The Wealth of Nations: Governments Can Better Manage What They Own and Owe

By Vitor Gaspar, Jason Harris, and Alexander Tieman

October 10, 2018

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A firefighter in Auckland, New Zealand: when governments know what they own they can put their assets to better use and can earn about 3 percent of GDP more in revenues to spend on citizens’ well being (Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Newscom)

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. Continue reading “The Wealth of Nations: Governments Can Better Manage What They Own and Owe” »

The Financial System Is Stronger, but New Vulnerabilities Have Emerged in the Decade Since the Crisis

By Tobias Adrian

October 10, 2018

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Debt owed by governments, companies and households in economies with globally systemically important financial sectors has risen since the global financial crisis (Photo: Richard B. Levine/Newscom)

Although the global expansion has plateaued, easy monetary policies continue to support growth. But we shouldn’t rest too easily. Chapter 1 of the latest Global Financial Stability Report finds that short-term risks to the financial system have increased somewhat over the past six months. Continue reading “The Financial System Is Stronger, but New Vulnerabilities Have Emerged in the Decade Since the Crisis” »

A Decade After Lehman, the Financial System Is Safer. Now We Must Avoid Reform Fatigue

By Adolfo Barajas, Claudio Raddatz, and James P. Walsh

October 3, 2018

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A ticker in New York’s Times Square flashes the news of the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008: In the decade since, the financial sector has  strengthened considerably, but the reform agenda remains incomplete (Photo: Joshua Lott/Reuters/Newscom)

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. Continue reading “A Decade After Lehman, the Financial System Is Safer. Now We Must Avoid Reform Fatigue” »

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” »

Malta’s Good Bet

By IMFBlog

May 7, 2018

Marsaxlokk Harbor, Malta. Not only tourist paradise: the country’s economy makes profits on the betting and gambling industry (photo: iStockPhoto/Andrey Danilovich).

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. Continue reading “Malta’s Good Bet” »

A Framework for Currency Unions and IMF Lending

By Sean Hagan and Hugh Bredenkamp

March 16, 2018

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

New guidance approved by the IMF represents an important step in how the Fund supports members of currency unions undertaking adjustment (photo: IMF).

Countries benefit in various ways from belonging to a currency union—a group of countries that share a single currency. Businesses can trade and invest across borders more easily. Member countries gain access to larger markets without facing currency risk. And in some circumstances, currency unions can help support their members when they are hit by external shocks. Continue reading “A Framework for Currency Unions and IMF Lending” »

Fintech Quiz: How Much Do You Know?

By IMFBlog

March 12, 2018

Rapid advances in digital technology are transforming the financial services landscape (iStock by Getty Images).

From artificial intelligence to cryptography, rapid advances in digital technology are transforming the financial services landscape, creating opportunities and challenges for consumers, service providers, and regulators alike. This new wave of technology is often called “fintech” and the industry is thriving. Consumers worldwide are using two or more fintech services, sometimes without knowing they are using fintech services. Continue reading “Fintech Quiz: How Much Do You Know?” »

The Euro Area Needs a Fiscal Union

By Helge Berger, Giovanni Dell’Ariccia, and Maurice Obstfeld

February 21, 2018

Version in Français (French) 

Without more tangible elements of a fiscal union, the euro area will remain fundamentally vulnerable to shocks. (photo: iStock by GettyImages) .

The euro area is experiencing a robust recovery, but the architecture supporting Europe’s currency union remains incomplete and leaves the region vulnerable to future financial crises.

While substantial progress has been made to address some architectural issues—conditional lending facilities and key elements of a banking union—we argue in our recent paper that the euro area needs to build elements of a common fiscal policy, including more fiscal risk sharing, to preserve financial and economic integration and stability. Without some degree of fiscal union, the region will continue to face existential risks that policymakers should not ignore. While this is not a new topic, the current favorable economic climate might be the moment to advance the discussion—and the chance to strengthen the euro area. Continue reading “The Euro Area Needs a Fiscal Union” »

The Current Economic Sweet Spot Is Not the “New Normal”

By Maurice Obstfeld

January 22, 2018

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

Global growth continues to pick up and is broad based. But no matter how tempting it is to sit back and enjoy the sunshine, policy can and should move to strengthen the recovery (photo: Mumbai, India, Ingram Publishing/Newscom).

As the year 2018 begins, the world economy is gathering speed. The new World Economic Outlook Update revises our forecast for the world economy’s growth in both 2018 and 2019 to 3.9 percent. For both years, that is 0.2 percentage points higher than last October’s forecast, and 0.2 percentage points higher than our current estimate of last year’s global growth. Continue reading “The Current Economic Sweet Spot Is Not the “New Normal”” »

Top Ten Charts of the Week: 2017

By IMFBlog

January 3, 2018

The top 10 charts of the week of 2017 help illuminate the uncharted waters ahead for the global economy  (photo: Kotka, Finland-Newspix24/SipaUS/Newscom).

In the Spring of 2017, we began our Chart of the Week feature on the blog: snapshots in time and over time of how economies work, to help illuminate the uncharted waters ahead for the global economy.

Here are the top ten Charts of the Week of 2017, based on your readership. Continue reading “Top Ten Charts of the Week: 2017” »

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