The consumer price index (CPI) measures the rate at which the prices of consumer goods and services are changing over time. It is a key statistic for economic and social policymaking and has substantial and wide-ranging implications for governments, businesses, and households. This important and comprehensive Manual provides guidelines for statistical offices and other agencies responsible for constructing CPIs, and explains in-depth the methods that are used to calculate a CPI. It also examines the underlying economic and statistical concepts and principles needed for making choices in efficient and cost-effective ways, and for appreciating the full implications of those choices.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
'Commodity Boom: How Long Will It Last?' asks how economies will fare after the record-high prices of key raw materials posted in recent months, which build on dramatic increases from their lows of 2000. The lead article warns that the impact on headline inflation levels might persist throughout 2008, even without further commodity price hikes. It urges policymakers to ensure efficient functioning of market forces at the global level, and to move swiftly to protect the poorest. Another article addresses the effects of climate change on agriculture, warning that farm production will fall dramatically—especially in developing countries—if steps are not taken to curb carbon emissions. Other articles on this theme argue that policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions need not hobble economies, and that financial markets can help address climate change. 'People in Economics' profiles John Taylor; 'Picture This' says the global energy system is on an increasingly unsustainable path; 'Country Focus' spotlights South Africa; and 'Straight Talk' examines early warnings provided by credit derivatives. Also in this issue, articles examine China's increasing economic engagement with Africa, and the outsourcing of service jobs to other countries.
By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
The global expansion is losing speed in the face of a major financial crisis. The slowdown has been greatest in the advanced economies, particularly in the United States, where the housing market correction continues to exacerbate financial stress. The emerging and developing economies have so far been less affected by fi nancial market developments and have continued to grow at a rapid pace, led by China and India, although activity is beginning to slow in some countries. At the same time, headline infl ation has increased around the world, boosted by the continuing buoyancy of food and energy prices. Policymakers around the world are facing a diverse and fast-moving set of challenges, and although each country's circumstances differ, in an increasingly multipolar world it will be essential to meet these challenges broadly, taking full account of cross-border interactions. The World Economic Outlook (WEO) presents the IMF staff's analysis and projections of economic developments at the global level, in major country groups (classified by region, stage of development, etc.), and in many individual countries. It focuses on major economic policy issues as well as on the analysis of economic developments and prospects. It is usually prepared twice a year, as documentation for meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, and forms the main instrument of the IMF's global surveillance activities.
The April 2012 edition of the World Economic Outlook assesses the prospects for the global economy, which has gradually strengthened after a major setback during 2011. The threat of a sharp global slowdown eased with improved activity in the United States and better policies in the euro area. Weak recovery will likely resume in the major advanced economies, and activity will remain relatively solid in most emerging and developing economies. However, recent improvements are very fragile. Policymakers must calibrate policies to support growth in the near term and must implement fundamental changes to achieve healthy growth in the medium term. Chapter 3 examines how policies directed at real estate markets can accelerate the improvement of household balance sheets and thus support otherwise anemic consumption. Chapter 4 examines how swings in commodity prices affect commodity exporting economies, many of which have experienced a decade of good growth. With commodity prices unlikely to continue growing at the recent elevated pace, however, these economies may have to adapt their fiscal and other policies to lower potential output growth in the future.
Global activity has broadly strengthened and is expected to improve further in 2014–15, according to the April 2014 WEO, with much of the impetus for growth coming from advanced economies. Although downside risks have diminished overall, lower-than-expected inflation poses risks for advanced economies, there is increased financial volatility in emerging market economies, and increases in the cost of capital will likely dampen investment and weigh on growth. Advanced economy policymakers need to avoid a premature withdrawal of monetary accommodation. Emerging market economy policymakers must adopt measures to changing fundamentals, facilitate external adjustment, further monetary policy tightening, and carry out structural reforms. The report includes a chapter that analyzes the causes of worldwide decreases in real interest rates since the 1980s and concludes that global rates can be expected to rise in the medium term, but only moderately. Another chapter examines factors behind the fluctuations in emerging market economies’ growth and concludes that strong growth in China played a key role in buffering the effects of the global financial crisis in these economies.
Global economic activity is picking up with a long-awaited cyclical recovery in investment, manufacturing, and trade, according to Chapter 1 of this World Economic Outlook. World growth is expected to rise from 3.1 percent in 2016 to 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018. Stronger activity, expectations of more robust global demand, reduced deflationary pressures, and optimistic financial markets are all upside developments. But structural impediments to a stronger recovery and a balance of risks that remains tilted to the downside, especially over the medium term, remain important challenges. Chapter 2 examines how changes in external conditions may affect the pace of income convergence between advanced and emerging market and developing economies. Chapter 3 looks at the declining share of income that goes to labor, including the root causes and how the trend affects inequality. Overall, this report stresses the need for credible strategies in advanced economies and in those whose markets are emerging and developing to tackle a number of common challenges in an integrated global economy.