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” »

Ten Years After Lehman—Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead

By Christine Lagarde

September 5, 2018

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A trader on the New York Stock Exchange the day US investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy: the global crisis that followed is a defining moment of our time (Photo: Nancy-Kaszerman/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

The global financial crisis remains one of the defining events of our time. It will forever mark the generation that lived through it. Continue reading “Ten Years After Lehman—Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead” »

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” »

Volatility Strikes Back

By Sergei Antoshin, Fabio Cortes, Will Kerry and Thomas Piontek

May 3, 2018 

Investors who bet on continued low volatility suffered steep losses (photo: Richard B. Levine/Newscom).

The bouts of volatility in early February and late March that spooked investors were confined to equity markets. Nevertheless, they illustrate the potential for sudden market moves to expose fragilities in the financial system more broadly.

With central banks in advanced economies set to normalize their monetary policies just as trade and geopolitical tensions flare up, economic and policy uncertainty may rise and financial conditions may tighten abruptly. Continue reading “Volatility Strikes Back” »

Shining a Bright Light into the Dark Corners of Weak Governance and Corruption

By Christine Lagarde

April 22, 2018

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

Anti-corruption strategies require broader regulatory and institutional reforms (photo: Kritchanut/iStock).

The IMF Executive Board has just endorsed a new framework for stepping up engagement on governance and corruption in our member countries. Let me talk about why this is important and what it means for our work.

Continue reading “Shining a Bright Light into the Dark Corners of Weak Governance and Corruption” »

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” »

The Digital Gamble: New Technology Transforms Fiscal Policy

By Vitor Gaspar and Geneviève Verdier

April 12, 2018

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

Traffic in Singapore: the city uses digital technology for road pricing to manage road congestion congestion (photo: Kua Chee Siong/ SPH/Newscom)..

In Rwanda, digitally-monitored drones deliver blood supplies to hospitals. In Estonia, it takes five minutes to file taxes and 99 percent of government services are available online. Singapore was the first city to implement electronic road pricing to manage congestion. The world is becoming digital, and reliable, timely, and accurate information is available at the push of a button. Governments are following suit, using digital tools for tax and expenditure policy, public financial management, and public service delivery.  Continue reading “The Digital Gamble: New Technology Transforms Fiscal Policy” »

Risky Business: Reading Credit Flows for Crisis Signals

By Claudio Raddatz Kiefer and Jérôme Vandenbussche 

April 10, 2018

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

The odds of a severe economic downturn are higher when a growing portion of credit flows to riskier firms, according to a new IMF study (Photo: Pali 137/ iStock by Getty Images).

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. Continue reading “Risky Business: Reading Credit Flows for Crisis Signals” »

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