Cracks in the System: World Economy Under Stress" explores the rapidly changing institutional and policymaking landscape around a financial crisis that now threatens a deep and prolonged global recession. The lead article looks at how the world got into the mess and what to do about it, both now and over the medium term. Other articles review options for changing the rules of world finance, examine the case for modernizing the way countries coordinate their policies, and try to draw some lessons from past financial crises. The "other crisis" of high food and fuel prices is also assessed, as the effects extend past the mid-2008 price peak. "People in Economics" profiles Robert Shiller; "Picture This" illustrates how middle-income economies can reach high-income status; "Back to Basics" looks at all the components that make up gross national product; and "Country Focus" spotlights Saudi Arabia.
The global economy went through a period of unprecedented financial instability in 2008-09, accompanied by the worst global economic downturn and collapse in trade in many decades. No country escaped the reach of this economic storm. The IMF played a leading role in helping the membership deal with the immediate challenges posed by the crisis and work toward a new, strengthened global financial system. To address these challenges, the Fund focused its efforts on (1) providing policy advice and timely financial support that met members’ needs, (2) analyzing what went wrong, with the aim of fortifying the financial system against a recurrence of crises down the road, and (3) assembling the building blocks of a new international financial architecture. At the same time, the crisis accelerated some elements of the Fund’s work program and redirected resources toward the following areas: advancing surveillance priorities, reforming the Fund’s lending framework, supporting low-income countries, increasing the Fund’s activities in the area of capacity building, reforming the Fund’s corporate governance, and augmenting the Fund’s resources. Work toward modernizing the IMF, which accelerated in FY2008 with the Fund’s restructuring exercise, continued in FY2009,1 and other institutional work focused on strengthening internal accountability and transparency, revamping the institution’s human resources function, and safeguarding the Fund’s finances and other operations, as well as putting the institution on a stronger financial footing.
On the heels of a major financial crisis that originated in advanced country markets in 2007, the global economy sank in 2008-09 into the deepest recession since World War II.4 Although the IMF’s 2008 Annual Report had highlighted the risks from the spreading financial crisis, the crisis advanced further and faster during FY2009 than expected, despite strong policy efforts in key economies. Emerging markets and lowincome countries, which had been relatively sheltered from financial strains owing to their limited exposure to U.S. mortgage-related assets, were drawn into the storm, as international credit markets, trade finance, and many foreign exchange markets also came under heavy pressure.
The extraordinary global financial crisis posed a host of serious policy challenges to most Fund members, as well as systemic risks to the global economy. The full attention of the IMF was directed toward addressing the policy challenges raised by the crisis, including helping governments prepare a full policy framework in countries already in crisis, and for other vulnerable countries, strengthening contingency planning and crisis preparedness and intensifying surveillance. In collaboration with other international bodies and standard setters, the Fund immediately identified the core macroeconomic and financial policy response needed to help minimize the economic and social costs of the crisis. It then worked to encourage early action, promoted dialogue within the membership, and started the critical task of examining the causes of, and gleaning lessons from, the crisis. The Fund helped members directly with financing and policy advice, placing greater emphasis on macrofinancial linkages, contagion risks, financial safety nets, and crisis preparedness and management. It also advised countries to provide support to economic activity wherever space for such support was available.
The protracted financial crisis accelerated and redirected the IMF’s ongoing work in the areas of lending and capacity building. This chapter describes the Fund’s efforts in FY2009 to continue the work begun in FY2008 to reform IMF governance, provide policy and financial support to low-income member countries, identify ways to deliver targeted and cost-effective capacity-building opportunities for members, and put the Fund on a sound, sustainable financial footing for the long term. (Efforts were undertaken as well in FY2009 to modernize the IMF’s human resources function, and those are discussed in Chapter 5.)
The financial year that ended on April 30, 2009, was one of major reform that transformed the IMF into a leaner and refocused institution. In the area of budget, organization, and accountability, efforts now turn to implementing mechanisms to safeguard the Fund’s finances and other operations. New practices to enhance the efficiency of the Fund are being put in place, and accountability and transparency within the Fund are also being strengthened.
El Informe Anual 2009 del FMI describe la respuesta del Directorio Ejecutivo y el personal técnico de la institución a la crisis financiera mundial y a otros eventos ocurridos durante el ejercicio 2009, que abarca el período comprendido entre el 1 de mayo de 2008 y el 30 de abril de 2009. La versión impresa de este informe se publica en ocho idiomas (alemán, árabe, chino, español, francés, inglés, japonés y ruso). Se complementa con un CD-ROM (disponible solo en inglés) que incluye el texto del informe y material suplementario, incluidos los estados financieros del FMI correspondientes al ejercicio 2009.
Le rapport annuel 2009 du FMI relate les mesures prises par le conseil d'administration et les services du FMI à la suite de la crise financière mondiale et d'autres événements au cours de l'exercice 2009, qui couvre la période du 1er mai 2008 au 30 avril 2009. La version papier du rapport est disponible en huit langues (allemand, arabe, anglais, chinois, espagnol, français, japonais et russe), ainsi qu'un CD-ROM (disponible uniquement en anglais) contenant le texte du rapport et des documents connexes, dont les états financiers du FMI pour l'exercice 2009.
IMF research summaries on governance of banks (by Luc Laeven) and on whether there is a foreign aid paradox (by Thierry Tressel); country study on Mozambique (by Jean A.P. Clément and Shanaka J. Peiris); listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during July 2007-January 2008; listing of contents of Vol. 54, Issue No. 4 of IMF Staff Papers; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; listing of recent external publications by IMF staff; and a call for papers for the upcoming Conference on International Finance.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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