Posted on July 28, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Ruy Lama
House prices are rising rapidly in the UK at an annual rate of 10.5 percent. House price inflation is particularly high in London (20 percent per year), and it is gradually accelerating in the rest of the country. The recent increases in house prices have been getting a lot of attention, and understandably have raised questions about living standards and whether another “boom-bust” cycle has begun.
The current UK housing cycle raises two important questions. What is driving the rise in house prices? And how should macroeconomic policies respond?
Macroeconomic policies should tackle two crucial issues in the housing market: (i) mitigating systemic financial risks during upswings in house prices and leverage; and (ii) encouraging an adequate supply of housing in order to safeguard affordability. In this blog, we discuss how the UK authorities are addressing these two issues and what additional policies may be necessary to manage risks from the housing market.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: Article IV, house prices, housing market, inflation, Loan-to-income ratio, loan-to-value ratio, Macroeconomic policies, mortgages, United Kingdom | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 14, 2014 by iMFdirect
By IMFdirect editors
Socrates’ famous method to develop his students’ intellect was to question them relentlessly in an unending search for contradictions and the truth—or at the very least, a great quote.
The method was alive and well among the moderators, panelists and audiences of the IMF’s Spring Meetings seminars that took place alongside official discussions, where boosting high-quality growth, with a focus on the medium term, was at the top of the agenda. Our editors fanned out and found a couple of big themes kept coming up. Here are some of the highlights.
Lots of people are talking about what happens when the flood of easy money into emerging markets thanks to low interest rates in advanced economies like the United States slows even more than it has in the past year.
At a seminar on fiscal policy the discussion focused on the challenges facing policymakers as central banks slowly exit from unconventional monetary policy and interest rates begin rising.
A live poll of the audience found 63 percent said the global economy remains weak and unconventional monetary policies should remain in place.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Africa, Annual Meetings, Asia, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Chile, Christine Lagarde, emerging market, Federal Reserve, global economy, growth, income inequality, macroprudential policies, Olivier Blanchard, Oxfam, Program of Seminars, Reserve Bank of India, Spring Meetings, United Kingdom | 1 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 April 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Olivier Blanchard
(Version in Français, Español, Русский, عربي, 中文 and 日本語)
The dynamics that were emerging at the time of the October 2013 World Economic Outlook are becoming more visible. Put simply, the recovery is strengthening.
In our recent World Economic Outlook, we forecast world growth to be 3.6 percent this year and 3.9 percent next year, up from 3.0 percent last year.
In advanced economies, we forecast growth to reach 2.2 percent in 2014, up from 1.3 percent in 2013.
The recovery which was starting to take hold in October is becoming not only stronger, but also broader. The various brakes that hampered growth are being slowly loosened. Fiscal consolidation is slowing, and investors are less worried about debt sustainability. Banks are gradually becoming stronger. Although we are far short of a full recovery, the normalization of monetary policy—both conventional and unconventional—is now on the agenda.
Brakes are loosened at different paces however, and the recovery remains uneven.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Africa, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: China, euro area, Germany, IMF forecast, India, inflation, Japan, macroeconomic policy, Olivier Blanchard, United Kingdom, United States, WEO, World Economic Outlook | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 7, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Giovanni Dell’Ariccia and Karl Habermeier
(Versions in Español)
The global financial crisis shook monetary policy in advanced economies out of the almost complacent routine into which it had settled since Paul Volcker’s Fed beat inflation in the United States in the early 1980s.
Simply keep inflation low and stable, target a short-term interest rate, and regulate and supervise financial institutions, the mantra went, and all will be well.
Of course many scholars and policymakers, especially in emerging markets, were skeptical of this simple creed. But they did not make much headway against a doctrine seemingly well-buttressed by sophisticated theoretical models, voluminous empirical research, and over 20 years of “Great Moderation” —low inflation and output volatility. All of that has changed since the crisis, and ideas that were once marginal have now moved to center stage.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: central banks, financial stability, inflation, interest rates, macroeconomic policy, monetary policy, policymakers, Singapore, unemployment, United Kingdom, United States | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 23, 2014 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
Brisbane and Basel may be 10,000 miles apart, but when it comes to financial regulation the two cities will be standing cheek by jowl.
At the next summit of the Group of Twenty advanced and emerging economies, to be held in Brisbane in November, political leaders will take the pulse of the global financial regulatory reform agenda, launched five years ago. The explicit goal of the Australian G-20 presidency is to finally complete these essential reforms. As Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today in Davos, “Financial regulation is always a work-in-progress, but these reforms now need to be finalized in ways that promote confidence without eliminating risk.”
I strongly support this extra push to create a safer financial system that can better support the needs of the real economy, and better protect taxpayers. For far too long, critics have been able to portray the G-20 reform agenda as a regulatory supertanker stuck in the shallow waters of technical complexity, financial industry pushback, and diverging national views. This image is increasingly off the mark.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, G-20, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics | Tagged: Basel III, Ben Bernanke, Davos, economic reform, European Union, Financial Stability Board, G-20, global financial system, Japan, José Viñals, U.S. Fed, United Kingdom, United States, United States Federal Reserve | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 21, 2014 by iMFdirect
By: Olivier Blanchard
(Versions in Español عربي, Русский, Français, and 中文 )
I want to take a moment today to remember our colleague Wabel Abdallah, who was our resident representative in Afghanistan and who, as many of you know, was killed in the terrorist attack in Kabul on Friday. We are mourning a colleague, a friend to many of us, above all a dedicated civil servant who represented the best the Fund has to offer, and gave his life in the line of duty, helping the Afghan people. Our hearts go out to his family and to the many victims of this brutal attack.
Let me now turn to our update of the World Economic Outlook and distill its three main messages:
First, the recovery is strengthening. We forecast world growth to increase from 3% in 2013 to 3.7% in 2014. We forecast growth in advanced economies to increase from 1.3% in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014. And we forecast growth in emerging market and developing economies to increase from 4.7% in 2013 to 5.1% in 2014.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth | Tagged: China, Europe, fiscal consolidation, forecast, France, Germany, global outlook, Japan, monetary policy, Olivier Blanchard, Southern Europe, unemployment, United Kingdom, United States, WEO, World Economic Outlook | Leave a comment »