By Deniz Igan
July 3, 2018
During the global financial crisis, policymakers faced a steep trade-off in handling bank failures. Using public funds to rescue failing banks (bail-outs) could weaken market discipline and lead to excessive risk taking—the moral hazard effect. (more…)
June 12, 2018
For companies and investors outside the United States, the dollar is often the currency of choice. Surprisingly, though, US banks play only a limited role in lending dollars to international borrowers. Most of the $7 trillion in banks’ dollar lending outside the United States is handled by banks based in Europe, Japan and elsewhere. (more…)
May 30, 2018
“Money makes the world go around,” Liza Minnelli famously sang in the movie Cabaret. Money has for centuries been central to human relationships. Loss of faith in its value can result in economic and political instability, even war. In the past few years, financial technology—fintech for short—has caught the world’s imagination by offering alternatives to traditional means of payment. Will digitalization redefine money? In this issue, we explore the possible consequences, good and bad. (more…)
May 3, 2018
The bouts of volatility in early February and late March that spooked investors were confined to equity markets. Nevertheless, they illustrate the potential for sudden market moves to expose fragilities in the financial system more broadly.
With central banks in advanced economies set to normalize their monetary policies just as trade and geopolitical tensions flare up, economic and policy uncertainty may rise and financial conditions may tighten abruptly. (more…)
April 18, 2018
Global debt hit a new record high of $164 trillion in 2016, the equivalent of 225 percent of global GDP. Both private and public debt have surged over the past decade. High debt makes government’s financing vulnerable to sudden changes in market sentiment. It also limits a government’s ability to provide support to the economy in the event of a downturn or a financial crisis.
Countries should use the window of opportunity afforded by the economic upswing to strengthen the state of their fiscal affairs. The April 2018 Fiscal Monitor explores how countries can reduce government deficits and debt in a growth-friendly way.
April 18, 2018
The current economic environment remains favorable, but short-term risks to global financial stability have increased in the past six months, as a result of a spike in stock-market volatility in February and continuing investor concerns about rising geopolitical and trade tensions. Looking ahead, the odds of a downturn remain elevated, and there’s even a small chance of a global economic contraction over the medium-term. (more…)
April 16, 2018
The dizzying gyrations of crypto-assets such as Bitcoin invite comparisons with the tulip mania that swept Holland in the 17th century and the recent dot-com bubble. With more than 1,600 crypto-assets in circulation, it seems inevitable that many will not survive the process of creative destruction.
In my blog last month, I looked at the dark side of crypto-assets, including their potential use for money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Here, I want to examine the promise they offer. A judicious look at crypto-assets should lead us to neither crypto-condemnation nor crypto-euphoria. (more…)