iMFdirect–Must Reads on Global Finance and Budgets

The iMF Direct Blog has picked our list of must read posts covering the highs and lows of global finance and government budgets and spending.

Weekend in Washington: Cooperating Our Way Out of Crisis

This past weekend in Washington DC, as the economic leaders of 187 countries gathered for the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, the mood was tense. The world’s finance ministers and central bank governors were concerned because the global recovery is fragile. And, on top of the risks to the outlook, there is concern that the strong international cooperation that was shown during the crisis is in danger of receding. So, after the meetings, was the atmosphere less tense? Yes...and no. The world made some progress over the weekend. But we shouldn’t be too self-congratulatory. We are not yet out of the woods. The IMF’s analysis indicates that improved economic policy coordination, over the next five years, could increase global growth by 2.5 percent, create or save 30 million jobs, and lift 33 million more out of poverty. With such high potential returns, can we really afford each to go our own way?

The Two Rebalancing Acts

Achieving a “strong, balanced, and sustained world recovery”—to quote from the goal set in Pittsburgh by the G-20—was never going to be easy. It requires much more than just going back to business as usual. It requires two fundamental and complex economic rebalancing acts: internal and external rebalancing. These two rebalancing acts are taking place too slowly. As the latest World Economic Outlook reveals, the result is a recovery which is neither strong, nor balanced, and runs the risk of not being sustained.

Global Safety Nets: Crisis Prevention in an Age of Uncertainty

As the global economics crisis abates, there is an emerging consensus that a better global financial safety net is needed to enable countries with good policies to insure against bad outcomes, especially when they are innocent by-standers caught in a financial turmoil. Last week the IMF took another step toward meeting this need by further enhancing its country insurance facilities. Reza Moghadam, head of the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, has authored this blog to coincide with a series of speeches about the reforms, including a scheduled speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics next Monday. The blog outlines the two major changes: enhancements to our flagship insurance option—the Flexible Credit Line (FCL)—for countries with very strong policies and economic fundamentals; and the establishment of a new Precautionary Credit Line (PCL), which offers a new form of contingent protection for countries with some moderate vulnerabilities.

A Problem Shared Is a Problem Halved: The G-20’s “Mutual Assessment Process”

The Group of Twenty industrialized and emerging market economies (G-20) has broken new ground over the past year or two. It has embraced the type of collaborative approach to policy design and review that is well suited to today’s interdependent world, where policies in one country can often have far-reaching effects on others. In this spirit, the backbone of the G-20’s “Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth” is a multilateral process that includes a ‘mutual assessment’ of their progress toward meeting shared objectives. But, what exactly will this G-20 Mutual Assessment Process—or “MAP”—imply in terms of prospective actions? And what have we learned so far?

Listening to and Learning from Asia

In Daejeon, Korea earlier this week, a remarkable event took place that enabled the world to hear the voice of Asia and to learn how the region has been able to show such great resilience in the face of the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s. On July 12 and 13, more than 1,000 officials, economists, bankers, analysts, and media assembled for a conference titled Asia 21: Leading the Way Forward, hosted by the Korean government and the IMF. I personally learned a great deal about Asia’s growing stake in the global economy—and the global economy’s growing stake in Asia. As the world strives to leave the crisis behind, the economic center of gravity is shifting increasingly eastwards, and Asia’s role is more vital than ever before.

Turning up the Volume—Asia’s Voice and Leadership in Global Policymaking

Asia’s voice is getting louder and the IMF—and, indeed, the world—is listening. Blogging from the IMF and government of Korea-sponsored “Asia 21” conference in Daejeon, Korea, IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara reflects on the rise of Asia’s voice and leadership in global economic policymaking. The caliber of conference participants and the quality of dialogue speak volumes about the range and depth of expertise and experience in the region. The world needs Asian leadership, not only to sustain global growth, but also to develop policy mechanisms to contend with tomorrow’s economic challenges.

Asia and the IMF: A Closer Engagement

The Korean government and the IMF will jointly host a high-level international conference in Daejeon, Korea in just a few days time. In this blog, Anoop Singh outlines how the conference will be an important part of broader efforts by the Fund to enhance its strategic dialogue and partnership with Asia.

The Priority of Growth and Jobs—the IMF’s Dialogue with the Unions

A couple of weeks ago, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn attended the 2nd World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Vancouver. Reflecting on his meetings with the labor movement, he draws three main conclusions: (i) the IMF views its interaction with the labor movement as extremely valuable, and this had influenced our thinking; (ii) the labor movement has a major role to play in supporting continued economic cooperation across the world; and (iii) the IMF and labor movement share a number of important goals—standing against narrow domestic interests, nationalism, and war.

Fair and Substantial—Taxing the Financial Sector

Last week, the IMF gave an interim report to the G-20 finance ministers focused on the options in raising money from the financial sector to pay for the costs of government intervention from which it benefits. That report is confidential, but—you may have noticed—has still managed to attract a lot of attention. In this blog, I set set out how the IMF's thinking on this stands.

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