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International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Global growth for 2018–19 is projected to remain steady at its 2017 level, but its pace is less vigorous than projected in April and it has become less balanced. Downside risks to global growth have risen in the past six months and the potential for upside surprises has receded. Global growth is projected at 3.7 percent for 2018–19—0.2 percentage point lower for both years than forecast in April. The downward revision reflects surprises that suppressed activity in early 2018 in some major advanced economies, the negative effects of the trade measures implemented or approved between April and mid-September, as well as a weaker outlook for some key emerging market and developing economies arising from country-specific factors, tighter financial conditions, geopolitical tensions, and higher oil import bills. The balance of risks to the global growth forecast has shifted to the downside in a context of elevated policy uncertainty. Several of the downside risks highlighted in the April 2018 World Economic Outlook (WEO)—such as rising trade barriers and a reversal of capital flows to emerging market economies with weaker fundamentals and higher political risk—have become more pronounced or have partially materialized. Meanwhile, the potential for upside surprises has receded, given the tightening of financial conditions in some parts of the world, higher trade costs, slow implementation of reforms recommended in the past, and waning growth momentum.

Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
Mr. Abdul d Abiad, Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Jaime Guajardo, and Petia Topalova
Economic performance in many emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) improved substantially over the past twenty years. The past decade was particularly good—for the first time EMDEs spent more time in expansion and had smaller downturns thanadvanced economies. In this paper we document the history of EMDEs’ resilience over the past sixty years, and investigate what factors have been associated with it. We find that their improved performance in recent years is accounted for by both good policies and a lowerincidence of external and domestic shocks—better policies account for about three-fifths of their improved resilience, while less frequent shocks account for the remainder.
Mr. Prakash Kannan and Fritzi Köhler-Geib
The 2007 subprime crisis in the U.S. triggered a succession of financial crises around the globe, reigniting interest in the contagion phenomenon. Not all crises, however, are contagious. This paper models a new channel of contagion where the degree of anticipation of crises, through its impact on investor uncertainty, determines the occurrence of contagion. Incidences of surprise crises lead investors to doubt the accuracy of their informationgathering technology, which endogenously increases the probability of crises elsewhere. Anticipated crisis, instead, have the opposite effect. Importantly, this channel is empirically shown to have an independent effect beyond other contagion channels.
Mr. Leonardo Hernández and Mr. Peter J Montiel
Following the 1997-98 financial turmoil, crisis countries in Asia moved toward either floating or fixed exchange rate systems, reinforcing the bipolar view of exchange rate regimes and the "hollow middle" hypothesis. But some academics have claimed that the crisis countries' policies have been similar in the post- and pre-crisis periods. This paper analyzes the evidence and concludes that, except for Malaysia, which adopted a hard peg and imposed capital controls, the other crisis countries are floating more than before, though less than "real" floaters do. Further, the crisis countries' policies during the post-crisis period can be justified on second-best arguments.