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iMFdirect
iMFdirect features views by IMF economists and officials about pressing issues in the global economy. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF and its Executive Board.

iMFdirect

Finding Solid Footing for the Global Economy

By Kristalina Georgieva As the Group of Twenty industrialized and emerging market economies (G-20) finance ministers and central bank governors gather in Riyadh this week, they face an uncertain economic landscape. After disappointing growth in 2019, we began to see signs of stabilization and risk reduction, including the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal. In January, the IMF projected growth to strengthen from 2.9 percent in 2019 to 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent in 2021. This projected...

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Fiscal Policies For Women’s Economic Empowerment

By Stefania Fabrizio, Daniel Gurara and Lisa Kolovich Making sure that opportunities to enter the workforce are fair and rewarding for women benefits everyone. Yet, the average female workforce participation rate across countries is still 20 percentage points lower than the male rate, largely because gender gaps in wages and access to opportunities, such as education, stubbornly persist. Our new study finds that fiscal policy choices that address gender equality—such as investing in...

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Construction Activity Can Signal When Credit Booms Go Wrong

By Deniz Igan Español, Português In Spain, private sector credit as a share of GDP almost doubled between 2000 and 2007. This increase was accompanied by a boom in housing prices—which doubled in real terms over the same period. The economy as a whole also grew at a record pace. But then in 2008, Spain’s credit bubble burst, and with it came loan defaults, bank failures, and a prolonged economic slowdown. A less-noticed development in Spain was in the construction sector, where employment...

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Public Opinion on Automation

By Carlos Mulas-Granados, Richard Varghese and Vizhdan Boranova Tired of reading articles about how a robot will take your job? We’ve all heard horror stories that foresee the devastating consequences that automation will have on people’s working lives—yet much less attention has been devoted to what workers actually think. Our chart of the week from our recent research does exactly that. It looks at how 11,000 workers across 11 advanced and emerging market economies perceive the main...

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Chart of the WeekSouth Africa: Bridging the Income Divide

By IMFBlog South Africa suffers among the highest levels of inequality in the world. As our Chart of the Week shows, the country’s wealth is concentrated in the upper levels of society. The top 20 percent of the population holds over 68 percent of income, while the poorest 40 percent possess only 7 percent of income. That inequality isn’t only seen in income distribution; it also manifests itself in unequal access to opportunities—education, health, and jobs—and regional disparities....

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Data PointsInterest Rate Controls, Capital Flow Restrictions, and Other Potentially Costly Financial Market Regulatory Tools

By Etibar Jafarov, Rodolfo Maino, and Marco Pani With the surge in public debt in the wake of the global financial crisis, financial repression—administrative restrictions on interest rates, credit allocation, capital movements, and other financial operations—has come back on the agenda. In our recent working paper, we argue that countries would be better-off without financial repression. 0.4–0.7% Amount by which financial repression in the form of interest rate restrictions could...

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Assessing Climate-Change Risk by Stress Testing for Financial Resilience

By Tobias Adrian, James Morsink, and Liliana Schumacher عربي, Español 日本語, Русский As society braces for the potential havoc a changing climate could induce, it’s vital to gauge the range of shocks that the economy may soon endure. One way to quantify the effects of the potentially systemic shocks that could ripple through the financial system is to administer “stress tests”—a well-designed analytical process that has, for decades, been used by the IMF, World Bank and financial supervisors...

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Chart of the WeekWaste Woes in the World

By IMFBlog Have you thought about how much garbage you generate every day? Economists have looked at the data and it turns out that higher-income countries like the United States, Denmark, and New Zealand generate at least twice as much waste per capita than developing countries. Our chart of the week from recent research shows which advanced economies generate just how much waste per person. Higher-income people not only consume more goods overall, but they also use up a higher...

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Countries in the IMF Financial Spotlight in 2020

By IMFBlog In 2020, the IMF plans to assess the stability of twelve financial systems. Seven assessments are of jurisdictions with systemically important financial sectors (Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Korea, Norway, and the United States), for which it is mandatory to undergo financial stability assessments every five years. The other five assessments are Algeria, Latvia, Philippines, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago, which are being done at the request of those countries...

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Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean: New Challenges to Growth

By Alejandro Werner Economic activity in Latin America and the Caribbean stagnated in 2019, continuing with the weak growth momentum of the previous five years and adding more urgency and new challenges to reignite growth. Indeed, real GDP per capita in the region has declined by 0.6 percent per year on average during 2014–2019—a sharp contrast from the commodity boom’s average increase of two percent per year during 2000–2013. This weak momentum reflects structural and cyclical factors....

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