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Gustavo Adler, Sergii Meleshchuk, and Ms. Carolina Osorio Buitron
The paper explores how international integration through global value chains shapes the working of exchange rates to induce external adjustment both in the short and medium run. The analysis indicates that greater integration into international value chains reduces the exchange rate elasticity of gross trade volumes. This result holds both in the short and medium term, pointing to the rigidity of value chains. At the same time, greater value chain integration is associated with larger gross trade flows, relative to GDP, which tends to amplify the effect of exchange rate movements. Overall, combining these two results suggests that, for most countries, integration into global value chains does not materially alter the working of exchange rates and the benefits of exchange rate flexibility in facilitating external adjustment remain.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The IMF’s 2019 External Sector Report shows that global current account balances stand at about 3 percent of global GDP. Of this, about 35–45 percent are now deemed excessive. Meanwhile, net credit and debtor positions are at historical peaks and about four times larger than in the early 1990s. Short-term financing risks from the current configuration of external imbalances are generally contained, as debtor positions are concentrated in reserve-currency-issuing advanced economies. An intensification of trade tensions or a disorderly Brexit outcome—with further repercussions for global growth and risk aversion—could, however, affect other economies that are highly dependent on foreign demand and external financing. With output near potential in most systemic economies, a well-calibrated macroeconomic and structural policy mix is necessary to support rebalancing. Recent trade policy actions are weighing on global trade flows, investment, and growth, including through confidence effects and the disruption of global supply chains, with no discernible impact on external imbalances thus far.

International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development presents success and works of IMF in the past 75 years since its formation. The IMF’s financial firepower must be increased substantially, particularly in a world of relatively free capital flows. If the world of cooperative globalization is to survive and the IMF is to maintain its role within it, a great deal must change. Some of these changes are within the IMF’s control. The most important challenges for the IMF of tomorrow are, however, those created by the changing world. Global cooperation is needed to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of cross-border capital flows. Cross-border capital flows are neither an unmitigated blessing nor an undoubted curse. Used judiciously, they can be beneficial to recipient countries, making up deficiencies in the availability of long-term risk capital and reducing gaps in local corporate governance. Many emerging market economies have understood that they should build foreign exchange reserves. The IMF model suggests that fluctuations in the exchange rate are the main reason for fluctuations in corporate liquidity in receiving countries.
Mr. Peter J Kunzel, Phil De Imus, Mr. Edward R Gemayel, Risto Herrala, Mr. Alexei P Kireyev, and Farid Talishli
The Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries are at an important juncture in their economic transition. Following significant economic progress during the 2000s, recent external shocks have revealed the underlying vulnerabilities of the current growth model. Lower commodity prices, weaker remittances, and slower growth in key trading partners reduced CCA growth, weakened external and fiscal balances, and raised public debt. the financial sector was also hit hard by large foreign exchange losses. while commodity prices have recovered somewhat since late 2014, to boost its economic potential, the region needs to find new growth drivers, diversify away from natural resources, remittances, and public spending, and generate much stronger private sector-led activity.
Mr. Hideaki Hirata, Mr. Ayhan Kose, Mr. Christopher Otrok, and Mr. Marco Terrones
We examine the properties of house price fluctuations across 18 advanced economies over the past 40 years. We ask two specific questions: First, how synchronized are housing cycles across these countries? Second, what are the main shocks driving movements in global house prices? To address these questions, we first estimate the global components in house prices and various macroeconomic and financial variables. We then evaluate the roles played by a variety of global shocks, including shocks to interest rates, monetary policy, productivity, credit, and uncertainty, in explaining house price fluctuations using a wide range of FAVAR models. We find that house prices are synchronized across countries, and the degree of synchronization has increased over time. Global interest rate shocks tend to have a significant negative effect on global house prices whereas global monetary policy shocks per se do not appear to have a sizeable impact. Interestingly, uncertainty shocks seem to be important in explaining fluctuations in global house prices.
Mr. Christopher W. Crowe, Mr. Simon Johnson, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer

Abstract

Macrofinancial linkages have long been at the core of the IMF's mandate to oversee the stability of the global financial system. With the advent of the economic crisis, the Fund has drawn on this research in order to contribute to critical debates on the nature of appropriate policy responses at both the national and multilateral levels. The current juncture offers a good opportunity to take stock of this body of research by IMF staff and to share it with a wider audience, particularly since few collections have been published in this area. This volume brings together some of the best writing by IMF economists on macrofinancial issues, and highlights the issues and approaches that have guided IMF thinking in an area that makes up an increasingly important component of the IMF's overall remit. The chapters in the volume fit into three broad themes: financial crises and boom-bust cycles; financial integration, financial liberalization, and economic performance; and policy issues relating to macroeconomic policy and the corporate and financial sectors-including domestic and external financial liberalization.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This special issue brings together world-renowned experts to provide a systematic and critical analysis of the costs and benefits of financial globalization. Contributors include Kenneth Rogoff, Maurice Obstfeld, Dani Rodrik, and Frederic S. Mishkin.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper presents the views of Lawrence H. Summers on the U.S. current account deficit and the global economy. Summers highlights that the U.S. current account deficit is currently running well in excess of US$600 billion at an annual rate, in the range of 5.5 percent of GDP. It represents more than 1 percent of global GDP and absorbs close to two-thirds of the cumulative current account surpluses of all the world’s surplus countries. Summers thinks that such a unique imbalance deserves careful scrutiny.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper reviews the external competitiveness of the Belarusian economy, particularly in 2000–01. The analysis starts with an overview of developments in Belarus’ external current account. The paper then examines various competitiveness indicators, most importantly changes in external and internal real exchange rates, as well as labor cost measures. It reviews trade data by sectors to explain recent export performance. The paper also provides an overview of current wage policy and its macroeconomic effects.
Michel Camdessus

Abstract

This paper explains various challenges posed by the new global economy for the IMF. The urgent tasks of restoring stability to crisis-ridden countries have been accompanied by other more far-reaching questions. The five speeches included in this collection cover a broad range of activities and thinking over the past year. The themes range from immediate crisis management to the broad questions of a new architecture for the global economy; and from the specific concerns of individual countries and regions to the conditions for a strong and equitable world economy. One of the speeches, delivered in September 1998, steps back from prevailing worldwide market turbulence, seeking lessons from the crises, and stressing that conditions vary extensively among emerging economies. Clear, calm analysis is essential by market participants to differentiate among economies. Another speech sets out initial thoughts not just on the key elements of a new financial architecture, however, also on the role that can be played by each constituency in the world economy.