Commodity prices are very persistent. During booms we seem to forget that they have always (yes, always) been followed by busts (see Figure 1). And during a slump we forget that a boom is surely going to come along— we just have to wait long enough. What determines such booms and busts? Was the last boom exceptional? Where are prices today relative to long-run trends? And the … [Read more...] about Commodity Prices: over 100 Years of Booms and Busts…
Macroeconomics and Finance
Financial inclusion is necessary for healthy societies The financial inclusion strategies that several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are adopting and incorporating into their national development policies aim at increasing access to and use of financial services for segments of the population that have been excluded or underserved by financial systems. … [Read more...] about What Good Is Capital Without Customers?
The word “adjustment” in Latin America means different things to different people. The term “painless” adjustment may strike some as populist while others may perceive it as naive. But the fact is that, as shown in the IDB’s recently published Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report, in many countries making a fiscal adjustment is a good idea. Exploring ways to make … [Read more...] about Four Ways to Adjust Painlessly
The fiscal outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean is reminiscent of the story of Joseph, arguably the first documented fiscal policy advisor in the history of civilization. Asked to interpret the famous Egyptian Pharaoh’s dream, in which seven ugly and gaunt cows devoured seven fine and fat cows, Joseph predicted seven years of abundance to be followed by seven years of … [Read more...] about Joseph and the Seven Cows: A Parable for Latin America and the Caribbean
Most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are running significant structural fiscal deficits and debt levels are rising. At current rates of growth, the unpleasant arithmetic of debt sustainability indicates that unless something changes the continent will soon lose its much heralded “improved fundamentals” and may even risk becoming the “continent of crises” once … [Read more...] about Time to Adjust: But How, and When?