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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note analyzes and quantifies the effect of aging in Japan—both at the national and regional levels—on the nature of financial intermediation. Mounting demographic headwinds constitute a major challenge for regional financial institutions in Japan. According to prefectural population projections and econometric estimates, the impact from demographic headwinds is likely to intensify significantly over the next two decades. Financial sector policies should aim to address the constraints to financial access by further promoting risk-based lending and asset-based lending. Banks should continue to be encouraged to build capacity for risk assessment to do more risk-based lending.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

'Africa: Making Its Move' explores some of the obstacles facing sub-Saharan Africa as it attempts to capitalize on changes that offer fresh opportunities for growth and poverty reduction. The lead article describes the changes and suggests how Africa can build on them to progress further. Other articles focus on the aid situation, financial sector development, trade, the business environment, and political and policy reform on the continent. 'Country Focus' examines the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, and two guest contributors look at how the international community can help the most fragile states and how oil-producing countries can manage windfall revenues. 'People in Economics' profiles the European Central Bank's first chief economist, Otmar Issing; 'Picture This' examines the global housing slowdown; and 'Back to Basics,' explains current account deficits. Another article discusses the realities of health financing.

International Monetary Fund

Spain’s housing boom was supported by rapid economic expansion, strong employment growth, an immigration boom, and low real interest rates. With the abrupt drying up of funding since mid-2007, these factors have eroded quickly. Through 2010, employment and value added in construction are projected to halve as peak housing starts are completed. The authorities have launched efforts to help limit foreclosures and to activate the underdeveloped rental market. In the medium term, housing market cyclicality could be reduced by fading out generous home ownership incentives.