Posted on November 5, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Deniz Igan
(version in Español)
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when science fiction could make us look forward to a better world. We had uplifting visions of the future in shows like Star Trek and Back to the Future. Today, the menu of options only offers a dystopian world ruined by poverty and violence (think The Hunger Games, Divergent, or Elysium).
It sure is easy to get pessimistic these days. Six years after the financial crisis, the recovery in the United States has been fragile and weaker than anything we have seen in the post-WWII period. Growth figures, in large part, have been serial disappointments, disrupted by government shutdowns, debt ceiling showdowns, or meteorologically-triggered slowdowns.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, Government, growth, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Article IV, deficit, education, global financial crisis, immigration, infrastructure, labor force, recovery, tax reform, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 12, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Sabina Bhatia
I know it might sound odd, but I actually like the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings. I know the traffic snarls on Pennsylvania Avenue are terrible, Washington cabbies ruder than ever, lots of men in dark suits (and sadly, they are still mostly men), and there is the constant rush from meeting to meeting.
But beyond the long lines, long hours, cold coffee and the constant buzz of communiqués, press releases, and scores of official meetings, I find my place in the rich and stimulating discussions among the non-official community.
This year, over 600 civil society organizations, including members of parliament, academics, and several youth and labor groups, came to the meetings. They deliberated, discussed and debated some thorny issues. The burning issues close to their hearts? Not that different from what officials are also debating. Here is some of what I heard:
Filed under: Africa, Annual Meetings, Civil Society, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Global Governance, IMF | Tagged: academics, civil society organizations, debt, ebola, inequality, infrastructure, investment, jobs, Labor, parliament, recovery, unemployment, women, youth | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 11, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Reza Moghadam
Economic growth across Europe is slowly picking up, which is good news. But the recovery is still modest and measures to boost economic growth and create jobs are important.
Western Europe: picking up the pace
The recovery projected last October for the euro area has solidified. This is reflected in our revised forecasts—e.g., the 2014 forecast for the euro area is up from 1 percent last October to 1.2 percent now, with important upgrades in countries like Spain. These revisions reflect the stronger data flow on the back of past policy actions, the revival of investor confidence, and the waning drag from fiscal consolidation. The positive impact on program countries is palpable—improving economies, lower spreads, and evidence of market access. We’ve also seen a welcome pick-up in growth in the UK (almost 3 percent is expected for 2014).
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: banking union, ECB, euro area, inflation, loans, lowflation, macroeconomic policy, recovery, Regional Economic Outlook: Europe, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 27, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Reza Moghadam
Is the recovery everyone has been waiting for finally here? Encouraging signs from Europe—rising share prices, lower sovereign bond yields, and increased risk appetite—reflect an upturn in high-frequency indicators, the first signs of positive domestic demand in the euro area, and the prospect of less drag from fiscal consolidation.
At the same time, there are formidable headwinds to overcome. Debt owed by households and businesses remains high, making a rapid pick-up in consumption and investment unlikely. Contracting bank lending, as well as relatively tougher credit conditions in the countries most in need of support, are also holding back recovery. And reducing unacceptably high levels of unemployment depends on strong growth.
Filed under: Economic research, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: book launch, euro area, recovery, unemployment, video | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 27, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Martin Kaufman and Mercedes García-Escribano
(Version in Español and Português)
Since the early 2000s, Brazil’s economy has grown at a robust clip, with growth in 2010 reaching 7.5 percent—its strongest in a quarter of a century. A key pillar of its hard-won economic success has been sound economic policies and the adoption of far-reaching social programs, which resulted in a substantial decline in poverty.
In the last couple of years Brazil’s growth slowed down. Although other emerging market economies experienced a similar slowdown, the growth outturns in Brazil were particularly disappointing. And the measures taken to stimulate the economy did not produce a sustained recovery. This is because unleashing sustained growth in Brazil requires measures geared not at stimulating domestic demand but at changing the composition of demand towards investment and at increasing productivity.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Español, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Português, Public debt | Tagged: Article IV, Brazil, BRICs, fiscal consolidation, infrastructure, macroeconomic policy, recovery, unemployment | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
Japan was struck, in the mid-afternoon of Friday, March 11, 2011, by the country’s largest ever recorded earthquake. Within an hour, parts of Japan’s northeast coast were hit by a wall of water that swept away cars, boats, trains, buildings, roads—and thousands of lives.
It was with humility and respect, then, that I visited parts of the affected area more than 18 months on, in a special event this week in and around Sendai—the Japanese city most affected by the disaster, a couple of hours by train north of Tokyo. This “Sendai Dialogue,” cohosted by the Government of Japan and the World Bank, was part of the overall IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings being held in Tokyo this week.
Disaster turned to success
I went to two areas around Sendai—the first was the Arahama Elementary School, site of a successful evacuation during the disaster. The school is still in its wrecked state—just as it was straight after the tsunami struck. Debris is strewn all over the grounds–a mangled mass of vehicles resembling more a scrap yard than a school. The corridors and classrooms inside are also in ruins.
Filed under: Annual Meetings, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics | Tagged: Arahama School, Christine Lagarde, disaster, disaster management, earthquake, Haiti, Japan, Koriki Jojima, President Jim Yong Kim, recovery, Seaside Park Adventure Field, Sendai, Sendai Dialogue, technical assistance, Tohuko, tsunami, World Bank | Leave a comment »