October 10, 2018
What is the state of your personal finances? You probably think first about your debts: your mortgage, your credit card balance, and your student loans. But you probably also think about how much cash is sitting in the bank, the value of your house, and the rest of your nest egg.
Surprisingly, most governments do not approach their finances this way. (more…)
October 3, 2018
In the decade since the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers sparked the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, regulation and supervision of the financial sector have been strengthened considerably. This has reduced the risk of another crisis, with all its attendant woes—unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcies. But a new risk has emerged: reform fatigue. (more…)
June 6, 2018
The growing economic wealth and power of big companies—from airlines to pharmaceuticals to high-tech companies—has raised concerns about too much concentration and market power in the hands of too few. (more…)
May 7, 2018
Known mostly for its azure seas and spectacular old towns, Malta has also become a hub for gambling and betting companies: nowhere else in the European Union does this sector account for such a large part of the economy as on the island south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. While the gambling and betting boom contributes to the country’s trade balance and job creation, it also draws attention to a skills shortage and infrastructure gaps the sector is grappling with, a recent IMF paper shows. (more…)
April 17, 2018
The world economy continues to show broad-based momentum. Against that positive backdrop, the prospect of a similarly broad-based conflict over trade presents a jarring picture.
Three months ago, we updated our global growth forecast for this year and next substantially, to 3.9 percent in both years. That forecast is being borne out by continuing strong performance in the euro area, Japan, China, and the United States, all of which grew above expectations last year. We also project near-term improvements for several other emerging market and developing economies, including some recovery in commodity exporters. Continuing to power the world economy’s upswing are accelerations in investment and, notably, in trade. (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…)
April 10, 2018
Supervisors who monitor the health of the financial system know that a rapid buildup of debt during an economic boom can spell trouble down the road. That is why they keep a close eye on the overall volume of credit in the economy. When companies go on a borrowing spree, supervisors and regulators may decide to put the brakes on credit growth.
Trouble is, measuring credit volume overlooks an important question: how much of that additional money flows to riskier companies – which are more likely to default in times of trouble—compared with more creditworthy firms? The IMF’s latest Global Financial Stability Report seeks to fill that gap by constructing measures of the riskiness of credit allocation, which should help policy makers spot clouds on the economic horizon. (more…)