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International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The following remarks by the Acting Chair were made at the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion of the World Economic Outlook on March 31, 2006.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Asia’s overall growth is expected to remain strong in 2007, moderating slightly to just over 7 percent, according to the IMF’s latest regional outlook. China and India will continue to lead the way, with growth rates of 10.0 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively. Japan, the largest economy in the region, is likely to see growth broadly unchanged at 2.3 percent as the recovery firms up. David Burton, head of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, told a press briefing on April 13 that the forecast reflected a modest easing of external demand, particularly in the United States, and also assumed an effective tightening of policies in China and India.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Notwithstanding higher oil prices and natural disasters, global growth has continued to exceed expectations, aided by benign financial market conditions and continued accommodative macroeconomic policies. Looking forward, the baseline forecast is for continued strong growth, although—as illustrated in Figure 1.1— risks remain slanted to the downside, the more so since key vulnerabilities—notably the global imbalances— continue to increase. With the risks associated with inaction rising with time, the principal challenge for global policymakers is to take advantage of the unusually favorable conjuncture to address these vulnerabilities. In particular, an orderly resolution of global imbalances will require measures to facilitate a rebalancing of demand across countries and a realignment of exchange rates over the medium term, with the U.S. dollar needing to depreciate significantly from current levels, and currencies in surplus countries— including in parts of Asia and among oil producers— to appreciate.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Two developments have dominated the international economic landscape over the past several years. First, large global external imbalances have persisted, including a large current account deficit in the United States matched by surpluses in other advanced economies, in emerging Asia and—more recently—in fuel-exporting countries (Figure 2.1). These imbalances have been matched by corresponding shifts in net foreign asset positions, although—particularly for the United States—this has been partly offset by valuation changes, reflecting exchange rate movements in conjunction with changes in the relative price of U.S. financial assets. Second, energy prices have risen sharply since 2003 (Figure 2.2), driven both by strengthening global demand and most recently by concerns about future supply.1 With limited excess capacity, the medium-term supply-demand balance is expected to remain very tight, and oil prices will persist near current levels.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Inflation in advanced and many emerging market economies has remained remarkably subdued over the past two years despite a significant rise in commodity prices, strong growth, and a broadly accommodating monetary policy stance in the major currency areas. Is this situation sustainable or does it foreshadow unwelcome inflation surprises in the near future? Some analysts have argued that low and stable inflation reflects more intense global competition, which prevents firms from raising prices and puts downward pressures on wages in many sectors.1 If so, and given that lower-cost producers in emerging markets and developing countries will continue to integrate into the global trading system, these forces are likely to ensure low inflation in the foreseeable future, reminiscent of the secular deflation associated with broad productivity increases during the classical gold standard in the late nineteenth century. However, such views are not universally shared. Other analysts have offered alternative explanations for the recent inflation performance, including improved monetary policy credibility, broad productivity gains of uncertain duration, or cyclical conditions.2

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Companies, which normally borrow other folks’ savings in order to invest, have turned thrifty. Even companies enjoying strong profits and cash flow are building cash hoards, reducing debt and buying back their own shares—instead of making investment bets. —David Wessel, Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2005

Kornélia Krajnyák, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, and Mr. Calvin Schnure

The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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