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Financial sector should focus on reducing inequality, IMF says, citing risks to world economy

The world’s financial sector should take rapid steps to address record or near-record inequality levels within countries that new research shows could be a harbinger of a new financial crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva issued what she termed a “call to action”, urging a shift to facilitate more lending to small and women-led businesses, which in turn would help bolster resilience in the event of a future crisis. “Our new research file:shows that inequality tends to increase before a financial crisis, ...

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U.S.-China trade deal to ease global uncertainty – IMF chief

The signing of a Phase 1 trade agreement between the United States and China will reduce – but not eliminate – uncertainty that has dampened global economic growth, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said. At an event at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Georgieva declined to give an adjusted global economic forecast, saying that would be released on Monday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But she said the IMF expected the trade deal would ensure that China’s gross domestic product expands by 6% in ...

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OECD unemployment rate stable at 5.1% in November 2019

The OECD unemployment rate remained stable at 5.1% in November 2019. Across the OECD area, 33 million people were unemployed. The unemployment rate was also stable in the euro area, at 7.5% in November, with a decline of 0.2 percentage point in Austria (to 4.2%) and a smaller decline (by 0.1 percentage point) in France (to 8.4%), Slovenia (to 4.6%) and Spain (to 14.1%). The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point in Latvia (to 6.3%) and Portugal (to 6.7%) and more moderately (by 0.1 percentage point) in Belgium (to ...

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OECD annual inflation picks up to 1.8% in November 2019

Annual inflation in the OECD area picked up to 1.8 % in November, compared with 1.6% in October 2019. Annual inflation excluding food and energy also increased, marginally, to 2.1% in November compared with 2.0% in October. Food prices rose by 1.6% in November, compared with 1.4% in October while energy price deflation slowed to (minus) 1.1% in November compared with (minus) 3.0% in October. Source: OECD

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World’s Longest-Serving Ruler Must Reveal His Assets for an IMF Bailout

Equatorial Guinea’s leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the world’s longest-serving president, should declare his assets before the nation receives more financial support, according to the International Monetary Fund. The central African country needs an IMF bailout to deal with a crisis that shrank its economy by a third to $13 billion last year. Under a program agreed to last week, the state will be required to increase transparency, improve governance and implement reforms to fight corruption, Lisandro Abrego, the lender’s mission chief for Equatorial Guinea, said in an interview. “Authorities ...

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2019 in Review: The Global Economy Explained in 5 Charts

Global growth this year recorded its weakest pace since the global financial crisis a decade ago, reflecting common influences across countries and country-specific factors. Rising trade barriers and associated uncertainty weighed on business sentiment and activity globally. In some cases (advanced economies and China), these developments magnified cyclical and structural slowdowns already under way. Further pressures came from country-specific weakness in large emerging market economies such as Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia. Worsening macroeconomic stress related to tighter financial conditions (Argentina), geopolitical tensions (Iran), and social unrest (Venezuela, Libya, Yemen) ...

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Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

I am very disappointed that COP25 in Madrid did not achieve the decisive, collective and ambitious outcomes that the climate emergency demands from world leaders. Despite the commendable efforts by Chile as Chair and the impressive work by Spain as host, this unsatisfactory result reflects the current geo-political context, the predominant focus on short-term national interests and a lack of trust among countries, but this is still no excuse for inaction. Urgent action is needed to rebuild the foundations for strong collective action if we are to avoid the rapidly ...

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IMF would welcome U.S.-China tariff cuts, but wants ‘trade peace’: spokesman

The International Monetary Fund would welcome any deal to reduce U.S.-China trade tensions and tariffs, but is urging the world’s two largest economies to permanently resolve their 17-month trade war, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said. “We would welcome any steps to de-escalate the trade tensions and roll back recent trade measures, particularly if they can provide a comprehensive and lasting agreement,” Rice told a regular trade briefing. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva “has been using the phrase, ‘we need to move from trade truce to trade peace.'” Source: Reuters (Reporting ...

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IMF fully supports ECB’s decision to maintain strong monetary accommodation

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it fully supports the European Central Bank’s decision to leave its monetary policy unchanged for now. “The IMF staff firmly supports maintaining strong monetary accommodation until the ECB’s medium-term inflationary objective is met,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters at a regular briefing. The ECB on Thursday left policy unchanged at the first meeting of its new president, Christine Lagarde. With Thursday’s decision, the ECB’s rate on bank overnight deposits, which is currently its primary interest rate tool, remains at a record low ...

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GDP growth slows in most G20 economies in third quarter of 2019

Growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) in the G20 area as a whole was stable at 0.7% in the third quarter of 2019, according to provisional estimates, but it slowed in the majority of G20 economies. GDP contracted in South Africa (by 0.1%, following growth of 0.8% in the previous quarter). Growth also slowed significantly in Korea and Turkey (to 0.4%, from 1.0% in both countries) and Canada (to 0.3%, from 0.9%), more moderately in Australia (to 0.4%, from 0.6%), and marginally in China (to 1.5%, from 1.6%), Indonesia ...

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CLIs continue to point to below-trend growth in most major economies

Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend six to nine months ahead, continue to point to stable growth momentum in the OECD area as a whole but with growth remaining below trend in all major OECD countries and most large emerging economies. Stable growth momentum is anticipated in the euro area as a whole, including France and Italy, as well as in Japan and Canada. Signs of stabilising growth momentum are now also emerging in the United States, Germany and the United ...

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Africa Borrowing Like It’s the 1990s Worries the IMF

Record commodity prices and low global interest rates have encouraged African countries to borrow like they did in the 1990s, but now some are struggling to pay up as their revenue slows along with economic growth. Government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa has doubled in the past decade, heading back toward the level it reached at the turn of the century. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in November this is a cause for concern. Of the 54 countries on the continent, ...

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Tax revenues have reached a plateau

Tax revenues in advanced economies reached a plateau during 2018, with almost no change seen since 2017, according to new OECD research. This ends the trend of annual increases in the tax-to-GDP ratio seen since the financial crisis. The 2019 edition of the OECD’s annual Revenue Statistics publication shows that the OECD average tax-to-GDP ratio was 34.3% in 2018, virtually unchanged since the 34.2% in 2017. Major reforms to personal and corporate taxes in the United States prompted a significant drop in tax revenues, which fell from 26.8% of GDP ...

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France urges U.S. to back OECD on tax, proposes minimum rate

France urged the United States on Tuesday to drop reservations towards an OECD reform of decades-old international tax rules and proposed setting a minimum corporate tax rate of 12.5%. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is in the middle of the biggest rewrite of international tax rules dating from the 1920s. Many governments consider the existing rules to be woefully ill-adapted for the digital age, allowing big internet giants to book revenues in low-tax countries like Ireland regardless where the paying customer is. The overhaul would in particular define ...

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IMF Cuts Japan’s GDP Forecast for Third Time in 2019

The International Monetary Fund called on Japan’s government and the Bank of Japan to cooperate more in support of the economy as it cut its 2019 growth forecast for the third time this year amid heightened global risks. Speaking at the conclusion of the fund’s annual mission to review Japan’s economy, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva essentially gave a green light for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned stimulus package as she called for continued spending to prop up growth and prices. Japan’s Abe Calls for Extra Spending for Disaster Relief, ...

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