South Africa’s Lesetja Kganyago: Fintech Is a Central Banker’s Friend

By IMFBlog

January 26, 2018 

Lesetja Kganyago, South Africa’s Central Bank Governor and Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (photo: IMF staff).

While central bankers are often seen as somewhat traditionalist, South Africa’s Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is breaking that mold. Kganyago sees how new technology—or fintech—is transforming the financial sector, and in this podcast, he says there is no turning back. Continue reading “South Africa’s Lesetja Kganyago: Fintech Is a Central Banker’s Friend” »

A Dream Deferred: Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in Europe

By Christine Lagarde

January 24, 2018

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

A young apprentice learns a trade in Palmela, Portugal: the right policies can help reduce inequality and poverty across generations in Europe (photo: Tim Brakemeier/DPA/Newscom).

The poet Langston Hughes once asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” It is a relevant question to millions around the world today, especially young people, because of inequality and poverty.

This week IMF staff are launching new, European Union-focused research highlighting the impact of unemployment and the long-term consequences of inadequate social protection on the young. The study also explores ideas that can help fix the problem and reduce inequality and poverty for the next generation. Continue reading “A Dream Deferred: Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in Europe” »

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”” »

Weak Productivity: The Role of Financial Factors and Policies

By Romain Duval, Giuseppe Nicoletti, and Fabrizio Zampolli

January 8, 2018

Auto worker in Mexico: weak productivity has been a problem even before the global financial crisis (photo: Henry Romero/Newscom).

Almost ten years after the onset of the global financial crisis productivity growth remains anaemic in advanced economies despite very easy monetary conditions, casting doubts on the sustainability of the cyclical recovery. The productivity slowdown started well before the crisis, which then amplified the problem. To what extent can this slowdown be ascribed to policies and financial factors, including loose monetary policy prior to 2008, corporate and bank balance sheet vulnerabilities, and the exceptional monetary and financial policy responses to the crisis? Continue reading “Weak Productivity: The Role of Financial Factors and Policies” »

Gamechanger: The Digital Payment Boom in India

By IMFBlog

January 5, 2018

Madhur Deora, CFO of PayTM: Mobile payment platforms in India are providing small loans to people who’ve never had access to credit (IMF photo).

What does a shoe shiner in India have in common with central bankers and finance ministers? They both can appreciate the digital-payment boom. It’s sweeping the world but has accelerated in India, where last November the government demonetized—declaring that 86 percent of the country’s currency in circulation would cease to be legal tender. Continue reading “Gamechanger: The Digital Payment Boom in India” »

Top Ten Blogs of 2017

By IMFBlog

December 28, 2017

Read the top ten blogs of 2017 (photo: Times Square- New York-Pacific Press/SipaUSA/Newscom)

We have all had quite the year. Our readers' interests in 2017 focused on topics that affect how people live their lives: why wages are low, rising income and wealth inequality, household debt, climate change, and the scourge of corruption, to name a few.

As we wrap up the highs and lows of 2017 and get ready for whatever 2018 has in store, here is the list of the top ten blogs of the year based on readership. From all the elves editors at IMFBlog, we wish you a year of peace and interesting reads.

Continue reading “Top Ten Blogs of 2017” »

Fed Tightening May Squeeze Portfolio Flows to Emerging Markets

By Robin Koepke

December 14, 2017

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

Derivatives traders in Singapore: Tighter Federal Reserve monetary policy is likely to reduce overseas purchases of emerging market stocks and bonds (photo: Caro/Rupert Oberhaeuser/Newscom)

A key question facing global investors today is what impact the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy normalization process will have on capital flows to emerging markets. The IMF’s new model estimates show that normalization—raising the policy interest rate and shrinking the balance sheet—will likely reduce portfolio inflows by about $70 billion over the next two years, which compares with average annual inflows of $240 billion since 2010. Continue reading “Fed Tightening May Squeeze Portfolio Flows to Emerging Markets” »

Corruption Disruption

By Christine Lagarde

December 8, 2017

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

Corruption can have devastating effects on economic growth and stability (photo: Patric Sandri IKON Images/Newscom)

Why does the IMF care so deeply about corruption? The reason is simple. The job of the IMF is to protect global economic stability and promote strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive economic growth. And this becomes difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the presence of entrenched and institutionalized corruption. Continue reading “Corruption Disruption” »

Improving Financial Stability in China

By Ratna Sahay and James P. Walsh

December 6, 2017

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

A man walks past a bank branch in Beijing: China’s leaders have made financial stability one of their top priorities (photo: Stephen Shaver/UPI/Newscom).

China’s leaders have made financial stability one of their top priorities. Given the size and importance of the Chinese market, with the world’s largest banks and second-largest stock market, that is welcome news for China and the world. The financial system permeates virtually all aspects of economic activity, having played a key role in facilitating rapid economic growth and in sharply reducing poverty rates.

China is moving from the world’s factory floor toward  a more modern, consumer-driven economy. During this transition, however, some tensions have emerged in the financial sector. Continue reading “Improving Financial Stability in China” »

Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence

By Maurice Obstfeld

November 8, 2017

(photo: AlexLMX and David Hunt/iStock)

The 18th Annual Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference last week opened with Managing Director Christine Lagarde noting the ebb and flow of capital movements into emerging market and developing economies since the turn of the millennium. She asked three questions at the heart of the discussion, and to which speakers returned consistently during the conference: Continue reading “Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence” »

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