IMF’s Chief Economist Discusses Concerns and Fiscal Recommendations
Insights from Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas on Bond Sell-off and Fiscal Policy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is closely monitoring recent developments in the global bond market following a notable selloff of U.S. bonds. According to the IMF’s Chief Economist, this shift raises concerns about the tightening of financial conditions and other potential risks affecting the global economy.
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the IMF’s Chief Economist, commented on the U.S. bond selloff, suggesting that it may not necessarily signal significant worries about future interest rate hikes or heightened long-term risks. Instead, he posited that the selloff could be attributed to a supply-demand imbalance.
“It might just reflect the fact that there is more of it, and so the price is adjusting,” Gourinchas explained in an interview regarding the IMF’s quarterly global outlook update, which was unveiled during the annual IMF and World Bank meetings held in Marrakech, Morocco.
Gourinchas also noted that despite the U.S. bond market’s fluctuations, there hasn’t been a substantial decline in risk appetite in equity and credit markets. He found this discrepancy somewhat perplexing and raised questions about the identity of potential buyers in a context where the U.S. government is issuing a significant volume of bonds.
In light of the strong economic performance, the subsiding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the absence of wartime conditions, the IMF has been advocating for the United States to consider easing fiscal spending.
“In good times, that’s a time to maybe reduce the deficit so that you can expand them when times are bad,” Gourinchas recommended.
He also highlighted the fact that financial markets are currently tasked with absorbing substantial debt issuance, which may result in a diminished appetite for such debt. Importantly, this reduced appetite does not necessarily stem from heightened risk but rather the sheer quantity of debt available.
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas’s insights shed light on the evolving dynamics of the bond market and the IMF’s stance on fiscal policy, offering valuable perspectives on the global economic landscape.