The Global Expansion: Still Strong but Less Even, More Fragile, Under Threat

By Maurice Obstfeld

July 16, 2018

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The escalation of trade tensions is the greatest near-term threat to global growth (photo: wildpixel/Getty Images by iStock)

Amid rising tensions over international trade, the broad global expansion that began roughly two years ago has plateaued and become less balanced. Continue reading “The Global Expansion: Still Strong but Less Even, More Fragile, Under Threat” »

Economic Preparedness: The Need for Fiscal Space

By Vikram Haksar, Marialuz Moreno-Badia, Catherine Pattillo and Murtaza Syed

June 27, 2018

Versions in عربي中文Baˈhasa indoneˈsia,  日本語Português

Countries must assess the amount of room in their budgets for increasing spending or cutting taxes (photo: Martin Barraud/iStock by Getty Images)

How much leeway national policymakers have for increasing spending or cutting taxes has been hard to assess. Continue reading “Economic Preparedness: The Need for Fiscal Space” »

How the Commodity Boom Helped Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Latin America

By Ravi Balakrishnan and Frederik Toscani

June 21, 2018 

Versions in Español, Português

People buying produce in a busy market in Bahia, Brazil. During the commodity boom, Brazil saw significant reductions in poverty and inequality (photo: golero/iStock by Getty Images)

Latin America may be the most unequal region in the world, but it is the only region to significantly lower inequality over the past two decades, and the boom in commodity prices helped make it happen.  Continue reading “How the Commodity Boom Helped Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Latin America” »

5 Things You Need to Know About the IMF and Climate Change

By Ian Parry

June 8, 2018

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A polar bear on shrinking ice in the Arctic: climate change means the world is getting hotter (photo: Sven-Erik Arndt/Newscom)

The world is getting hotter, resulting in rising sea levels, more extreme weather like hurricanes, droughts, and floods, as well as other risks to the global climate like the irreversible collapsing of ice sheets.  Continue reading “5 Things You Need to Know About the IMF and Climate Change” »

Chart of the Week: Distribution of Globalization’s Gains

By IMFBlog

May 31, 2018

A garment factory in Ethiopia, which globalization has helped to boost its growth (photo: Kay Neitfeld/Newscom).

While globalization is generally good for economic growth, the benefits are subject to diminishing marginal returns, according to a recent study of 147 countries from 1970 to 2014. The study looks at how globalization affects the distribution of incomes across and within countries.   Continue reading “Chart of the Week: Distribution of Globalization’s Gains” »

Our Digital Future

By Camilla Lund Andersen

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. Continue reading “Our Digital Future” »

Chart of the Week: Greenery and Prosperity

By João Tovar Jalles and Prakash Loungani

May 21, 2018

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Brandenburg, Germany: in three advanced economies—Germany, the United Kingdom, and France—emissions have fallen despite the increase in incomes (photo: Caro / Kaiser/Newscom).

Economic growth has traditionally moved in tandem with pollution. But can countries break this link and manage to grow while lowering pollution?

Continue reading “Chart of the Week: Greenery and Prosperity” »

Bringing Down High Debt

By Vitor Gaspar and Laura Jaramillo

April 18, 2018

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

High debt makes governments’ financing vulnerable to sudden changes in market sentiment (photo: NYSE-LUCAS JACKSON-REUTERS Newscom).

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.

Continue reading “Bringing Down High Debt” »

A Bumpy Road Ahead for the Global Financial System

By Tobias Adrian

April 18, 2018

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

An unexpected increase in inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve and other central banks to raise interest rates faster than currently anticipated, roiling financial markets (photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom).

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. Continue reading “A Bumpy Road Ahead for the Global Financial System” »

Global Economy: Good News for Now but Trade Tensions a Threat

By Maurice Obstfeld

April 17, 2018

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

Container ship in Colombo, Sri Lanka: the recent escalating tensions over trade present a growing risk to the global economy (photo: STRINGER/REUTERS/Newscom).

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. Continue reading “Global Economy: Good News for Now but Trade Tensions a Threat” »

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