Posted on February 26, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Robert Rennhack and Fabián Valencia
(Versions in Español and Português)
The plunge in world oil prices—from $105 to about $50 per barrel since mid-2014—has been a boon for oil-importing countries, while presenting challenges for oil exporters.
In general, oil importers will enjoy faster growth, lower inflation, and stronger external positions, and most will not encounter any significant fiscal pressures. Oil exporters will tend to face slower growth and weaker external current account balances and some will run into fiscal pressures, since many rely on direct oil-related revenues. One country that stands out is Venezuela, which had been experiencing severe economic imbalances before oil prices began to fall and now finds itself in an even more precarious position.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: barbados, Bolivia, Caribbean, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, energy prices, fuel price subsidy, Guatemala, Latin America, Mexico, oil exporters, oil prices, oil-importing countries, Venezuela | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 25, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Martine Guerguil
Does the European Union need closer fiscal integration, and in particular a stronger fiscal center, to become more resilient to economic shocks? A new IMF book, Designing a European Fiscal Union: Lessons from the Experience of Fiscal Federations, published by Routledge, examines the experience of 13 federal states to help inform the debate on this issue. It analyzes in detail their practices in devolving responsibilities from the subnational to the central level, compares them to those of the European Union, and draws lessons for a possible future fiscal union in Europe.
The book sets out to answer three sets of questions: (1) What is the role of centralized fiscal policies in federations, and hence the size, features, and functions of the central budget? (2) What institutional arrangements are used to coordinate fiscal policy between the federal and subnational levels? (3) What are the links between federal and subnational debt, and how have subnational financing crises been handled, when they occurred?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Austria, Belgium, book launch, Brazil, Canada, debt, euro area, Europe, European Union, fiscal federation, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 21, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(version in Español and Português)
The turn of the year usually brings a fresh dose of optimism. Yet, worries dominate across much of Latin America and the Caribbean today, as 2015 marks yet another year of reduced growth expectations. Regional growth is projected at just 1¼ percent, about the same low rate as in 2014 and almost 1 percentage point below our previous forecast. Challenging external conditions are an important drag for many countries. Still, it’s not too late for some good New Year’s resolutions to address domestic weaknesses and improve growth prospects.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform | Tagged: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, commodi, Ecuador, energy subsidies, euro area, forecast, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, oil, Peru, poverty reduction, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, South America, U.S., Venezuela | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 24, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Sean Hagan
(version in Español)
To restructure or not to restructure? That is a question few governments would like to face. Yet, if a country does find itself with an unsustainable debt burden, one way or another, it will have to be restructured. And if that time comes, it is better for the debtor, creditors, and the entire financial system that the restructuring be carried out in a prompt, predictable, and orderly manner.
The global financial crisis ushered in a new wave of sovereign debt crises that has reinvigorated discussions over the current framework for sovereign debt restructuring. The experience with Greece’s debt restructuring in 2012 and the ongoing litigation involving Argentina, in particular, provide a salutary reminder that vulnerabilities remain.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, Latin America, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: Argentina, bonds, debt restructuring, financial restructuring, government debt, Greece, Kazakhstan, Mexico, sovereign debt, U.S. Treasury, Vietnam | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 11, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Bertrand Gruss and Fabiano Rodrigues Bastos
(version in Español and Português)
China is still a distant and exotic country in the mind of many people in Latin America. Yet, with the Asian giant rapidly expanding its ties with the region (the share of exports going to China is now ten times larger than in 2000), their economic fates seem to be increasingly connected. And in fact, a sharper slowdown in China now represents one of the key risks Latin Americans should be worried about—and prepare for. So, what is at stake? How much do shocks to China matter for economies in Latin America?
In an earlier study presented in our April 2014 Regional Economic Outlook, we analyzed growth spillovers in a large model of the global economy, focusing on the link through commodity prices. Here, we complement that analysis by using a simple yet novel approach that exploits the reaction of financial markets to the release of economic data. We find that growth surprises in China have a significant effect on market views about Latin American economies.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Español, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Politics | Tagged: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, commodiity prices, exchange rate, Finance & Development magazine, financial market, fiscal policy, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, spillovers, Turkey | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 7, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Evan Papageorgiou
When the U.S. Federal Reserve first mentioned in 2013 the prospect of a cutback in its bond buying program, markets had a “taper tantrum.” Many emerging markets saw large increases in volatility, even though outflows from their domestic markets were small and short-lived. Now the Fed has ended its bond buying and is looking ahead to rate hikes, and portfolio flows continue to arrive at the shores of emerging market economies. So everything’s fine, right? Not quite.
In our latest Global Financial Stability Report, we show that the large concentration of advanced economy capital invested in emerging markets acts as a conduit of shocks from the former to the latter.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: bonds, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, emerging market, euro area, Germany, Global Financial Stability Report, government bond, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, interest rates, investment, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, U.S. Federal Reserve, United Kingdom, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 29, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Bertrand Gruss
(version in Español and Português)
It looks as if labor markets in Latin America have not been following the economic news—literally! Economic activity has slowed markedly in the last three years, with some South American countries slipping into outright recession more recently. Yet, labor markets still appear remarkably strong, with unemployment rates, in particular, hovering at record-low levels in most countries (Figure 1). So, what is going on? Has the region discovered how to defy the law of gravity?
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform, unemployment | Tagged: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, education, infrastructure, labor market, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, South America, unemployment rate, Uruguay | Leave a comment »