Posted on January 29, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
(Versions in عربي, 中文, Español, Français, Русский, 日本語)
The IMF has argued for some time that the very high public debt ratios in many advanced economies should be brought down to safer levels through a gradual and steady process. Doing either too little or too much both involve risks: not enough fiscal adjustment could lead to a loss of market confidence and a fiscal crisis, potentially killing growth; but too much adjustment will hurt growth directly.
At times over the last couple of years we called on countries to step up the pace of adjustment when we thought they were moving too slowly.
Instead, in the current environment, I worry that some might be going too fast.
Risk to recovery
The latest update of the Fiscal Monitor shows that fiscal adjustment is proceeding pretty quickly in the advanced economies—on average the deficit is projected to fall by a total of 2 percentage points of GDP in 2011-12. The decline is even larger in the euro area—about 3 percentage points of GDP. In a reasonably good growth environment this pace of adjustment would be fine. But in the current weaker macroeconomic environment bringing deficits down this quickly could pose a risk for the economic recovery. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Fiscal policy, Public debt | Tagged: bond spreads, confidence, economic recovery, fiscal adjustment, Fiscal Monitor, government bonds, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, market behavior, medium-term fiscal consolidation, public debt, public deficits | 11 Comments »
Posted on September 27, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Versions in عربي, 中文, 日本語 and Español)
This past weekend, 187 countries came together in Washington D.C. to focus on the economic crisis facing the world.
They were here for the 2011 Annual Meeting of the IMF and World Bank, at which finance ministers and central bank governors mix with businesspeople, civil society, labor leaders, and parliamentarians to discuss the critical issues we face.
Coming in to this Meeting, I had warned of a dangerous new phase now facing the global economy and had called for bold and collective action. Coming out of the Meeting, I feel strongly that the global community is beginning to respond.
Why? Three reasons: a shared sense of urgency, a shared diagnosis of the problems, and a shared sense that the steps needed in the period ahead are now coming into focus. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: 2011 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, Annual Meetings, competitiveness, confidence, Financial regulation, financial sector reform, fiscal policy, household balance sheets, IMF, IMF lending, IMF surveillance, iMFdirect, International Monetary and Financial Committee, International Monetary Fund, medium-term fiscal consolidation, monetary policy, political will, sovereign and financial balance sheets, structural reform, technical assistance, unemployment, weak balance sheets, weak growth | 71 Comments »
Posted on September 21, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
(Versions in عربي, Français, 中文 and Русский)
In the midst of jittery financial markets, and global economic doom and gloom, it’s easy to become pessimistic. Perhaps too much so; amid what seems like a steady drum beat of bad news, one can lose sight of what has been achieved over the last couple of years.
Public debt and fiscal deficits in many advanced economies remain very high. Nevertheless, important progress has been made in fiscal adjustment in many advanced economies. For most countries, government deficits have fallen substantially—by 2¼ percentage points of GDP on average compared to two years ago.
The fiscal outlook in most countries is stronger than we expected two years ago. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: economic growth, fiscal consolidation, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, government debt, government deficits, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, job-creating growth, medium-term fiscal consolidation, public debt | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 20, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard
(Versions in عربي, Français, Español and Русский)
The global economy has entered a dangerous new phase. The recovery has weakened considerably, and downside risks have increased sharply. Strong policies are urgently needed to improve the outlook and reduce risks.
Growth, which had been strong in 2010, decreased in 2011. We had forecast some slowdown, due mainly to fiscal consolidation. One-time events, such as the tragic earthquake in Japan, offered plausible explanations for a further slowdown. The initial U.S. data also understated the size of the slowdown. Now that the numbers are in, it is clear that more was going on. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: bank balance sheets, bank capital, bank lending, current account deficits, current accout surpluses, downside risks, economic forecasts, economic rebalancing, external rebalancing, financial volatility, fiscal consolidation, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, low growth, medium-term fiscal consolidation, Olivier Blanchard, private demand, public debt, public deficits, sovereign bonds, weak balance sheets, World Economic Outlook, world growth | 14 Comments »
Posted on April 13, 2011 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
In various guises, the “Year of Living Dangerously” has been used to describe the global financial crisis, the policy response to the crisis, and its aftermath.
But, we’ve slipped well beyond a year and the financial system is still flirting with danger. Durable financial stability has, so far, proven elusive.
Financial stability risks may have eased, reflecting improvements in the economic outlook and continuing accommodative policies. But those supportive policies—while necessary to restart the economy—have also masked serious, underlying financial vulnerabilities that need to be addressed as quickly as possible. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: asset quality, balance sheets, bank credit, bank restructuring, banking system, capital buffers, capital controls, capital inflows, debt sustainability, financial imbalances, financial sector risk, financial stability, global financial crisis, Global Financial Stability Report, government debt, household indebtedness, macroprudential policies, medium-term fiscal consolidation, overheating, sovereign funding | 5 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 February 1, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
(Version in Español)
As we said in the just-published Fiscal Monitor update, fiscal policy this year in some leading advanced economies is shaping up to be quite different from what was expected just last November.
The United States and Japan are delaying their earlier plans to reduce their public deficits, choosing instead to provide further support to their economies. The change in plans is even more remarkable if you look at the cyclically adjusted balance. You can see this in the charts. Some of the change in the fiscal stance with respect to our earlier projections is attributable to the somewhat better than projected fiscal results in 2010, a point to which I will return in a moment. Most of it, however, is due to additional stimulus measures introduced during the last two months. These two countries need to strengthen their fiscal adjustment credentials by detailing the measures they will adopt to lower deficits and debt over the medium term. Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: commodity prices, cyclically adjusted balance, fiscal consolidation, fiscal institutions, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, Fiscal Stimulus, general government balance, government debt, medium-term fiscal consolidation, public debt, sovereign risk | 2 Comments »