Worsening terms of trade, and the persistent strength of imports tied to investment spending have had a substantial impact on China’s currency account surplus. Economists here at the IMF suggest they account for close to two-thirds of that decline since 2007. But as I said above, there is little evidence that consumption is rising as a share of GDP. Yes, China is increasingly becoming a source of final consumer demand for the world economy, but its imports of consumer goods are growing at a slower pace than its imports of machinery and equipment.
We quantify the spillovers from Brazil to other countries in South America. The results confirm that Brazil has a significant influence on Southern Cone countries, particularly on Mercosur partners (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay), but not on the Andean economies. For the Southern Cone countries, spillovers from Brazil can take two forms: the transmission of shocks originating in Brazil and the amplification (through Brazil) of global shocks. These two factors explain an important share of the fluctuations in economy activity in the Southern Cone countries.
India's long-run challenges have turned into short-run problems. Supply constraints, particular in power, mining and land, have become increasingly binding. As these constraints have raised costs and inflation, investor sentiment has suffered. But other measures to remove bottlenecks also matter, such as streamlining taxation and facilitating business investment via additional financial reforms.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region suffers significant shortcoming in data, which are particularly problematic at a time economic transition. There are important data gaps, poor data quality and in many cases, internationally agreed standards of statistical methodologies, compilation periodicity and timeliness, and data dissemination practices are not followed.
The growth versus austerity debate is detracting attention from policy issues that may seem less urgent, but which are nevertheless critical in the medium term. I am referring to what I would call the institutional gaps in fiscal policymaking that still exist in most advanced and emerging economies. These gaps have contributed to a bias in the conduct of fiscal policy in favor of deficits that is behind many of the current problems.
The IMF's Finance & Development magazine has recently published two helpful online compilations of articles that may be useful to students and those interested in economic issues. They are rich collections of material that are totally free!! They are a collection of profiles of leading economists and some clearly written explanations of fundamental economic terms.
Just as the "Arab Spring" opened a debate about politics in the Middle East, we now need an "Economic Spring" on how to rethink the region's economic future. Of course each country will have to define its own strategy, but there will be some common issues that will have to be addressed.
Over the past two decades—in line with the region’s growing role in the global economy—Asia’s equity markets have become increasingly sensitive to global financial developments. More specifically, we have discovered that equity returns in Asia generally now move in tandem with those in systemic economies. (By systemic economies, we are talking here about those countries—such as the United States and the United Kingdom which are home to major, global, financial centers such as Wall Street and the City of London.)
In our study, we analyze how fiscal frameworks for resource-rich countries be made more flexible in practice from a practitioner’s perspective, proposing specific options to effectively anchor fiscal policy while allowing for a sustainable scaling up of spending in the context of increased resource revenue.
Sub-Saharan Africa's solid growth record has been supported by several factors, including significantly less civil conflict, the generally favorable commodity price developments benefiting Africa’s natural resource exporters; and the extensive debt relief provided to most highly-indebted poor countries. But I would ascribe key importance to sound policy choices by African governments – both in terms of pursuing appropriate macroeconomic policies and pressing ahead with important reform measures.