Chart of the Week: Access to Banking Services


By iMFdirect

Version in: Français (French), and Español (Spanish)

Did you know that while many people in advanced economies have multiple bank accounts, there are barely two bank accounts for every ten people in low-income economies? Access to financial services is essential to spread the fruits of economic growth to all, not just to the fortunate few.  Continue reading

Data and Inequality


by iMFdirect

Policymakers need good data to help them make good decisions.

Ravi Kanbur says producing statistics on inequality is never just a technical act; it has political consequences.  Kanbur is a Professor of Economics at Cornell University and delivered the keynote speech at the Fourth IMF Statistical Forum on Statistics for Inclusive Growth.

Continue reading

Helping Feed the World’s Fast-Growing Population


rabah-arezki-imfBy Rabah Arezki

Agriculture and food markets are plagued with inefficiencies that have dramatic consequences for the welfare of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Globally, farm subsidies amount to over $560 billion a year—equivalent to nearly four times the aid given to developing countries by richer ones. Major emerging-market nations have increased subsidies rapidly, even as rich nations cut theirs drastically. Meanwhile, tariffs on farm products remain a major point of contention in global trade talks.

One third of global food production goes to waste, while food insecurity is still rampant in developing countries. Even with the explosion of agricultural productivity since the middle of the 20th century, food security remains a challenge for much of the developing world. Food-calorie production will have to expand by 70 percent by 2050 to keep up with a global population that’s forecast to grow to 9.7 billion from last year’s 7.3 billion. Food insecurity can lead to violence and conflicts that can spill over well beyond borders.  Continue reading

Roads to Stronger Growth in Low-Income Countries


By Tao Zhang and Vladimir Klyuev

Versions in:  عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), and Español (Spanish)

Low-income countries should build more infrastructure to strengthen growth. A new IMF analysis looks at ways to overcome obstacles.

The clock is now ticking on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and while investment—critical to this agenda—has been rising in recent years among low-income countries, weak infrastructure is still hampering growth. Governments need to make significant improvements to lay foundations for flourishing economies: roads to connect people to markets, electricity to keep factories running, sanitation to stave off disease, and pipelines to deliver safe water. Continue reading

What the Fed Rate Rise Means for Corporate Debt in Emerging Markets


By Adrian Alter and Selim Elekdag

Versions in عربي (Arabic), and Español (Spanish)

In December 2016, the U.S. Fed raised interest rates for the first time in a year, and said they planned more increases in 2017.  Emerging market currencies took a bit of a dive, but overall investors didn’t overreact and run for the doors with their money.  For the bigger picture, you can read IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld’s blog that outlines how the U.S. election and Fed decision will impact the global economy.  Continue reading

A Shifting U.S. Policy Mix: Global Rewards and Risks


maury-obstfeld-imfBy Maurice Obstfeld

Version inعربي (Arabic),  中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

After a year marked by financial turbulence, political surprises, and unsteady growth in many parts of the world, the Fed’s decision this month to raise interest rates for just the second time in a decade is a healthy symptom that the recovery of the world’s largest economy is on track.

The Fed’s action was hardly a surprise: markets had for weeks placed a high probability on last week’s move. But market developments preceding the Fed decision did surprise many market watchers. Continue reading

The Evidence that Growth Creates Jobs: A New Look at an Old Relationship


By iMFdirect

Versions in عربي (Arabic), Français (French), and Español (Spanish)

The link between jobs and economic growth is not always a straight line for countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken.

Economists track the relationship between jobs and growth using Okun’s Law, which says that higher growth leads to lower unemployment.

New research from the IMF looks at Okun’s Law and asks, based on the evidence, will growth create jobs? The findings show a striking variation across countries in how employment responds to GDP growth over the course of a year. Continue reading

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