Friday, November 5, 2010

IMF says fiscal risks elevated in advanced economies

The global fiscal deficit will fall in 2010 compared with last year, but fiscal risks remain elevated in advanced economies, according to a report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Thursday.

The report said public debt ratios as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) were still rising rapidly in some advanced economies.

In its latest edition of the Fiscal Monitor, Fiscal Exit: From Strategy to Implementation, the IMF sees fiscal tightening becoming broader and driven by discretionary measures in 2011, in both advanced and emerging economies, but underscores the need for more clarity on exit plans and reforms to address long-term fiscal costs.

The study, released twice a year, said that "the global fiscal deficit is projected to fall from 6.75 percent of GDP in 2009 to 6 percent this year." This was in line with IMF's earlier projections.

The report also said the global fiscal deficit will fall further in 2011 to about 5 percent of GDP. About 90 percent of countries are projected to record smaller deficits next year (relative to 2010), with most of the deficit decline due to policy tightening. The projected pace of tightening is broadly appropriate, striking a balance between addressing fiscal concerns and avoiding an abrupt withdrawal of support to the nascent recovery.

The IMF noted that "risks for advanced economies, especially those already under market pressure, remain high by historical standards. Among them are the possibility of sovereign rollover problems arising, over the short to medium term, at a regional or global level, and public debt ratios stabilizing, over the longer run, at elevated levels."

"These risks are lower but not insignificant for emerging markets," it added.

The report also said risks arising from macroeconomic uncertainty were generally higher than six months ago, amid concerns that the global recovery might be losing steam. Global market sentiment had improved toward emerging markets but worsened toward those advanced economies that were already under pressure in May 2010, it said.

Source: Xinhua
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