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iMFdirect's Blog

China’s Housing Market: Defying the Odds?

February 1, 2016 Comments (0)

by iMFdirect Housing is on everyone’s mind. The collapse of housing bubbles can be very costly. In Japan, house prices rose by about 40 percent during the mid-1980s; the collapse was followed by a ‘lost decade’ in which incomes did not grow and house prices fell by over 40 percent. In the United States, house prices increased by about 30 percent between 2001 and 2006; their collapse was followed by the global financial crisis. The collapse of the housing sector can often lead to a broader...

Competitiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa: Time to Move Ahead

January 28, 2016 Comments (0)

By Antoinette Sayeh The sub-Saharan Africa region is facing severe shocks associated with the steep decline in commodity prices and tightening global financial conditions. Against this background, it’s a good time to look back at the region’s recent growth experience and examine the relationship between growth rates and competitiveness. The extent to which sub-Saharan African companies are able to compete against their foreign competitors (that is, the extent to which they are competitive)...

Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016: Adjusting to a Harsher Reality

January 22, 2016 Comments (0)

Alejandro Werner By Alejandro Werner (Versions in Español and Português) 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...

Virtual Currencies: The Public Impact of Private Money

January 20, 2016 Comments (0)

By iMFdirect Technology and finance have always gone together. So what’s new this time around? Virtual currencies are part of a broader tech revolution that is driving fundamental change in the global economy. While the money is virtual, the rewards and the risks are very real. It boils down to this: how best to encourage financial innovation while regulating to protect consumers and avoid other possible harm. A few of our economists, financial experts, and lawyers decided to tackle the...

Subdued Growth, Diminished Prospects, Action Needed

January 19, 2016 Comments (0)

By Maurice Obstfeld At the start of 2016, turbulence in financial markets has returned amid renewed concern about risks to global economic growth. The fundamental forces that underlay our October World Economic Outlook projections have not dissipated, and in some respects have intensified, leading us to trim our expectations for future medium-term growth of the world economy. In the World Economic Outlook Update released today, we still, however, expect growth to pick up this year in most...

Oil Low-Commotion

January 14, 2016 Comments (0)

Brent crude oil fell below $30 a barrel yesterday for the first time since 2004, which reminds us that commodity prices are a hot topic that impact everyone, everywhere, one way or another. So we thought you might like to read a few of our recent blogs about what the !@#$% is going on, and why it matters for the global economy. Back in September we looked beyond oil to other commodities and the relationship between the two in Metals and Oil: A Tale of Two Commodities. In October we pulled back...

Climate Change: How To Price Paris

January 11, 2016 Comments (0)

by Vitor Gaspar, Michael Keen, and Ian Parry The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a historic diplomatic achievement. Climate change is a global problem. Many believed that global problem solving would prove elusive: the benefits of cutting emissions arise globally while the costs of doing so are borne nationally, so national self-interest would prevent a meaningful agreement. Paris proves otherwise—creating a commonality of purpose at the global level.  At the core of the agreement are the...

The Top Ten Blogs of 2015

December 30, 2015 Comments (0)

by iMFdirect 2015 was a bold year for blogs at the IMF.  Boldness grows less common in the higher ranks, according to Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, but he couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to these blogs: the list includes work by the IMF’s former chief economist Olivier Blanchard and Vitor Gaspar, head of the Fiscal Affairs Department. Our readers’ interests focused on blogs about tough choices for Greece, the slump in commodity prices, the...

China and Africa: Will the Honeymoon Continue?

December 21, 2015 Comments (0)

By Wenjie Chen and Roger Nord China’s President Xi Jinping’s recent pledge of US$60 billion in financial support over the next three years illustrates the depth of the partnership between China and Africa. However, China’s shift from an investment-heavy, export led growth strategy to an economic model that relies more on domestic consumption has led to a dramatic decline in commodity prices. Lower commodity prices and lower volumes of trade have hit sub-Saharan Africa’s commodity exporters...

The Specter of Risk in the Derivatives of Bond Mutual Funds

December 17, 2015 Comments (0)

By Fabio Cortes Current regulations only require U.S. and European bond mutual funds to disclose a limited amount of information about the risks they have taken using financial instruments called derivatives. This leaves investors and policymakers in the dark on a key issue for financial stability.  Our new research in the October 2015 Global Financial Stability Report looks at just how much is at stake.  A number of large bond mutual funds use derivatives—contracts that permit investors to bet...