Tax officials and experts grappled with the issue of tax treaties several weeks ago at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings. This arcane subject has now emerged as a new lightning rod in the debate on fairness in international taxation. As citizens demand that corporations pay their fair share of taxes and some governments struggle to raise enough revenues for basic services, tax treaties present difficult issues.
The IMF's latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows growth at its lowest level in more than 20 years. In this podcast, the African Department’s new Director, Abebe Aemro Selassie, says it’s a mixed story of struggling oil-exporters and strong performers.
Version in Español (Spanish)
Borrowing and saving in foreign currencies—so-called dollarization—seem like a rational response by citizens in some emerging market economies to financial crises and runaway inflation. But dollarization usually persists many years after the problems that triggered it are alleviated and limits the effect that central banks can have on economic activity and inflation. Continue reading “Enhancing Monetary Policy Flexibility Through `De-dollarization’” »
Version in 中文 (Chinese)
The word “rebalancing” is often used to describe China’s economic transition. But what does it mean? And how much is China rebalancing? A recent IMF paper attempts to answer these questions. Continue reading “China’s Rebalancing Explained in 6 Charts” »
Small businesses could be the lifeblood of Europe’s economy, but their size and high debt are two of the factors holding back the investment recovery in the euro area. The solution partly lies in policies to help firms grow and reduce debt.
Our new study, part of the IMF’s annual economic health check of the euro area, takes a novel bottom-up look at the problem. We analyze the drivers of investment using a large dataset of over six million observations in eight euro area countries, from 2003 to 2013: Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Finland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Continue reading “Sluggish Business Investment in the Euro Area: The Roles of Small and Medium Enterprises and Debt” »
The United Kingdom’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union adds downward pressure to the world economy at a time when growth has been slow amid an array of remaining downside risks. The first half of 2016 revealed some promising signs—for example, stronger than expected growth in the euro area and Japan, as well as a partial recovery in commodity prices that helped several emerging and developing economies. As of June 22, we were therefore prepared to upgrade our 2016-17 global growth projections slightly. But Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works.
There are many reasons why deeper financial development—the increase in deposits and loans but also their accessibility and improved financial sector efficiency—is good for sustainable growth in sub-Saharan Africa. For one, it helps mobilize savings and to direct funds into productive uses, for example by providing the start-up capital for the next innovative enterprise. This in turn facilitates a more efficient allocation of resources and increases overall productivity.
A suitcase filled with multiple passports? That’s not just the stuff of spy movies anymore. Increasingly, a growing number of high-net worth individuals are looking to have a passport portfolio. This has led to a proliferation of so-called citizenship-by-investment or economic citizenship programs that allow individuals from all over the world to legitimately acquire passports.
When global banks decide to withdraw from some countries and no longer do business with banks there, the global effect so far has been a gentle ripple, but if unaddressed, it may become more like a tsunami for the countries they leave.
Asia continues to be the world’s growth leader, but the gains from growth are less widely shared than before. Until about 1990, Asia grew rapidly and secured large gains in poverty reduction while simultaneously achieving a fairly equitable society. Since the early 1990s, however, the region has witnessed widening income inequality that has accompanied its robust expansion—a break from its own remarkable past.
This matters because elevated levels of inequality are harmful for the pace and sustainability of growth. What can be done? Our research finds that policies could substantially reverse the trend of rising inequality. In particular, given limited social safety nets, well-designed fiscal policies may be able to alleviate inequality without stifling the region’s wealth-creating growth.