Overall current account deficits and surpluses widened in 2020 to 3.2 percent of world GDP. The IMF’s multilateral approach suggests that global excessive imbalanceswere broadly unchanged in 2020 at about 1.2 percent of world GDP. The external outlook for2021 is highly uncertain given the divergent economic prospects across countries.
The global economy is projected to grow 6.0 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022.The 2021 global forecast is unchanged from the April 2021 WEO, but with offsetting revisions. Prospects for emerging market and developing economies have been marked down for 2021, especially for Emerging Asia. By contrast, the forecast for advanced economies is revised up. These revisions reflect pandemic developments and changes in policy support.
The Global Informal Workforce is a fresh look at the informal economy around the world and its impact on the macroeconomy. The book covers interactions between the informal economy, labor and product markets, gender equality, fiscal institutions and outcomes, social protection, and financial inclusion. Informality is a widespread and persistent phenomenon that affects how fast economies can grow, develop, and provide decent economic opportunities for their populations. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to uncover the vulnerabilities of the informal workforce.
This issue of Finance & Development focuses on the road ahead for emerging markets, a label frequently applied to economies in the middle—neither advanced nor low-income. Because of their growing systemic relevance, this group of countries helps anchor global stability. Yet, as we drill down and define their characteristics, we find a widely diverse set of economies of varying sizes and growth rates that face different prospects, priorities, and challenges.
In a newly released Staff Discussion Note, Ruchir Agarwal and Gita Gopinath outline a $50 billion proposal to end the pandemic faster, with benefits of about $9 trillion for the global economy. The proposal requires upfront financing, upfront vaccine donations, at-risk investment in vaccine production, and international coordination. Read the paper here.
Extraordinary policy measures have eased financial conditions and supported the economy, helping to contain financial stability risks. Chapter 1 warns that there is a pressing need to act to avoid a legacy of vulnerabilities while avoiding a broad tightening of financial conditions. Actions taken during the pandemic may have unintended consequences such as stretched valuations and rising financial vulnerabilities. The recovery is also expected to be asynchronous and divergent between advanced and emerging market economies.
This report overviews countries' fiscal actions in response to COVID-19 and discusses how governments' policies should adapt to get ahead of the pandemic and set the stage for a greener, fairer, and more durable recovery. Global vaccination should be scaled up as it can save lives and will eventually pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity. Until the pandemic is brought under control globally, fiscal policies must remain flexible and supportive, while keeping debt at a manageable level over the long term.