Continuing my travels through Asia for the launch of our latest Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific, I am writing to you today from Singapore. Last week, I wrote about the near-term outlook for Asia. Today, I turn to the key medium-term challenge—an issue emphasized by G-20 ministers over the weekend—the need to rebalance economic growth. For much of Asia, this means shifting away from heavy reliance on exports by strengthening domestic sources of growth. While much of the discussion on this issue has focused on ways to increase consumption, the role of investment is equally important and should not be overlooked.
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 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?
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.
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.
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 International Monetary Fund remains cautiously optimistic about the pace of recovery, but there are clear dangers and policy challenges ahead. IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard says how Europe deals with fiscal and financial problems, how advanced countries proceed with fiscal consolidation, and how emerging countries rebalance their economies, will determine the outcome.
Following the G-20’s renewed commitment in Toronto to a comprehensive reform agenda, policymakers must seize the moment to follow through with an ambitious set of plans to reform the global financial system. The IMF’s Financial Counsellor, José Viñals, says action must be taken soon in five key areas: (1) the micro -prudential and macro-prudential dimensions of financial reform, (2) regulation of nonbank financial institutions, (3) core rules governing capital and liquidity levels, (4) consistency of national and international regulations, and (5) reform of supervision.
We offer ten commandments so that fiscal strategies can be designed to make them consistent with both short-term and long-term growth requirements. Put simply, what advanced countries need is clarity of intent, an appropriate calibration of fiscal targets, and adequate structural reforms. With a little help from monetary policy, and from their (emerging market) friends.
In our highly globalized economy, large and rapid flows of money across borders are here to stay. The challenge for emerging economies is to find ways to manage these flows so that they don’t exacerbate boom-bust cycles, while still leaving the door open to productive (and hopefully stable) investment. This means using all available tools, particularly greater use of prudential regulations, and keeping an open mind when it comes to capital controls.