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Posts Tagged ‘Obstfeld’

The Euro Area Needs a Fiscal Union

Posted by hkarner - 22. Februar 2018

By Helge Berger, Giovanni Dell’Ariccia, and Maurice Obstfeld, IMF

February 22, 2018

Without more tangible elements of a fiscal union, the euro area will remain fundamentally vulnerable to shocks. 

The euro area is experiencing a robust recovery, but the architecture supporting Europe’s currency union remains incomplete and leaves the region vulnerable to future financial crises.

While substantial progress has been made to address some architectural issues—conditional lending facilities and key elements of a banking union—we argue in our recent paper that the euro area needs to build elements of a common fiscal policy, including more fiscal risk sharing, to preserve financial and economic integration and stability. Without some degree of fiscal union, the region will continue to face existential risks that policymakers should not ignore. While this is not a new topic, the current favorable economic climate might be the moment to advance the discussion—and the chance to strengthen the euro area.

If Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) were like any other large currency area, such as the United States, member states would tackle economic or financial shocks together. They would have empowered a central government or jointly run institutions to deal with stressed financial entities, secure bank deposits, and provide fiscal relief to member states in a particularly deep recession. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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The Current Economic Sweet Spot Is Not the “New Normal”

Posted by hkarner - 23. Januar 2018

January 22, 2017

Global growth continues to pick up and is broad based. But no matter how tempting it is to sit back and enjoy the sunshine, policy can and should move to strengthen the recovery (photo: Mumbai, India, Ingram Publishing/Newscom).

As the year 2018 begins, the world economy is gathering speed. The new World Economic Outlook Update revises our forecast for the world economy’s growth in both 2018 and 2019 to 3.9 percent. For both years, that is 0.2 percentage points higher than last October’s forecast, and 0.2 percentage points higher than our current estimate of last year’s global growth.

This is good news. But political leaders and policymakers must stay mindful that the present economic momentum reflects a confluence of factors that is unlikely to last for long. The global financial crisis may seem firmly behind us, but without prompt action to address structural growth impediments, enhance the inclusiveness of growth, and build policy buffers and resilience, the next downturn will come sooner and be harder to fight.

Every government should be asking itself three questions today. First, how can we raise economic efficiency and output levels over the longer term? Second, how can we support resilience and inclusiveness while reducing the likelihood that the current upswing ends in an abrupt slowdown or even a new crisis? Third, how can we be sure to have the policy tools we will need to counter the next downturn? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Global Economy Gaining Momentum—For Now

Posted by hkarner - 20. April 2017

By Maurice Obstfeld, IMF Direct, 18/4

Momentum in the global economy has been building since the middle of last year, allowing us to reaffirm our earlier forecasts of higher global growth this year and next. We project the world economy to grow at a pace of 3.5 percent in 2017, up from 3.1 percent last year, and 3.6 percent in 2018. Acceleration will be broad based across advanced, emerging, and low-income economies, building on gains we have seen in both manufacturing and trade.

Our new projection for 2017 in the April World Economic Outlook is marginally higher than what we expected in our last update. This improvement comes primarily from good economic news for Europe and Asia, as well as our continuing expectation for higher growth this year in the United States.

Despite these signs of strength, many other countries will continue to struggle this year with growth rates significantly below past readings. Commodity prices have firmed since early 2016, but at low levels, and many commodity exporters remain challenged – notably in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. At the same time, a combination of adverse weather conditions and civil unrest threaten several low-income countries with mass starvation. In Sub-Saharan Africa, income growth could fall slightly short of population growth, but not by nearly as much as last year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Shifting Global Economic Landscape: Update to the World Economic Outlook

Posted by hkarner - 17. Januar 2017

Posted on by iMFdirect

maury-obstfeld-blogsize-final2By Maurice Obstfeld

Today we released our update to the World Economic Outlook.

An accumulation of recent data suggests that the global economic landscape started to shift in the second half of 2016. Developments since last summer indicate somewhat greater growth momentum coming into the new year in a number of important economies. Our earlier projection, that world growth will pick up from last year’s lackluster pace in 2017 and 2018, therefore looks increasingly likely to be realized. At the same time, we see a wider dispersion of risks to this short-term forecast, with those risks still tilted to the downside. Uncertainty has risen. 

Our central projection is that global growth will rise to a rate of 3.4 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018, from a 2016 rate of 3.1 percent. Much of the better growth performance we expect this year and next stems from improvements in some large emerging market and low income economies that in 2016 were exceptionally stressed. That being said, compared to our view in October, we now think that more of the lift will come from better prospects in the United States, China, Europe, and Japan. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The IMF is Not Asking Greece for More Austerity

Posted by hkarner - 14. Dezember 2016

Posted on by iMFdirectObstfeld

By Maurice Obstfeld (pictured) and Poul M. Thomsen

Greece is once again in the headlines as discussions for the second review of its European Stability Mechanism (ESM) program are gaining pace. Unfortunately, the discussions have also spurred some misinformation about the role and the views of the IMF. Above all, the IMF is being criticized for demanding more fiscal austerity, in particular for making this a condition for urgently needed debt relief. This is not true, and clarifications are in order.

