Gamechanger: The Digital Payment Boom in India

By IMFBlog

January 5, 2018

Madhur Deora, CFO of PayTM: Mobile payment platforms in India are providing small loans to people who’ve never had access to credit (IMF photo).

What does a shoe shiner in India have in common with central bankers and finance ministers? They both can appreciate the digital-payment boom. It’s sweeping the world but has accelerated in India, where last November the government demonetized—declaring that 86 percent of the country’s currency in circulation would cease to be legal tender. Continue reading “Gamechanger: The Digital Payment Boom in India” »

Strength in Numbers: A Safety Net to Prevent Crises in the Global Economy

By IMFBlog

December 19, 2017

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

Walking on a safety net: countries need insurance in bad economic and financial times (photo: Vivek Prakash/Newscom).

If you are lucky, when the going gets tough, you have a group of people you can rely on to help you through a crisis. Countries are no different—a safety net to help them in bad economic and financial times can make the difference in peoples’ lives.   Continue reading “Strength in Numbers: A Safety Net to Prevent Crises in the Global Economy” »

Fed Tightening May Squeeze Portfolio Flows to Emerging Markets

By Robin Koepke

December 14, 2017

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

Derivatives traders in Singapore: Tighter Federal Reserve monetary policy is likely to reduce overseas purchases of emerging market stocks and bonds (photo: Caro/Rupert Oberhaeuser/Newscom)

A key question facing global investors today is what impact the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy normalization process will have on capital flows to emerging markets. The IMF’s new model estimates show that normalization—raising the policy interest rate and shrinking the balance sheet—will likely reduce portfolio inflows by about $70 billion over the next two years, which compares with average annual inflows of $240 billion since 2010. Continue reading “Fed Tightening May Squeeze Portfolio Flows to Emerging Markets” »

Chart of the Week: The Walking Debt: Resolving China’s Zombies

By IMFBlog

December 11, 2017

Version in 中文 (Chinese), 日本語 (Japanese)

IMF research shows that resolving China’s zombie firms can boost productivity and long-term growth prospects (photo: DNY59/iStock by Getty Images).

China’s “zombies” are non-viable firms that are adding to the country’s rising corporate debt problem, and are bad business. Zombie firms are highly indebted and incur persistent losses, but continue to operate with the support of local governments or soft loans by banks—adding very little value to economic prospects. China has already made a lot of progress in resolving these firms, and should continue its efforts to send the zombies packing. Continue reading “Chart of the Week: The Walking Debt: Resolving China’s Zombies” »

Improving Financial Stability in China

By Ratna Sahay and James P. Walsh

December 6, 2017

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

A man walks past a bank branch in Beijing: China’s leaders have made financial stability one of their top priorities (photo: Stephen Shaver/UPI/Newscom).

China’s leaders have made financial stability one of their top priorities. Given the size and importance of the Chinese market, with the world’s largest banks and second-largest stock market, that is welcome news for China and the world. The financial system permeates virtually all aspects of economic activity, having played a key role in facilitating rapid economic growth and in sharply reducing poverty rates.

China is moving from the world’s factory floor toward  a more modern, consumer-driven economy. During this transition, however, some tensions have emerged in the financial sector. Continue reading “Improving Financial Stability in China” »

Taxes, Debt and Development: A One-Percent Rule to Raise Revenues in Africa

By Vitor Gaspar and Abebe Aemro Selassie

December 5, 2017

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

School children in Ghana: building a country’s tax capacity helps pay for education and health care (photo: Vacca Sintesi/SIPA/Newscom).

Tax revenues play a critical role for countries to create room in their budgets to increase spending on social services like health and education, and public investment. At a time when public debt levels in sub-Saharan Africa have increased sharply, raising tax revenues is the most growth-friendly way to stabilize debt. More broadly, building a country’s tax capacity is at the center of any viable development strategy to meet the ongoing needs for expanding education and health care, and filling significant infrastructure gaps. Continue reading “Taxes, Debt and Development: A One-Percent Rule to Raise Revenues in Africa” »

More People, More Technology, More Jobs: How to Build Inclusive Growth

By Stefania Fabrizio and Andrea F. Presbitero

December 4, 2017

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

Pretoria, South Africa: technicians work inside a new locomotive (photo: Zhai Jianlan Xinhua News Agency/Newscom).

Population growth and technological innovation don’t necessarily have to widen inequality in developing countries. They can also offer new opportunities to increase growth and create jobs: the long-term outcomes depend on today’s policy choices. But those choices are not easy because policies for sustained and inclusive growth may conflict with short-term needs. We look at the trade-offs and how to balance short- and long-term goals for sustainable and inclusive growth. Continue reading “More People, More Technology, More Jobs: How to Build Inclusive Growth” »

Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence

By Maurice Obstfeld

November 8, 2017

(photo: AlexLMX and David Hunt/iStock)

The 18th Annual Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference last week opened with Managing Director Christine Lagarde noting the ebb and flow of capital movements into emerging market and developing economies since the turn of the millennium. She asked three questions at the heart of the discussion, and to which speakers returned consistently during the conference: Continue reading “Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence” »

Catch-Up Prospects in Emerging Economies: A Glass One Quarter Empty

By IMFBlog

November 6, 2017

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

A closer look at per capita incomes by country paints a different and more nuanced picture (photo: Pavel1964/iStock).

Per capita incomes in emerging market and developing economies are expected to grow by about 2 percentage points faster per year than advanced economies between 2017 and 2022. The implication is that the gap in income levels between the two groups of countries is narrowing. However, a closer look at per capita incomes by country paints a different and more nuanced picture.  Continue reading “Catch-Up Prospects in Emerging Economies: A Glass One Quarter Empty” »

Understanding the Global Financial Cycle

By Maurice Obstfeld and Mahvash S. Qureshi

October 27, 2017

The boom and bust in cross-border capital flows around the global financial crisis, and in its aftermath, have rekindled debates on the existence and implications of a “global financial cycle.”

The traditional open-economy (“Mundell-Fleming”) model postulates that countries face a “trilemma”: a trade-off among the objectives of exchange rate stability, free capital mobility, and independent monetary policy. If a country chooses exchange rate stability and free capital mobility, it must give up monetary policy autonomy. Conversely, an independent monetary policy in the presence of free capital flows is possible through exchange rate flexibility. Continue reading “Understanding the Global Financial Cycle” »

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