International Monetary Fund
Breaking through zero: New options for monetary expansion in the EU
After dropping interest rates close to zero and pumping 2.6 trillion euros into Europe’s economy through debt purchases, is the European Central Bank out of ammunition? Not necessarily. Through its “targeted longer-term refinancing operations” (TILTROs), the ECB is planning to use negative interest rates to pay commercial banks to make loans. And economists at the IMF have come up with even more radical proposals to eliminate or restrict cash to allow deeply negative interest rates.
The Gambia’s critical moment
Two years ago, The Gambia managed to oust a dictator through a democratic election. It has opened up politically and economically, but the benefits are dribbling in slowly. Now its president, Adama Barrow, must decide whether to honor an agreement to stay in power for only three years or to serve out his constitutionally guaranteed term of five years. Both options pose risks for this West African state just getting back on its feet.
Venezuela: How not to run an oil sector
Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves but it is not even one of the top 10 global oil producers – and output is falling sharply. Socialist, resource-nationalist policies implemented by former President Hugo Chavez – and continued by President Nicolas Maduro today – are behind the country’s poor performance. With an utter economic dependence on oil, the country has become destitute. Only a drastic change in policy can reverse Venezuela’s course.
Togo faces two years of turmoil
Togo is another instance of “third termism” in sub-Saharan Africa, as a long-time ruler determined to stay in power collides with an increasingly angry populace. President Faure Gnassingbe appears to be losing his grip ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, while his well-organized opponents may be able to count on outside intervention from ECOWAS, West Africa’s regional bloc.
Dark clouds gathering over the global economy
We are probably coming to the end of a global economic recovery. But with interest rates still hovering around zero, central banks will have no ammunition to fight a recession. Meanwhile, debt is high and more trade barriers are going up. The underlying causes of global economic imbalances, and not just the symptoms, must be addressed.
Egypt: Proud and jittery as El-Sisi begins second term
With the Middle East in turmoil, the Arab world’s most populous nation and its biggest army are nowhere to be found. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi believes the path to national greatness begins at home, with economic development – not foreign entanglements. But as trouble builds up in Egypt’s immediate neighborhood, Mr. El-Sisi may not be able to stay out.
Is a European Monetary Fund needed?
In December, the European Commission will publish its proposal to establish a European Monetary Fund. From a strictly economic point of view, such a fund is not needed. There are plenty of political reasons, however, with Germany, France and the EC all pursuing their own contradictory goals. That makes it likely that an EMF will eventually be created, even though it will amount to little more than the existing European Stability Mechanism.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
Euro crisis: time for a rerun?
After Greece obtained its third bailout last summer, Europe turned its attention to other crises. But it would be naive to conclude that the sovereign debt crisis is over. The Greek drama is still far from a happy ending; in Portugal and Spain, fragile left-wing governments may want to abandon austerity and roll back reforms; France has declared a state of economic...