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International Monetary Fund
This paper highlights the state of Public Finances Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor. This edition of the Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor provides an update of global fiscal developments and policy strategies, based on projections from the November 2009 WEO. These projections reflect the assessment of IMF staff of current country policies and initiatives expected during 2009–2014 Underlying fiscal trends in advanced economies are weaker than previously projected, however, lower expected costs of financial sector support in the United States mean that 2009 headline numbers are better. New estimates of needed medium-term fiscal adjustment in advanced economies. Fiscal policy will continue to provide substantial support to aggregate demand in most countries this year, but a tightening is projected to commence next year in G-20 emerging markets. Fiscal policy is projected to begin tightening in emerging G-20 economies next year, reflecting a combination of reduced anti-crisis spending and expected consolidation beyond the withdrawal of crisis-related stimulus in Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey, supported by a pick-up of growth. Higher commodity prices are also expected to contribute to lower overall deficit.
Mr. Paolo Mauro, Mr. Mark A Horton, and Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar
This paper presents sharp increase in government debt has complicated the management of preexisting challenges from population aging, especially in advanced economies. The increase in debt ratios projected for these economies is the largest since World War II. The increase in deficits and debt raises complicated tradeoffs. Policymakers will need to balance two competing risks: on the one hand, a too hasty withdrawal of fiscal stimulus would risk nipping a recovery in the bud; on the other hand, with a delayed withdrawal investor concerns about sustainability may increase, leading to higher interest rates on government paper, undermining the recovery and increasing risks of a snowballing of debt. Regardless of the timing of adjustment, its necessary scale will be quite large, particularly for high-debt advanced economies. Preserving investor confidence in government solvency is key to avoiding an increase in interest rates, thereby not only preventing snowballing debt dynamics, but also ensuring that the fiscal stimulus is effective.
Mr. Jörg Decressin and Mr. Douglas Laxton
This paper discusses deflation risks and policy options. The paper highlights that slumping collateral values have exacerbated the credit crunch, and monetary policy has lost effectiveness in stabilizing output. A model-based analysis for the G3 economies (United States, euro area, and Japan) also suggests that, on the assumption that the financial distress is gradually resolved, the most likely outcome is that the global economy will stay clear of sustained deflation. However, if financial sector problems are not remedied or further shocks add to current stresses, there is a significant probability of more negative deflationary outcomes, with a deeper and more prolonged recession. The chapter underscores the crucial role of financial sector policies in remedying deflationary pressures directly and indirectly, by enhancing the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policies. Monetary policy can help in some areas; however, supportive fiscal policies are likely to be needed to prevent a deflationary episode becoming entrenched. Monetary policy measures include operating in a broad range of financial markets to relieve credit rationing, and to lower risk spreads and term premiums. Finally, to reinforce long-run inflation expectations, central bank communications should emphasize the commitment to return inflation to objectives with all due speed.
Mr. Robert M Burgess
This paper discusses initial performance of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Macroeconomic Convergence Program. The SADC’s regional economic integration agenda includes a macroeconomic convergence program, intended to achieve and maintain macroeconomic stability in the region, thereby contributing to faster economic growth and laying the basis for eventual monetary union. As macroeconomic performance in the SADC region has improved in recent years, most countries are making progress toward, and in many cases exceeding, the convergence criteria. Most SADC member states have recorded solid macroeconomic performance in recent years, in general coming close too, and in many cases surpassing, the convergence targets specified for 2008. A notable exception in this regard is Zimbabwe, which was in the grip of hyperinflation. The macroeconomic targets for later years are ambitious and, in some cases, warrant further evaluation, given that achieving the targets may be neither necessary nor enough to achieve good macroeconomic results.