The IMF is not demanding more austerity. On the contrary, when the Greek Government agreed with its European partners in the context of the ESM program to push the Greek economy to a primary fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent by 2018, we warned that this would generate a degree of austerity that could prevent the nascent recovery from taking hold. We projected that the measures in the ESM program will deliver a surplus of only 1.5 percent of GDP, and said this would be enough for us to support a program. We did not call for additional measures to achieve a higher surplus. But contrary to our advice, the Greek Government agreed with the European institutions to temporarily compress spending further if needed to ensure that the surplus would reach 3.5 percent of GDP. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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IWF: Deutsche Wirtschaft in besserem Zustand als die USA

Posted by hkarner - 5. Oktober 2016

Ja, der Einäugige sieht auch besser als der Blinde …! (hfk)

Der IWF überrascht mit einer freundlichen Prognose für Deutschland – und schlechten Nachrichten für Hillary Clinton: Die vielbesungene Erholung der US-Wirtschaft war offenbar eine Fata Morgana.

Der IWF traut der globalen Konjunktur weiter keine großen Sprünge zu. Die Weltwirtschaft dürfte in diesem Jahr etwas an Fahrt verlieren und um 3,1 Prozent zulegen, wie der Internationale Währungsfonds (IWF) am Dienstag in seinem neuen „World Economic Outlook“ mitteilte. Im nächsten Jahr werde es mit 3,4 Prozent etwas stärker bergauf gehen. „Der aktuelle Ausblick bleibt gedämpft.“ Mittelfristig dürfte das Wachstum der Industriestaaten weiter „enttäuschend“ ausfallen, sagte IWF-Chefökonom Maurice Obstfeld. Bei Schwellen- und Entwicklungsländern werde die Konjunktur eher anziehen.

Allerdings muss man bei den IWF-Prognosen immer vorsichtig sein: In Griechenland etwa ist der IWF zum Beispiel mit traumwandlerischer Sicherheit über Jahre falsch gelegen. Auch jetzt sind Fragen angebracht: Etwa, wenn der IWF für Spanien einen Boom angebrochen sieht: Warum ist dann die Arbeitslosigkeit, insbesondere bei Jugendlichen, immer noch so hoch? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rethinking Policy at the IMF

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2016

Posted on by iMFdirect

By iMFdirect

The global financial crisis led to a broad rethink of macroeconomic and financial policies in the global academic and policy community. ObstfeldEight months into the job as IMF Chief Economist, Maury Obstfeld reflects on the IMF’s role in this rethinking and in furthering economic and financial stability.

In an interview, Obstfeld notes that given the impacts of IMF decisions on member countries and the global economic system, it is especially important for the institution to constantly re-evaluate its thinking in light of new evidence.

He talks about fiscal policy, citing that “nobody wants needless austerity,” as well as on the Fund’s work on capital flows and trade.

Even as the Fund’s thinking evolves, Obstfeld says that the process has not “fundamentally changed the core of our approach, which is based on open and competitive markets, robust macro policy frameworks, financial stability, and strong institutions.”

IMFSurvey Magazine: Policy Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Neoliberalism: Oversold?

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2016

Dank an H.F.!

Finance & Development, June 2016, Vol. 53, No. 2, IMF

Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri

Inside the stock exchange in Santiago, Chile, one of the first countries to adopt a form of neoliberal policies.Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansionMilton Friedman in 1982 hailed Chile as an “economic miracle.” Nearly a decade earlier, Chile had turned to policies that have since been widely emulated across the globe. The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies—rests on two main planks. The first is increased competition—achieved through deregulation and the opening up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign competition. The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt.­

There has been a strong and widespread global trend toward neoliberalism since the 1980s, according to a composite index that measures the extent to which countries introduced competition in various spheres of economic activity to foster economic growth. As shown in the left panel of Chart 1, Chile’s push started a decade or so earlier than 1982, with subsequent policy changes bringing it ever closer to the United States. Other countries have also steadily implemented neoliberal policies (see Chart 1, right panel).­ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Global Growth: Too Slow for Too Long

Posted by hkarner - 13. April 2016

Posted on by iMFdirect

maurice-obstfeld2By Maurice Obstfeld

Versions in عربي (Arabic) 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

Global growth continues, but at an increasingly disappointing pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to negative risks. Growth has been too slow for too long.

The new World Economic Outlook released today anticipates a slight acceleration in growth this year, from 3.1 to 3.2 percent, followed by 3.5 percent growth in 2017. Our projections, however, continue to be progressively less optimistic over time.

The downgraded forecasts reflect a broad-based slowdown across all countries. That slowdown results from continuing trends that we have highlighted in earlier editions of the World Economic Outlook. As always, there is considerable diversity in performance within groups.

The central scenario that the World Economic Outlook projects, however, now looks less likely compared with possible less favorable outcomes. Both to support global growth and to guard against downside risks to that baseline scenario, we propose a three-pronged policy approach based on monetary, fiscal and structural policies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Oil Prices and the Global Economy: It’s Complicated

Posted by hkarner - 24. März 2016

Posted on by iMFdirect

By Maurice Obstfeld, Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, and Rabah Arezki

Oil prices have been persistently low for well over a year and a half now, but as the April 2016 World Economic Outlook will document, the widely anticipated “shot in the arm” for the global economy has yet to materialize. We argue that, paradoxically, global benefits from low prices will likely appear only after prices have recovered somewhat, and advanced economies have made more progress surmounting the current low interest rate environment. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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