Posted on August 1, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Jarkko Turunen
(Version in Español)
A year ago, we were very concerned about lingering weakness in the U.S. housing market, which we saw as a major obstacle to the economic recovery.
But what a difference a year makes! As our latest report on the U.S. economy points out, the housing market recovery has been stronger than expected, and is providing a significant boost to private domestic demand and economic growth.
What has changed in the last 12 months? House prices have rebounded sharply and are currently about 7-12 percent above their level a year ago. Home sales increased by more than 15 percent over the same time period. Thanks to higher house prices and the positive effects of government housing finance programs, fewer homeowners are “underwater” (owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth) or are behind on their mortgage payments, and fewer houses are entering foreclosure.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Employment, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt | Tagged: economic growth, Federal Reserve, house prices, housing, housing indicators, housing market, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, monetary policy, mortgages, U.S., United States | Leave a comment »
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 June 24, 2013 by iMFdirect
By David Coady and Thomas Richardson
Many countries seek to protect poorer households by subsidizing the consumption of fuel products. However, recent IMF research shows that fuel subsidies are both inefficient and inequitable, including in India.
But what about India? Are fuel subsidies also anti-poor? Sadly, yes. A new IMF working paper shows that India’s fuel subsidies are both fiscally costly and socially regressive.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: energy subsidies, fuel subsidy spending, GDP, iMFdirect, India, research | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 17, 2013 by iMFdirect
By: Jeffrey Hayden, Editor-in-Chief
Nazareth College was my second home. As a child, I spent countless evenings roaming the small liberal arts college in Rochester, N.Y., where my mother headed the office of graduate studies and continuing education.
Most of her students worked day jobs, attending class at night. For her, this made for late hours at the office—and for a complex juggling act: off to work in the morning to manage a staff, drop everything at 3 p.m. to rush home to fix dinner for the family, and then back to work around 5 p.m.—with me in tow—to staff the office until evening classes let out. Sleep and then repeat. This was the rhythm of my childhood.
I thought a lot about those days as we put together the special feature on women at work in this issue of F&D—about her example, and about the many women who share in her experience and the many who do not.
Filed under: Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: capital markets, China, Christine Lagarde, diversity, F&D, IMF, iMFdirect, India, International Monetary Fund, women | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Sebastián Sosa, Evridiki Tsounta, and Hye Sun Kim
(Versions in Español and Português)
Latin America has enjoyed strong growth during the last decade, with annual growth averaging 4½ percent compared with 2¾ in the 1980s and 1990s. What is behind this remarkable economic performance and will this growth be sustainable in the years ahead?
Our recent study (see also our working paper) looks at the supply-side drivers of growth for a large group of Latin American countries, to identify what’s behind the recent strong output performance.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Español, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: capital, employment, GDP, growth, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, Labor, Latin America, output, productivity | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2013 by iMFdirect
by Gustavo Adler and Nicolás Magud
(Versions in Español and Português)
Commodity exporting countries in Latin America have benefited strongly from the commodity price boom that began around 2002. And the accompanying improvements in public and external balance sheets have fed a sense that this time the macroeconomic response to the terms-of-trade boom has been different (and more prudent) than in past episodes. But, has it?
In our recent work, we analyze the history of Latin America’s terms-of-trade booms during 1970–2012 and quantify the associated income windfall (i.e., the extra income arising from improved terms-of-trade). We also document saving patterns during these episodes and assess the extent of the “effort” to save the income windfall.
Our findings suggest that, although the additional income shock associated to the recent terms-of-trade boom is unprecedented in magnitude, the effort to save it has been lower than in past episodes.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, commodity exporters, commodity exports, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, investment, Latin America, Mexico, savings, trade, Venezuela | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2013 by iMFdirect
by José Viñals and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu
The global regulatory landscape governing banks has changed from its pre-crisis status quo.
In addition to the Group of Twenty advanced and emerging economies led global regulatory reforms, like Basel III, the United States and the United Kingdom have decided to directly impose limits on the scope of banks’ businesses. The European Union is contemplating a similar move.
We discussed these structural banking reforms a few weeks ago with officials from finance ministries, central banks, and supervisory authorities from around the world during the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings. The design and implementation of these measures will have implications for global financial stability and sustainable growth, so we wanted to bring people together for the first global debate of the issue with G20 and other countries.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, G-20, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: banks, Basel III, European Union, financial supervisors, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, investment banks, Liikanen, regulation, structural measures, too important to fail, United Kingdom, United States, Vickers, Volcker | 1 Comment »