September 11, 2018
The tenth anniversary of the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers and the global crisis that followed is a sober reminder of what has changed, and what has not, in the world of economics and finance. […]
May 3, 2018
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. […]
The outlook for further interest-rate increases by the US Federal Reserve revives interest in a compelling question: In an increasingly integrated global financial system, how much control do countries outside of the US retain over their economic policies?
The rapid increase in Latin American corporate debt—fueled by an abundance of cheap foreign money during the past decade—has contributed to an increase in corporate risk. Total debt of nonfinancial firms in Latin America increased from US$170 billion in 2010 to US$383 billion in 2015. With potential growth across countries in the region slowing, in line with the end of the commodity supercycle, it will now be more difficult for firms to operate under increased debt burdens and reduced safety margins.
In this environment, Latin American firms are walking a tightrope. With external financial conditions tightening, the walk towards the other side—notably through adjustment and deleveraging—while necessary, has become riskier. After making good progress, the crossing has also become more perilous due to strong headwinds—including slower global demand and bouts of heightened market volatility.
It’s been a rough start to 2016, as seen by the recent bouts of financial volatility, stemming from uncertainties related to the slowdown in China, lower commodity prices, and divergent monetary policy in advanced economies.
The global recovery continues to struggle to gain its footing, with strains in some large emerging market economies weighing on growth prospects. For Latin America and the Caribbean, growth in 2016 is now expected to be negative for the second consecutive year—the first time since the debt crisis of 1982–83, which triggered the “lost decade” for the region (see table). […]
By Vitor Gaspar
Does fiscal policy respond systematically to economic activity? Can fiscal policy promote macroeconomic stability? Does greater stability support stronger growth? The answer is yes on all counts. This finding, while seemingly obvious, is now backed by numbers to match each question. The April 2015 Fiscal Monitor explores how.