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 December 17, 2012 by iMFdirect
by María González-Miranda
(Version in Español)
Four years after the Lehman Brothers crisis, private companies in the largest and most financially integrated Latin American countries are doing relatively well, despite continuous bouts of global uncertainty. Like firms in other high-performing emerging markets in Asia, companies in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru (the “LA5”) have benefited from abundant external financing, strong domestic credit, and generally robust demand growth.
These favorable conditions have resulted in robust corporate profitability and valuation, reasonably contained debt ratios, and lower short-term maturity exposures than those observed in other emerging markets.
But some vulnerabilities are starting to build up.
Filed under: Asia, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, corporate sector, currency, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, LA5, Latin America, María González-Miranda, Mexico, Peru, vulnerable | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 6, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Version in Español)
Next week, I will travel to Latin America—my second visit to the region since November 2011. I return with increased optimism, as much of Latin America continues its impressive transformation that started a decade ago.
The region remains resilient to the recent bouts in global volatility, and many countries continue to expand at a healthy pace. An increasing number of people are escaping the perils of poverty to join a growing and increasingly vibrant middle class.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Español, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: advanced economies, Asia, business leaders, capital flow management measures, capital flows, Central America, Chile, Civil Society, Colombia, commodity exporters, competitiveness, debt levels, demand, domestic demand, Economics, education, emerging economies, Europe, exports, external financing conditions, financial sector, financial supervision and regulation, fiscal balances, fiscal cliff United States, fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, global crisis, global risks, growth, high commodity prices, iMFdirect, inequality, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, Mexico, middle class, monetary policy, policymakers, poverty, productivity, reforms, students, tailwinds, taxes | 5 Comments »
Posted on November 19, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Nicolas Magud and Evridiki Tsounta
(Version in Español)
Many Latin American countries have strengthened their monetary policy frameworks in recent years to keep the rate of inflation in check. Some of them have adopted an inflation target and use the policy interest rate as the main tool to achieve that target.
But how do central bankers know whether monetary policy is expansionary or contractionary? Policymakers would need to know how the current policy rate compares to a benchmark or neutral rate.
The neutral interest rate is the real interest rate consistent with the economy operating at full employment and stable inflation. If the economy is operating above its potential capacity and inflation is rising, policymakers should increase the policy interest rate above the neutral level to cool down the economy. Conversely, if the economy is operating below its full employment level, interest rates may need to be lowered below the neutral level.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Español, Finance, growth, Inequality, Latin America, Low-income countries, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Brazil, business cycle, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, EMBI, Evridiki Tsounta, Guatemala, inflation targeting, interest rates, Mexico, monetary policy, neutral rate, Nicolas Magud, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 17, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Gustavo Adler and Camilo E. Tovar
(Version in Español)
Latin America has a long history of accidents that have occurred while navigating turbulent financial international waters. With risks looming over the world economy, should the region worry about new global financial waves?
Global financial markets have seen frequent bouts of severe stress since 2008, although this isn’t really anything new for the region. Global financial shocks have occurred on average every 2½ years since 1990, with significant effects on Latin America.
But how costly are these shocks in terms of domestic output, and is Latin America better placed to cope with them this time?
In Chapter 3 of the IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, we analyze whether changes in underlying fundamentals have made the region more or less vulnerable over time. The analysis, which complements our work on the effects of terms-of-trade shocks, looks at what country features and policies make a difference. We focus here solely on the impact of the financial shocks by isolating the effect from commodity prices and global demand shocks.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Español, Financial Crisis, Globalization, growth, Investment, Latin America, Politics | Tagged: boom and bust, Brazil, Camilo E. Tovar, exchange rate, financial integration, Gustavo Adler, Latin America, Mexico, regional economic outlook, shock, simulations, terms of trade, Western Hemisphere | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 10, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Luis Cubeddu, Camilo E. Tovar, and Evridiki Tsounta
(Version in Español)
Housing construction projects are sprouting up across much of Latin America and mortgage credit is also growing very fast. Does this sound familiar? It should!
Easy external financing conditions and high commodity prices have led to important improvements in living standards and credit deepening in many countries of the region over the past decade. The credit expansion has been particularly impressive in the mortgage sector, where legal reforms and government subsidies have also played a role.
Although mortgage credit in Latin American countries is relatively low by international standards —at just 7 percent of GDP versus over 20 percent in emerging Asia and over 65 percent in the United States—it has grown at an impressive annual average real rate of 14 percent since 2003, with Brazil leading the pack. Home prices have also risen sharply over this period, particularly in countries where mortgage credit has expanded the fastest (for more details see Chapter 5 in our latest Western Hemisphere Regional Economic Outlook).
So, are housing vulnerabilities emerging?
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, growth, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: Brazil, Camilo E. Tovar, Chile, Colombia, credit, Evridiki Tsounta, housing, housing market, Luis Cubeddu, Mexico, Minha Casa, Minha Vida, Peru, Uruguay | 5 Comments »
Posted on February 26, 2012 by iMFdirect
Although a derailing of the global recovery has been avoided, the world economy is still not out of the danger zone, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said after the conclusion of the Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Mexico City.
“Over the last two days, we discussed the challenges facing the world economy and continued our deliberations over next steps and actions,” she said in a February 26 press statement.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, Fiscal policy, Fiscal Stimulus, G-20, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Multilateral Cooperation, Public debt, recession | Tagged: Christine Lagarde, euro, Euro Group, firewalls, Group of 20, Group of Twenty, IMF resources, IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings, IMFC, iMFdirect blog, Mexico, Mexico City | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 21, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Luis M. Cubeddu and Camilo E. Tovar
(Version in Español)
Many Latin American economies are booming due to strong inflows of capital and stronger export earnings from high commodity prices. Though favorable today, this situation is also a double-edged sword.
Households, companies, and banks are spurred to take on financial risk. But, if risks become excessive or poorly managed, they sow the seeds of future problems. The region has experienced firsthand the boom and bust cycles that can ensue, and there is consensus that this needs to be avoided or minimized in the future. The IMF’s two latest Regional Economic Outlooks for the region—published in May and October 2010—focused on precisely this issue.
While the bottom line is the need for effective macroeconomic policy management and implementation, information is an essential ingredient. (more…)
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: asset price bubbles, Brazil, capital flows, commodity prices, corporate financing structure, credit conditions surveys, currency mismatch, data availability, data quality, derivatives, financial institutions, financial risk, Financial Stability Report, house price indicators, maturity mismatch, Mexico, portfolio risk, Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere, statistics | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 13, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Nicolás Eyzaguirre
(Version in Español)
Ahead of my arrival today in Mexico with the IMFs Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I can’t help but reflect on how things have changed for the better in Mexico over the past decade in the sphere of economic policy. At the same time, I am struck by the importance of the task ahead for Mexico: grasping the opportunities offered by the changing global scene.
Mexico’s economic institutions have been very substantially strengthened. The balanced budget fiscal rule has supported fiscal discipline and a reduction in public debt. Moreover the structure of this debt has been radically improved—Mexico has created a deep domestic bond market and extended maturities. The introduction of inflation targeting has cemented the credibility of Banxico and fostered a reduction in inflation—that most unequal of taxes on the poorest—to low single digit levels. Meanwhile, the deep commitment to the flexible exchange regime has created an important safety valve for the economy. (more…)
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: competition, FCL, Flexible Credit Line, labor markets, Mexico, public services, Strauss-Kahn, transformation | Leave a Comment »