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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The MENAP oil exporters were directly affected by the global financial crisis through a sharp drop in oil prices, a contraction in the global economy, and a sudden drying up of capital inflows. Although activity in the oil sector will likely drop by 3.5 percent in 2009, strong countercyclical macroeconomic policies have helped mitigate the impact of the crisis on the non-oil sector, which is projected to grow by 3.2 percent. Looking ahead, higher oil prices, a revival of global demand, and continued government spending will provide the basis for stronger growth in 2010. The crisis also revealed some vulnerabilities in the banking and corporate sectors, requiring countries to undertake exceptional stabilization measures and highlighting the need to strengthen financial sector supervision, enhance corporate governance, foster resource mobilization, and diversify risks.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The MENAP oil importers are a diverse group, encompassing both emerging and low-income economies. Many have seen significant slowdowns in the past year but, overall, these countries have escaped the substantial contractions experienced in other parts of the world. Supportive policy responses, a low degree of integration with international capital markets and manufacturing supply chains, and banking systems that had little exposure to structured financial products have contained the fallout. While the slowdown has been modest, this group of countries is also likely to experience a slow recovery. Limited external financing, little space for fiscal stimulus, a real appreciation of most domestic currencies, sluggish receipts from tourism and remittances, and higher energy prices will all continue to be a drag on growth for some time.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

For many countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region, the impact of the global economic downturn has been severe, but prospects for energy importers and exporters differ starkly. For energy importers, the economic outlook remains challenging and recovery in 2010 is likely to be gradual, primarily because of their linkages with Russia. In particular, remittances have fallen sharply, hurting low-income households. Fiscal policy should remain accommodative in 2010 to support growth and mitigate the impact on the poor, but continued concessional donor support will be needed to prevent a buildup of unsustainable debt levels.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The IMF shares its expertise with officials in member countries and provides training to them—what it calls “capacity development”—to help countries build strong institutions and boost skills to formulate and implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies. Capacity development is closely linked to the IMF’s surveillance and lending activities and highly appreciated by member countries.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Surveillance is the catch-all term encompassing the process by which the IMF oversees the international monetary system and global economic developments, and monitors the economic and financial policies of its 188 member countries. As part of this annual financial health check, known as surveillance, the IMF highlights possible risks to stability and advises on the necessary policy adjustments. In this way, it helps the international monetary system serve its essential purpose of facilitating the exchange of goods, services, and capital among countries, thereby sustaining sound economic growth.

Maher Hasan and Mr. Jemma Dridi

This paper examines the performance of Islamic banks (IBs) and conventional banks (CBs) during the recent global crisis by looking at the impact of the crisis on profitability, credit and asset growth, and external ratings in a group of countries where the two types of banks have significant market share. Our analysis suggests that IBs have been affected differently than CBs. Factors related to IBs‘ business model helped limit the adverse impact on profitability in 2008, while weaknesses in risk management practices in some IBs led to a larger decline in profitability in 2009 compared to CBs. IBs‘ credit and asset growth performed better than did that of CBs in 2008-09, contributing to financial and economic stability. External rating agencies‘ re-assessment of IBs‘ risk was generally more favorable.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This chapter presents the point of view and ideas of Sabina Alkire, an economist. Alkire wants the Multidimensional Poverty Index to be part of a data revolution to guide the fight against poverty. According to Alkire, learning to meditate soothed away what she describes as the temper tantrums of her childhood. The chapter also highlights the fact that an index is only as good as its underlying data, and in emerging market economies that quality is often inadequate. The quest for better poverty metrics coincides with growing doubts about the ability of conventional statistics, especially GDP, to gauge economic growth in the digital economy, let alone well-being, welfare, and environmental sustainability.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This issue of F&D looks at the growing role of emerging markets. Analysis by the IMF's Ayhan Kose and Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University, argues that their economic ascendance will enable emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia to play a more significant part in global economic governance and take on more responsibility for economic and financial stability. And Vivek Arora and Athanasios Vamvakidis measure how China's economy is increasingly affecting the rest of the world not just its neighbors and main trading partners. In addition, F&D examines a variety of topics that are particularly relevant as the world struggles to shake off the crisis. Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi look at the positive effects of stimulus in the United States. Without it, they say, the United States would still be in recession. IMF researchers look at how countries can get debt under control, and what happens when government debt is downgraded. Other articles examine the human costs of unemployment, how inequality can lead over time to financial crisis, and what changes in the way banks do business could mean for the financial system. Two articles look at Islamic banking, which was put to the test during the global crisis and proved its mettle, and in Faces of the Crisis Revisited, we continue to track how the recession affected several individuals around the world. This issue of F&D profiles Princeton economic theorist Avinash Dixit in the regular People in Economics feature, and Back to Basics looks at externalities.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.