Risky Business: Reading Credit Flows for Crisis Signals

2019-03-14T12:50:45-04:00April 10, 2018|

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 […]

The Economic Scars of Crises and Recessions

2019-03-14T13:32:16-04:00March 21, 2018|

By Valerie Cerra and Sweta C. Saxena

March 21, 2018

Version in  日本語 (Japanese), Português  (Portuguese)

New study finds that all types of recessions lead to permanent losses in output and welfare (photo: Peshkov/iStock by GettyImages).

Economic recessions are typically described as short-term periods of negative economic growth. According to the traditional business cycle view, output moves up and down around its long-term upward trend and after a recession, it recovers to its pre-recession trend. Our new study casts doubt on this traditional view and shows that all types of recessions—including those arising from external shocks and small domestic macroeconomic policy mistakes—lead to permanent losses in output and welfare. […]

Improving Financial Stability in China

2019-03-15T13:16:49-04:00December 6, 2017|

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. […]

Fintech—A Brave New World for the Financial Sector?

2019-03-26T09:42:41-04:00March 21, 2017|

Lagarde.2015MDPORTRAIT4_114x128By Christine Lagarde

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

From smartphones to cloud computing, technology is rapidly changing virtually every facet of society, including communications, business and government. The financial world is no exception.

As a result, the financial world stands at a critical juncture. Yes, the widespread adoption of new technologies, such as blockchain-based systems, offers many potential benefits. But it also gives rise to new risks, including risks to financial stability. That causes challenges for financial regulators, a subject I addressed at the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai.

[…]

‘Soft’ Infrastructure Is Crucial for Stable and Balanced Growth in China

2019-03-26T11:48:38-04:00March 2, 2017|

By iMFdirect

Version in 中文 (Chinese)

An important attribute of China’s remarkable record of economic growth has been the creation of an astonishing network of “hard” infrastructure, like roads, power stations, and communication networks. Now, China needs to move toward a new stage of reforms designed to help rebalance its economy. The stakes for global prosperity are high—China is the second largest economy and contributes one-third of the world’s growth.  […]

Flash Crashes and Swiss Francs: Market Liquidity Takes a Holiday

2019-03-27T17:05:44-04:00May 20, 2015|

GFSR

By José Viñals

Financial market liquidity can be fleeting. The ability to trade in assets of any size, at any time and to find a ready buyer is not a given.  As discussed in some detail last fall in this blog, a number of factors, including the evolving structure of financial markets and some regulations appear to have pushed liquidity into a new realm: markets look susceptible to episodes of high price volatility where liquidity suddenly vanishes.

In our April 2015 Global Financial Stability Report we identify a new aspect to the problem:  asset price correlations have risen sharply in the last five years across all major asset classes (see figure). […]

Ten Take Aways from the "Rethinking Macro Policy: Progress or Confusion?"

2019-03-27T17:34:46-04:00May 1, 2015|

blanchBy Olivier Blanchard

On April 15-16, the IMF organized the third conference on “Rethinking Macro Policy.

Here are my personal take aways.

1. What will be the “new normal”?  

I had asked the panelists to concentrate not on current policy challenges, but on challenges in the “new normal.” I had implicitly assumed that this new normal would be very much like the old normal, one of decent growth and positive equilibrium interest rates. The assumption was challenged at the conference.

On the one hand, Ken Rogoff argued that what we were in the adjustment phase of the “debt supercycle.” Such financial cycles, he argued, end up with debt overhang, which in turn slows down the recovery and requires low interest rates for some time to maintain sufficient demand.  Under that view, while it may take a while for the overhang to go away, more so in the Euro zone than in the United States, we should eventually return to something like the old normal.

[…]

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