Posted on September 24, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Shekhar Aiyar and Anna Ilyina
Problem loans are clogging the arteries of Europe’s banking system. The global financial crisis and subsequent recession have left businesses and households in many countries with debts that they cannot repay. Nonperforming loans as a share of total loans in the EU have more than doubled since 2009, reaching €1 trillion—over 9 percent of the region’s GDP—by end-2014. These loans are particularly high in the southern part of the euro area, as well as in several Eastern and Southeastern European countries. Only a handful of countries have managed to lower their nonperforming loan ratio to below its post-crisis peak.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: debt, euro area, Europe, European Central Bank, non-performing loans, recession | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 20, 2015 by iMFdirect
By David Lipton
Why have businesses in advanced economies not been investing more in machinery, equipment and plants? Business investment is the largest component of private investment, and its weakness has puzzled many of us.
Some believe that the key to more business investment is less uncertainty about fiscal policy, regulation, and structural reforms. Some believe that it is providing better financing, including for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt | Tagged: David Lipton, fiscal policy, infrastructure, investment, monetary policy, public investment, recession, World Economic Outlook | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 8, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Xavier Debrun
(Versions in عربي, 中文, Français, Русский, 日本語and Español)
Anyone can easily picture an economy where instability, stagnation and runaway government deficits converge into a perfect storm. Yet the simple mirror image of stability, growth, and balanced budgets currently seems odd to many. And with monetary policy looking breathless, some even wonder whether sacrificing fiscal sanity for short-term growth might not be worth a try.
In any economic debate, looking at the data is always a good starting point. And the latest issue of the Fiscal Monitor does exactly that. Our study looks at the experience with fiscal stabilization during the past three decades in a broad sample of 85 advanced, emerging market, and developing economies. The message is loud and clear: governments can use fiscal policy to smooth fluctuations in economic activity, and this can lead to higher medium-term growth. This essentially means governments need to save in good times so that they can use the budget to stabilize output in bad times. In advanced economies, making fiscal policies more stabilizing could cut output volatility by about 15 percent, with a growth dividend of about 0.3 percentage point annually.
Filed under: Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: debt, emerging market, Fiscal Monitor, fiscal policy, fiscal stabilization, government deficits, investment, recession | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 11, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Jochen Andritzky
(Versions in Español)
In housing crises, high mortgage debt can feed a vicious circle of falling housing prices and economic slowdown. As a result, more households default on their mortgages and the crisis deepens. A new IMF Working Paper studies the differences in the housing crises and policy responses in Iceland, Ireland, Spain, and the United States, and argues that crisis policies geared to provide temporary debt service relief for struggling households, followed by durable loan modifications, can help break this vicious circle.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Foreclosures, house prices, housing market, Iceland, Ireland, loans, mortgages, recession, Spain, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 28, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Deniz Igan
(Version in Español)
Something unusual happened this year. For the first time in almost ten years, a book by an economist made it to Amazon’s Top 10 list. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century captured the attention of people from all walks of life because it echoed what an increasing number of Americans have been feeling: the rich keep getting richer and poverty in America is a mainstream problem.
The numbers illustrate the troubling reality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 6 Americans—almost 50 million people—are living in poverty. Recent research documents that nearly 40 percent of American adults will spend at least one year in poverty by the time they reach 60. During 1968–2000, the risk was less than 20 percent. More devastatingly, 1 in 5 children currently live in poverty and, during their childhood, roughly 1 in 3 Americans will spend at least one year living below the poverty line.
Filed under: Financial Crisis, Globalization, Advanced Economies, International Monetary Fund, IMF, recession, Economic research, Employment, Economic outlook, Investment, unemployment, Reform | Tagged: economic recovery, recession, poverty reduction, jobs, United States, labor market, poverty, education, U.S., rich and poor, tax, wages, health care | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 19, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Jeffrey Franks
(Version in اردو)
Following my most recent visit to Pakistan I noticed there seem to be many different and contradictory views about the government’s reform agenda supported by the IMF program. This piece addresses some of the key concerns on people’s minds.
1. The IMF dictated the content of the program.
The government mostly produced the policies supported in this program, which respond to key challenges facing Pakistan today.
The economic section of the PML-N party manifesto shows that most of the policies agreed with the IMF were actually those proposed by Prime Minister Sharif and his team before the elections, such as: fiscal consolidation, tax reform, measures to tackle the energy crisis, restructuring and privatizations of public sector enterprises, trade policy reforms, and steps to boost the investment climate.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: energy, Pakistan, recession, taxes, United States | Leave a comment »