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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

Financing for Sustainable Development: Tackling Big Challenges

By Chris Lane Français (French) Without adequate financing, the best intentions of the global community expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will remain beyond reach. Recent setbacks in financing for development should therefore focus policymakers’ attention on the need for decisive national strategies so these best intentions might be realized. Harnessing the necessary resources could be achieved through a combination of revenue mobilization, attracting private finance,...

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The IMF 30 Years After Brady

By Rhoda Weeks-Brown and Martin Mühleisen Last month marked the 30th anniversary of the announcement of the “Brady plan”. In response to the 1980s Latin American debt crisis, this plan, named after then US Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, allowed countries to exchange their commercial bank loans for bonds backed by US Treasuries, bringing an end to a tumultuous period with possible systemic consequences for the global banking system at the time. In what was then a novel approach, banks...

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High Debt Hampers Countries’ Response to a Fast-Changing Global Economy

By Vitor Gaspar, John Ralyea, and Elif Ture عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский Economic growth is slowing and public debt remains high across the world. Meanwhile, demographic changes and technological advances are reshaping the global economy. Everyone’s opportunities for a good education, along with their job prospects, healthcare, and retirement income depend on the tax and spending choices governments make as they respond to these challenges. What should policymakers...

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Weak Spots in Global Financial System Could Amplify Shocks

By Tobias Adrian and Fabio Natalucci عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский In the United States, the ratio of corporate debt to GDP is at record-high levels. In several European countries, banks are overloaded with government bonds. In China, bank profitability is declining, and capital levels remain low at small and medium-size lenders. Vulnerabilities like these are on the rise across advanced and emerging market economies, according to the IMF’s latest Global Financial...

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The Global Economy: A Delicate Moment

By Gita Gopinath عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский A year ago, economic activity was accelerating in almost all regions of the world. One year later, much has changed. The escalation of US–China trade tensions, needed credit tightening in China, macroeconomic stress in Argentina and Turkey, disruptions to the auto sector in Germany, and financial tightening alongside the normalization of monetary policy in the larger advanced economies have all contributed to a...

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Tackling Corruption in Government

By Vitor Gaspar, Paolo Mauro and Paulo Medas عربي, Español, Français, Português, Русский No country is immune to corruption. The abuse of public office for private gain erodes people’s trust in government and institutions, makes public policies less effective and fair, and siphons taxpayers’ money away from schools, roads, and hospitals. While the wasted money is important, the cost is about much more. Corruption corrodes the government’s ability to help grow the economy in a way that...

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Assessing the Risk of the Next Housing Bust

By Claudio Raddatz and Nico Valckx عربي, 中文, Español, Français, Русский There’s good news for people living in Las Vegas, Miami and Phoenix: the risk of a housing bust like the one they endured during the global financial crisis is fairly small. For folks in Toronto and Vancouver, however, the picture hasn’t improved since 2008, and the risk of a large decline in house prices remains elevated. Those are among the insights generated by the IMF’s new tool for assessing the danger of a severe...

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How to Keep Corporate Power in Check

By Federico Díez and Romain Duval عربي, 中文, Español,  Français, 日本語, Português, Русский People are becoming concerned that the rising power of big successful companies may be behind some of the recent sluggish economic growth and rising income inequality. Are these concerns justified? Our research in Chapter 2 of the April World Economic Outlook looks at this question using data for nearly 1 million companies from 27 advanced and emerging market economies since the early 2000s. We find...

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Why Investment May Come Under Threat

By Weicheng Lian, Natalija Novta, and Petia Topalova عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский It might be hard to imagine a time when a 512 kilobyte computer cost more than $28,000. That was in 1984. Today, you can buy a much more powerful computer for under $300. Prices of machinery and equipment have been falling relative to overall prices for decades, thanks to rising trade and sweeping technological improvements that led to more efficient production of capital goods. This...

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Economic Forces, Not Tariffs, Drive Changes in Trade Balances

By Johannes Eugster, Florence Jaumotte, Margaux MacDonald, and Roberto Piazza عربي, 中文, Español, 日本語, Português New IMF research finds that macroeconomic factors, not tariffs, explain most of the changes in trade balances between two countries. Bilateral trade balances (the difference in the value of exports and imports between two countries) have come under scrutiny recently. Some policymakers are concerned that their large and rising size are the result of uneven measures that distort...

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