IMF frets on sidelines while global economic divides widen
As crisis-weary finance ministers and central bank governors from around the world kick back in Washington this week, on the sidelines of the twice-yearly International Monetary Fund meetings, they could be excused for feeling a tinge of optimism in the spring sunshine.
In the US, the bombed-out housing market is bouncing back; the stock market has hit fresh all-time highs; and there are hints that the Federal Reserve is starting to think about slowing the pace of its drastic quantitative easing programme. The latest data on consumer spending last week raised questions about how solid the recovery is – but there is hope.
Japan’s experiment with its radical new policy of Abenomics – the attack on deflation launched by new prime minister Shinzo Abe – may be in its early stages, but at least the country’s new policymakers have a plan. And even in the eurozone, where keeping the single currency afloat still demands relentless wrangling, the mood of imminent crisis has abated since the bailout with Cyprus was agreed. [full story…]