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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The global economy is emerging from recession, but the recovery is expected to be sluggish. While financial conditions have continued to improve, many markets remain highly dependent on public support, and downside risks prevail. In the United States and many advanced economies, growth and employment will remain weak in coming years. In turn, Canada has shown comparative resilience despite sizable shocks. A permanent loss in potential output, weak private consumption, and much higher debt levels in the United States will be negative legacies of the crisis that could adversely affect the Latin America and Caribbean region.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The LAC region is doing considerably better than in past crises, but there is growing heterogeneity within the region. External shocks to remittances and tourism are still playing out and will continue to affect countries in Central America and the Caribbean. In contrast, some of the larger economies have already bottomed out. These varying output dynamics, coupled with differing room for policy maneuver, are shaping policy challenges in the near term. In addition, long-lasting legacies from the global crisis will have significant implications for the region.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

Although it has faced larger external shocks this time, the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has fared noticeably better than in the earlier three global downturns since the 1980s. It has also fared better than other emerging markets. This better performance can be attributed to stronger and more credible policy frameworks, which led to lower banking, external, and fiscal vulnerabilities and allowed some LAC countries to react with monetary or fiscal policy easing.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The global crisis put fiscal policymaking at the forefront, highlighting differences in policy frameworks and preparedness within the region. Countries' circumstances prior to the crisis, largely reflecting past fiscal behavior, shaped the varied fiscal policy responses that Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) governments have recently taken. The experience of 2009 confirms that some LAC governments do have “space” to support economic activity during a major downturn. But the experience also draws attention to limits on such space, as well as the need for fiscal policymaking and frameworks to evolve—to be prepared for future shocks.