August 30, 2017
European banking has made considerable progress in the past few years: Banks have built up capital, regulation is stronger and supervision has been enhanced. But profitability remains weak, posing risks for financial stability.
In a sample of more than 170 large European lenders with combined assets of $35 trillion, roughly half generated a weak return on equity in 2016, and banks representing only 15 percent of assets generated a healthy return on equity, defined as more than 10 percent. Weak profitability is also shown in a low return on assets for domestic banks in many European countries. The drivers of these weak returns reflect varying combinations of low income, high costs, or provisions needed to build buffers against non-performing assets.
August 24, 2017
Young adults in advanced economies must take steps to increase their retirement income security
Public pensions have played a crucial role in ensuring retirement income security over the past few decades. But for the millennial generation coming of working age now, the prospect is that public pensions won’t provide as large a safety net as they did to earlier generations. As a result, millennials should take steps to supplement their retirement income.
August 21, 2017
In some countries, owning a home is a rite of passage: a symbol of a stable life and a sound investment.
However young adults in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe have experienced declining home ownership rates. Continue reading “Chart of the Week: House of Cards” »
August 10, 2017
Japan’s population is shrinking and getting older, posing challenges to the nation’s financial system. How Japan copes could guide other advanced economies in Asia and Europe that are grappling with the same trends but are at an earlier phase of similar demographic developments.
By Poul Thomsen
July 27, 2017
In many ways, Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe is an incredible success story. In less than a generation, countries moved from centrally-planned economies to market-based ones—transforming their legal systems, public administrations, and economic policies, to name a few key elements. Yet, for the sake of higher growth in the future, countries need to continue enhancing institutions and good governance.
Enhancing institutions and good governance—the efficient governing of a country—remains at the core of the reform agenda to raise prosperity to advanced European living standards. Many countries have joined the European Union, a vital anchor toward these goals, and others are aspiring to join. Continue reading “Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe: Harnessing the Power of Good Governance” »
July 24, 2017
The recovery in global growth that we projected in April is on a firmer footing; there is now no question mark over the world economy’s gain in momentum.
As in our April forecast, the World Economic Outlook Update projects 3.5 percent growth in global output for this year and 3.6 percent for next.
The distribution of this growth around the world has changed, however: compared with last April’s projection, some economies are up but others are down, offsetting those improvements. Continue reading “A Firming Recovery” »
July 10, 2017
Think Londoners and New Yorkers have it bad when it comes to sky-high house prices? Residents of Oslo have reason to gripe, too.
House prices in the Norwegian capital are among the world’s highest, as measured by the average cost of a home relative to household median income. Prices in Oslo are perhaps the most visible symptom of a real estate boom across the oil-rich, Nordic nation of 5.2 million people.
June 30, 2017
Ireland’s economy continues to recover after a housing market crash in 2008 plunged the country into a deep and severe crisis. The strong social welfare system provided an important cushion against the worst effects of the crisis.
Ireland’s tax-benefit system is one of the most effective in the European Union in redistributing income. The tax system is relatively progressive and funds a robust system of social benefits, a significant share of which is means-tested. Income inequality before taxes and transfers in Ireland is high—37 percent of income is held by the top 10 percent of income earners. Social transfers make up about 70 percent of income for the bottom 20 percent of earners.
June 13, 2017
International financial flows have declined significantly after the crisis, and their composition has changed. As portfolio and other investment flows took a dip between 2007 and 2015, foreign direct investment (FDI) continued to surge. The increase is concentrated in financial centers, which now account for almost half of global FDI claims.