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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic plunged the world into a sharp recession in the first half of 2020. Service sector activity, which relies on person-to-person contact, took a big hit. Manufacturing also weakened substantially, and global trade plummeted. Global growth is projected at –4.4 percent in 2020, 0.6 percentage points above the June 2020 World Economic Outlook Update forecast. The upgrade reflects a better second quarter outturn in major countries that eased lockdowns earlier than expected. The recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021 global growth is projected at 5.2 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than projected in June 2020, reflecting the persistence of social distancing into 2021.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

This chapter uses new data and novel modeling techniques to examine the effect of containment and policy measures in affecting the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

This chapter shows, based on high-frequency labor surveys, that inequality is increasing further during the COVID-19 pandemic because job losses have been concentrated among low-income workers. Moreover, the experience from past pandemics suggests that the adverse distributional effects could be even larger in the medium term—including, looking ahead, through the displacement of low-skilled workers by robots—and that the resulting higher levels of inequality could undermine social cohesion. This is especially salient for countries with already high inequality going into this crisis. Information from the IMF Policy Tracker shows that many Asian governments have implemented significant fiscal policy measures to mitigate the pandemic’s effect on the most vulnerable, with the impact depending on the initial coverage of safety nets, fiscal space, and degree of informality and digitalization. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the model-based analysis shows that policies targeted to where needs are greatest are effective in mitigating adverse distributional consequences and underpinning overall economic activity and virus containment.

Jack Baranson

This paper discusses the employment of women in developing countries in the light of recent changes in emphasis on the strategy and objectives of economic development. The paper highlights that in the vast majority of countries—both developed and developing—the role of women is still limited and their responsibilities restricted. This paper examines automated manufacturing techniques in developing economies. The operations and transactions of the special drawing account are discussed. The paper also analyzes Latin America’s prospects for overcoming historical attitudes and other constraints to achieve wider economic integration.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Digital technologies offer powerful tools that public administrations can leverage on to modernize and improve their operational efficiency. Bangladesh has progressively embraced GovTech solutions over the past decade and has adopted an ambitious digitalization agenda in the 8th Five-Year Plan (FYP). This note discusses Bangladesh’s digitalization advancements and presents empirical evidence in support of GovTech efforts to improve tax revenue performance, as well as health and education outcomes.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Around 60 percent of the labor force in Bangladesh is employed in industries at a high risk of automation. Furthermore, automation in advanced economies will lead to the “onshoring” of manufacturing activities that were offshored to other countries. This is a critical time for Bangladesh, and every effort must be made to upgrade the RMG sector and keep it competitive. This includes increasing the technology used in factories, upgrading the skills of workers, and improving logistics, including transportation. Efforts to increase skills are complementary to policies needed in response to automation which center on upgrading the skills of labor through education and training.

Mr. Sakai Ando, Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Bertrand Gruss, Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Koralai Kirabaeva, Nir Klein, Ana Lariau, Lucy Qian Liu, Davide Malacrino, Mr. Haonan Qu, and Alexandra Solovyeva
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused by far the largest shock to European economies since World War II. Yet, astonishingly, the EU unemployment rate had already declined to its pre-crisis level by 2021Q3, and in some countries the labor force participation rate is at a record high. This paper documents that the widespread use of job retention schemes has played an essential role in mitigating the pandemic’s impact on labor markets and thereby facilitating the restart of European economies after the initial lockdowns.