The IMF’s Work on Inequality: Bridging Research and Reality


By Prakash Loungani and Jonathan D. Ostry

Over the past three decades, income inequality has gone up in most advanced economies and in many developing ones as well. Why? Much of the research on inequality has focused on advances in technology and liberalization of trade as the main drivers. While technology and trade are global trends that are difficult to resist, IMF studies have shown that the design of government policies matters and can help limit increases in inequality. Continue reading

Islamic Banking Proposals Get IMF Approval


By Ghiath Shabsigh, Ross Leckow, and Zeine Zeidane

Versions in:  ArabicFrenchIndonesian, and Malay

Islamic banking, a small but fast-growing corner of the financial world, is receiving greater attention from regulators and policy makers. The IMF recently adopted a set of proposals on Islamic banking and called for a more comprehensive set of policies to ensure financial stability in countries with Islamic banking and support the sound development of the industry. The IMF is now calling for additional work and cooperation by its staff with other international agencies to improve the adoption of relevant standards for Islamic banking and to address remaining regulatory gaps.  Continue reading

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

Taxing Oil, Gas and Minerals Across Borders Poses Challenges for Developing Nations


By Philip Daniel, Michael Keen, Artur Swistak, and Victor Thuronyi

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

Seventy percent of the world’s poorest people live in countries rich in oil, natural gas or minerals, making effective taxation of these extractive industries critical to alleviating poverty and achieving sustained growth. But national borders make that task much harder, opening possibilities for tax avoidance by multinationals and raising tough jurisdictional issues when resource deposits cross frontiers. Continue reading

The Fruits of Growth: Economic Reforms and Lower Inequality


Lagarde.2015MDPORTRAIT4_114x128By Christine Lagarde

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

Growth is essential for improving the lives of people in low-income countries, and it should benefit all parts of society.

Traveling through Africa in the last few days, I have been amazed by the vitality I have witnessed: business startups investing in the future, new infrastructure under construction, and a growing middle class. Many Africans are now making a better living and fewer are suffering from poverty. My current host, Uganda, for example, has more than halved its absolute poverty rate to about 35 percent from close to 90 percent in 1990.

But we have also seen a flip side. Poverty, of course, but inequality as well remain stubbornly high in most developing countries, including in Africa, and too often success is not shared by all.  Continue reading

Inclusive Growth and the IMF


prakash-loungani-128x112-72By Prakash Loungani

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

Four years ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of the dangers of rising inequality, a topic that has now risen to the very top of the global policy agenda.

While the IMF’s work on inequality has attracted the most attention, it is one of several new areas into which the institution has branched out in recent years. A unifying framework for all this work can be summarized in two words: Inclusive growthContinue 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.

Continue reading

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