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Natural Gas: The New Gold

By | October 22nd, 2014|Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Politics, Uncategorized|

Rabah ArezkiBy Rabah Arezki

(version in Español)

Natural gas is creating a new reality for economies around the world.  Three major developments of the past few years have thrust natural gas into the spotlight: the shale gas revolution in the United States, the reduction in nuclear power supply following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, and geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

What’s cooking

Over the last decade, the discovery of massive quantities of unconventional gas resources around the world has transformed global energy markets, and reshaped the geography of global energy trade (see map). Consumption of natural gas now accounts for nearly 25 percent of global primary energy consumption. Meanwhile, the share of oil has declined from 50 percent in 1970 to about 30 percent today.

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Legacies, Clouds and Uncertainties

By | October 7th, 2014|Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Reform, Uncategorized|

WEOBy Olivier Blanchard

(Versions in Françaisespañol, 中文Русский日本語)

The recovery continues, but it is weak and uneven.

You have now seen the basic numbers from our latest projections in the October 2014 World Economic Outlook released today.  We forecast world growth to be 3.3% in 2014, down 0.1% from our July forecast, and 3.8% in 2015, down 0.2% from our July forecast.

This number hides however very different evolutions.  Some countries have recovered or nearly recovered.  But others are still struggling.

Looking around the world, economies are subject to two main forces.  One from the past:  Countries have to deal with the legacies of the financial crisis, ranging from debt overhangs to high unemployment.  One from the future, or more accurately, the anticipated future:   Potential growth rates are being revised down, and these worse prospects are in turn affecting confidence, demand, and growth today.

Because these two forces play in different countries to different degrees, economic evolutions are becoming more differentiated.  With this in mind, let me take you on the usual quick tour of the world:

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Europe’s Russian Connections

By | August 1st, 2014|Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform, Uncategorized, Русский|

By Aasim M. Husain, Anna Ilyina and Li Zeng

(Version in Русский)

The conflict in Ukraine and the related imposition of sanctions against Russia signal an escalation of geopolitical tensions that is already being felt in the Russian financial markets (Chart 1). A deterioration in the conflict, with or even without a further escalation of sanctions and counter-sanctions, could have a substantial adverse impact on the Russian economy through direct and indirect (confidence) channels.

Chart 1

CESEE-Blog_7-30-14_final.001

What would be the repercussions for the rest of Europe if there were to be disruptions in trade or financial flows with Russia, or if economic growth in Russia were to take a sharp downturn? To understand which countries in Europe might be most affected, we looked at the broad channels by which they are connected to Russia—their trade, energy, investment, and financial ties. See also separate blog on Russia-Caucasus and Central Asia links.

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Links and Levers: How the Caucasus and Central Asia Are Tied to Russia

By | August 1st, 2014|Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Europe, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Uncategorized, Русский|

Alberto BeharBy Alberto Behar

(Version in Русский)

The countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) are closely linked with Russia through trade, financial, and labor market channels. These ties have served the region well in recent years, helping it make significant economic gains when times were good. But how is the region affected when Russia’s economy slows down?

Underlying structural weaknesses have reduced Russia’s growth prospects for this year and over the medium term. Tensions emanating from developments in eastern Ukraine—including an escalation of fighting, the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and new sanctions—have led to renewed market turbulence in Russian markets.

Experience has shown that lower growth in a large country can inflict significant collateral damage on neighboring countries with strong linkages of the type that the CCA has with Russia. (See also separate blog on Russia-Europe links.) We took a closer look at these connections to see how they transmit shocks, with particular attention to the impact on the region’s two main categories of economies—hydrocarbon importers and hydrocarbon exporters (see map).

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Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe: Safeguarding the Recovery as the Global Liquidity Tide Recedes

By | April 29th, 2014|Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Uncategorized|

By Reza Moghadam, Aasim M. Husain, and Anna Ilyina

(Version in Türk)

Growth is gathering momentum in most of Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe (CESEE) in the wake of the recovery in the euro area. Excluding the largest economies—Russia and Turkey—the IMF’s latest Regional Economic Issues report  projects the region to grow 2.3 percent in 2014, almost twice last year’s pace. This is certainly good news.

Figure 1

Continue reading “Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe: Safeguarding the Recovery as the Global Liquidity Tide Recedes” »

Europe’s Economic Outlook

By | April 11th, 2014|Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Uncategorized|

moghadamsmallBy Reza Moghadam

Economic growth across Europe is slowly picking up, which is good news. But the recovery is still modest and measures to boost economic growth and create jobs are important.

Western Europe: picking up the pace

The recovery projected last October for the euro area has solidified. This is reflected in our revised forecasts—e.g., the 2014 forecast for the euro area is up from 1 percent last October to 1.2 percent now, with important upgrades in countries like Spain. These revisions reflect the stronger data flow on the back of past policy actions, the revival of investor confidence, and the waning drag from fiscal consolidation. The positive impact on program countries is palpable—improving economies, lower spreads, and evidence of market access. We’ve also seen a welcome pick-up in growth in the UK (almost 3 percent is expected for 2014).

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Global Financial Stability: Beginning To Turn The Corner

By | April 9th, 2014|Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, growth, International Monetary Fund, Uncategorized|

GFSRBy José Viñals (Version in  EspañolFrançaisРусский中文 and 日本語)   Global financial stability is improving—we have begun to turn the corner. But it is too early to declare victory as there is a need to move beyond liquidity dependence—the central theme of our report—to overcome the remaining challenges to global stability. Progress We have made substantial strides over the past few years, and this is now paying dividends.  As Olivier Blanchard discussed at yesterday’s press conference of the World Economic Outlook, the U.S. economy is gaining strength, setting the stage for the normalization of monetary policy. In Europe, better policies have led to substantial improvements in market confidence in both sovereigns and banks. In Japan, Abenomics has made a good start as deflationary pressures are abating and confidence for the future is rising. And emerging market economies, having gone through several recent bouts of turmoil, are adjusting policies in the right direction. Continue reading “Global Financial Stability: Beginning To Turn The Corner” »

Growing Institutions? Grow the People!

By | August 10th, 2012|Advanced Economies, Africa, Asia, Civil Society, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, Global Governance, Globalization, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, LICs, Low-income countries, Middle East, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics|

The current crisis in the eurozone also highlights the importance of coherent economic and political institutions at all levels of economic development. Weaknesses in national macroeconomic and statistical institutions in supposedly “advanced” countries were at the root of the crisis, especially in Greece. And the lack of supportive fiscal and regulatory institutions at the European level—which require making additional steps in political integration—is behind the markets’ continued anxiety surrounding the common European currency.

Convergence, Crisis, and Capacity Building in Emerging Europe

By | July 27th, 2012|Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation|

Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe has been through a lot. In two short decades, the region moved from a communist planned system to a market economy, and living standards have converged towards those in the West. It has also weathered major crises: first the break-up of the old Soviet system in the early 1990s, then the Russian financial crisis in 1998, and finally the recent global economic crisis. How did these countries do it? From the Baltic to the Balkans, the region’s resilience and flexibility are the result of hard work and adaptability. But more than anything, it is the strong institutions built over the last two decades that have enhanced the region’s ability to deal with the momentous challenges of the past, the present—and those to come.

Lost & Found in Eastern Europe: Replacing Funding by Western Europe’s Banks

By | June 13th, 2012|Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund|

There is little doubt the era of generous funding from Western Europe's banks to their subsidiaries in the East is over, but this doens't have to translate into a reduction of bank credit in the emerging economies of Europe. The IMF's latest analysis shows an increase in local deposits in most countries of the region has offset the withdrawal of funding from Western Europe.

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