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International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
Ensuring economic sustainability is key to achieving the IMF’s surveillance mandate of maintaining present and prospective balance of payments and domestic stability, assuring orderly exchange arrangements, and promoting a stable system of exchange rates. A good understanding of issues related to economic sustainability is thus essential for the IMF to provide effective surveillance and policy advice, while it requires a broad perspective and a long time horizon. With respect to the IMF’s surveillance mandate, the principle of macro-criticality, which guides the IMF’s engagement with its members, is sufficiently flexible and broad, allowing the IMF to cover issues related to economic sustainability. At the same time, given the wide range of issues that are related to economic sustainability, IMF surveillance needs to be selective and focused, with the choice of issues made on a case-by-case basis, considering country circumstances. It also needs to leverage the expertise of other institutions when necessary. The IMF and other institutions have advanced work to enhance analytical frameworks and indicators related to economic sustainability, and this should continue.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department


The IMF’s 2019 External Sector Report shows that global current account balances stand at about 3 percent of global GDP. Of this, about 35–45 percent are now deemed excessive. Meanwhile, net credit and debtor positions are at historical peaks and about four times larger than in the early 1990s. Short-term financing risks from the current configuration of external imbalances are generally contained, as debtor positions are concentrated in reserve-currency-issuing advanced economies. An intensification of trade tensions or a disorderly Brexit outcome—with further repercussions for global growth and risk aversion—could, however, affect other economies that are highly dependent on foreign demand and external financing. With output near potential in most systemic economies, a well-calibrated macroeconomic and structural policy mix is necessary to support rebalancing. Recent trade policy actions are weighing on global trade flows, investment, and growth, including through confidence effects and the disruption of global supply chains, with no discernible impact on external imbalances thus far.

International Monetary Fund


The External Sector Report presents a methodologically consistent assessment of the exchange rates, current accounts, reserves, capital flows, and external balance sheets of the world’s largest economies. The 2018 edition includes an analytical assessment of how trade costs and related policy barriers drive excess global imbalances.

Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau
Diebold and Yilmaz (2015) recently introduced variance decomposition networks as tools for quantifying and ranking the systemic risk of individual firms. The nature of these networks and their implied rankings depend on the choice decomposition method. The standard choice is the order invariant generalized forecast error variance decomposition of Pesaran and Shin (1998). The shares of the forecast error variation, however, do not add to unity, making difficult to compare risk ratings and risks contributions at two different points in time. As a solution, this paper suggests using the Lanne-Nyberg (2016) decomposition, which shares the order invariance property. To illustrate the differences between both decomposition methods, I analyzed the global financial system during 2001 – 2016. The analysis shows that different decomposition methods yield substantially different systemic risk and vulnerability rankings. This suggests caution is warranted when using rankings and risk contributions for guiding financial regulation and economic policy.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This chapter takes stock of the world’s development agenda, examining how to best seize this opportunity. Government officials and representatives from civil society organizations, donor groups, and the private sector are scheduled to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to secure the financing needed to lift millions out of extreme poverty. Participants at the United Nations summit on climate change in Paris are expected to work toward a set of environmental targets aimed at ensuring a sustainable future. The chapter also presents an argument that the world needs strong deals in Addis Ababa on financing and in Paris on climate to deliver sustainable progress.