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February 2018

Bank ownership: Trends and implications

Bob Cull's picture

In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), many wondered whether the strong pre-crisis trend toward greater internationalization in banking would be reversed and, more immediately, whether local state-owned banks had to assume a larger role in restoring banking stability and ensuring the delivery of credit. We revisit those conjectures in the light of new data on bank ownership and research on the post-Crisis period (Cull, Martinez Peria, and Verrier, 2018).

What’s new in social protection – February edition

Ugo Gentilini's picture

Can cash transfers increase trust that citizens bestow upon their government… and even help it work a little better? Yes they can, according to a new paper (and accompanying blog) by Evans, Kosec and Holtemeyer. In 2010, Tanzania launched a pilot conditional cash transfer program, with a randomized roll-out in half of a set of 80 villages. After 2.5 years of transfers, beneficiaries – relative to potential beneficiaries in the waitlisted villages – report a stronger belief that their elected village leaders can be trusted in general, but not their appointed bureaucrats. Beneficiaries are more likely to report that local government leaders take citizens’ concerns into account, and that their honesty has improved over time. Notably, this increased trust does not translate into political activity. Beneficiary households are no more likely to vote in Village Council elections, or attend more Village Council meetings. The research even suggests that the program improves record keeping in the government, but only in sectors linked to transfers (education and health).

Improving public service delivery through local collective action

Xavier Gine's picture

In the past two decades, development policy has aimed to involve communities in the development process by encouraging the active participation of communities in the design and implementation of projects or the allocation of local resources. The World Bank alone has provided more than $85 billion for participatory development since the early 2000s.

The economic outlook for East Asia and the Pacific in six charts: Strong growth, easing moderately

Ekaterine T. Vashakmadze's picture
Growth in the EAP region strengthened marginally to 6.4 percent in 2017, 0.2 percentage point higher than expected. The region continued to be a major driver of global growth, accounting for more than a third of it in 2017, mostly because of China’s significant contribution. Regional growth is projected to gradually slow to 6.2 percent on average in 2018-20. That is broadly in line with previous forecasts, with the structural slowdown in China outweighing a modest further cyclical pickup in the rest of the region.

Wrong criticisms of Doing Business

Shanta Devarajan's picture

While I welcome criticism and comments on the Doing Business (DB) report—or any other data and research product of the World Bank, for that matter—I find Justin Sandefur’s and Divyanshi Wadhwa’s (SW) recent blog posts on DB in Chile and India neither enlightening nor useful. 

Relatively stable: The outlook for growth in emerging and developing Europe and Central Asia in five charts

Yoki Okawa's picture
Growth in the emerging and developing Europe and Central Asia region is estimated to have reached 3.8 percent in 2017, the strongest performance since 2011, helped by stabilizing commodity prices and strong demand from the Euro Zone. In addition, economies of the region rebounded from country-specific shocks in 2016. Growth is expected to moderate in 2018 to 2.9 percent.

Most commodity prices surged in January, led by energy–Pink Sheet

John Baffes's picture
Energy commodity prices surged 9 percent in January, the seventh monthly gain in a row, led by an almost 30 percent increase in U.S. natural gas prices, the World Bank’s Pink Sheet reported.

Non-energy prices made solid advances as well, with metals and minerals prices gaining more than 5 percent, also the seventh consecutive monthly increase, and a five-year high. Nickel and zinc, up 12 and 8 percent respectively, led the rise.

Precious metals climbed nearly 6 percent, with similar gains in gold and silver.

Agricultural prices, which had been stable for nearly 2 years, increased more than 2 percent, led by advances in rice (+9 percent) and cotton (+5 percent). Fertilizer prices rose over 1 percent, led by DAP (+3 percent) and Urea (+2 percent).

The Pink Sheet is a monthly report that monitors commodity price movements.
 
All commodity price indexes gained in January, led by energy
Source: World Bank.

Gathering momentum: Growth prospects in Latin America and the Caribbean in five charts

Dana Vorisek's picture
A cyclical growth recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean began in 2017. The upturn in regional growth, from -1.5 percent in 2016 to 0.9 percent in 2017, reflects broadly improving conditions in Brazil, which emerged from a deep, two-year-long recession in the first half of the year, and in Argentina, where growth rebounded after contracting in 2016. The outlook for accelerating regional growth is supported by strengthening private consumption and investment, particularly in commodity exporting countries. Domestic demand is expected to respond favorably to strengthening confidence, relatively low inflation, and global financing conditions that, while somewhat tighter, are still supportive.

Real activity indicators in Brazil improved markedly in 2017 

Brazil’s recovery is expected to solidify in 2018. The economy is anticipated to grow 2 percent as improving labor conditions and low inflation support private consumption, and as policy conditions become more supportive of investment.
 
Industrial Production and Retail Trade, Brazil
Sources: Haver Analytics, World Bank.
Notes: Lines show 3-month moving averages using non-seasonally-adjusted data. Last observation is October 2017.