International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Despite ongoing economic recovery and improvements in global financial stability, structural weaknesses and vulnerabilities remain in some important financial systems. The April 2011 Global Financial Stability Report highlights how risks have changed over the past six months, traces the sources and channels of financial distress with an emphasis on sovereign risk, notes the pressures arising from capital inflows in emerging economies, and discusses policy proposals under consideration to mend the global financial system.
Since the publication of the April 2011 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), financial risks have risen for three reasons. First, while a multi-speed global recovery remains the base case, downside risks to this baseline have increased. Second, concern about debt sustainability and support for adjustment efforts in Europe’s periphery is leading to market pressures and worries about potential contagion. Political risks are also raising questions about medium term fiscal adjustment in a few advanced countries, notably, the United States and Japan. Third, notwithstanding some recent pullback in risk appetite, the prolonged period of low interest rates may push investors into riskier assets in a “search for yield.” This trend has the potential to build financial imbalances for the future, particularly in some emerging markets. Against these tensions, deep-seated challenges remain. Although there has been progress, improvements in financial system robustness have been insufficient so far. Markets may lose patience and become disorderly if political developments derail momentum on fiscal consolidation and financial repair and reform. Given these risks, policymakers need to accelerate actions to address long-standing financial vulnerabilities as outlined in the GFSR, before the window of opportunity to do so closes.
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