Chart of the Week: Inequality and the Decline in Labor Share of Income


By IMFBlog

As discussed in the IMF’s G20 Note, and a blog last week by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, a forthcoming chapter of the World Economic Outlook seeks to understand the decline in the labor share of income (that is, the share of national income paid in wages, including benefits, to workers) in many countries around the world. These downward trends can have potentially large and complex social implications, including a rise in income inequality.  Continue reading

Revisiting the Paradox of Capital: The Reversal of Uphill Flows


By Emine Boz, Luis Cubeddu, and Maurice Obstfeld

Versions in عربي (Arabic),  中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese),  Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

Basic economic theory tells us that capital should flow from slow-growing rich countries to faster-growing poor ones in search of higher returns. A decade ago, our former Research Department colleagues Eswar Prasad, Raghuram Rajan, and Arvind Subramanian examined why the reverse had been true—capital generally flowed “uphill” from poorer to richer countries. Building on the seminal work of Robert Lucas, they argued that certain characteristics of poorer countries, such as weaker institutions and lower levels of education, may reduce the risk-adjusted returns to investing there.  Continue reading

Navigating Through Global Cross Currents: Latest Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean


Event onlyBy Alejandro Werner

Versions in Português (Portuguese), and Español (Spanish)

The global landscape has changed since our last update in October 2016. These changes have been mainly shaped by:

  • An anticipated shift in the U.S. policy mix, higher growth and inflation, and a stronger dollar. In the United States—while potential policy changes remain uncertain—fiscal policy is likely to become expansionary, while monetary policy is expected to tighten faster than previously expected because of stronger demand and inflation pressures. As a result, growth is projected to rise to 2.3 percent in 2017 and 2.5 percent in 2018—a cumulative increase in GDP of ½ percentage point relative to the October forecast. The expected change in the policy mix and growth has led to an increase in global long-term interest rates, a stronger dollar in real effective terms, and a moderation of capital flows to Latin America.
  • Improved outlook for other advanced economies and China for 2017–18, reflecting somewhat stronger activity in the second half of 2016 as well as projected policy stimulus.
  • Some recovery in commodity prices, especially metal and oil prices, on the back of strong infrastructure and real estate investment in China, expectations of fiscal easing in the United States, and agreement among major petroleum producers to cut supply.

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A Shifting Global Economic Landscape: Update to the World Economic Outlook


maury-obstfeld-blogsize-final2By Maurice Obstfeld

Versions in عربي (Arabic),  中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese),  Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

Today we released our update to the World Economic Outlook.

An accumulation of recent data suggests that the global economic landscape started to shift in the second half of 2016. Developments since last summer indicate somewhat greater growth momentum coming into the new year in a number of important economies. Our earlier projection, that world growth will pick up from last year’s lackluster pace in 2017 and 2018, therefore looks increasingly likely to be realized. At the same time, we see a wider dispersion of risks to this short-term forecast, with those risks still tilted to the downside. Uncertainty has risen.  Continue reading

The World Economy: Moving Sideways


maury-obstfeld-weo_220x150By Maurice Obstfeld

Versions in: عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

A return to the strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth that Group of Twenty leaders called for at Hangzhou in September still eludes us. Global growth remains weak, even though it shows no noticeable deceleration over the last quarter. The new World Economic Outlook sees a slowdown for the group of advanced economies in 2016 and an offsetting pickup for emerging and developing economies. Taken as a whole, the world economy has moved sideways. Without determined policy action to support economic activity over the short and longer terms, sub-par growth at recent levels risks perpetuating itself—through the negative economic and political forces it is unleashing.

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Tariffs Do More Harm Than Good at Home


maurice-obstfeld2By Maurice Obstfeld

Versions in: عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語(Japanese), Русский (Russian), Español (Spanish)

A longstanding challenge for the global economy is the possibility that some countries compete for export markets through artificially low prices. Political leaders and pundits sometimes propose import tariffs to offset the supposed price advantages and exert pressure for policy changes abroad. What proponents often fail to realize is that such tariff policies, while certainly hurting their targets, can also be very costly at home. And surprisingly, the self-inflicted harm can be substantial even when trade partners do not retaliate with tariffs of their own. Continue reading

In Transition: The Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean


Event onlyBy Alejandro Werner

Versions in: Português (Portuguese),  Español (Spanish)

Following a rough start at the beginning of the year, both external and domestic conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean have improved. But the outlook for the region is still uncertain.

Commodity prices have recovered since their February 2016 trough, but they are still expected to remain low for the foreseeable future. This has been accompanied by a brake—or even a reversal—in the large exchange rate depreciations in some of the largest economies in the region.

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