries have adopted national financial inclusion targets and strategies. Opening bank accounts for all in India and encouraging mobile payments platforms in Peru are just two examples. Evidence for individuals and firms suggests that greater access to financial services indeed makes a difference in investment, food security, health outcomes, and other aspects of daily life. Our study looks at the benefits to the economy as a whole.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF | Tagged: banks, economic growth, finance, financial inclusion, growth, India, inequality, infrastructure, Middle East, Peru, United States, women | Leave a comment »
US$5.3 trillion; 6½ percent of global GDP—that is our latest reckoning of the cost of energy subsidies in 2015. These estimates are shocking. The figure likely exceeds government health spending across the world, estimated by the World Health Organization at 6 percent of global GDP, but for the different year of 2013. They correspond to one of the largest negative externality ever estimated. They have global relevance. And that’s not all: earlier work by the IMF also shows that these subsidies have adverse effects on economic efficiency, growth, and inequality.
What are energy subsidies
We define energy subsidies as the difference between what consumers pay for energy and its “true costs,” plus a country’s normal value added or sales tax rate. These “true costs” of energy consumption include its supply costs and the damage that energy consumption inflicts on people and the environment. These damages, in turn, come from carbon emissions and hence global warming; the health effects of air pollution; and the effects on traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and road damage. Most of these externalities are borne by local populations, with the global warming component of energy subsidies only a fourth of the total (Chart 1).
Filed under: Finance, Globalization, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Reform | Tagged: carbon tax, China, developing countries, economic inequality, energy, energy subsidies, European Union, growth, India, Japan, oil, Russia, subsidy reform, United States | Leave a comment »
The world still lives in the shadow of the global financial crisis that began in the United States in 2008. The U.S. experience shone a spotlight on the dangers of financial systems that have grown exponentially and beyond traditional banks. It triggered a rethinking of the extent and speed of the expansion of a country’s financial sector, and raised questions about which policies promote a safe financial system.
In our new study, we emphasize that the most commonly used indicator—bank credit—is not sufficient to measure the size and scope of a country’s financial development. We create a comprehensive index for over 170 countries to answer several policy questions from the perspective of emerging markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, growth | Tagged: capital markets, Ecuador, emerging market, financial deepening, financial development, financial markets, financial stability, Gambia, growth, Ireland, Japan, liquidity, Morocco, Poland, U.S., United Kingdom, United States | Leave a comment »
(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 »