Major macroeconomic realignments are affecting prospects differentially across the world’s countries and regions. The April 2016 WEO examines the causes and implications of these realignments—including the slowdown and rebalancing in China, a further decline in commodity prices, a related slowdown in investment and trade, and declining capital flows to emerging market and developing economies—which are generating substantial uncertainty and affecting the outlook for the global economy. Additionally, analytical chapters examine the slowdown in capital flows to emerging market economies since their 2010 peak—its main characteristics, how it compares with past slowdowns, the factors that are driving it, and whether exchange rate flexibility has changed the dynamics of the capital inflow cycle—and assess whether product and labor market reforms can improve the economic outlook in advanced economies, looking at the recent evolution and scope for further reform, the channels through which reforms affect economic activity under strong versus weak economic conditions, reforms’ short- to medium-term macroeconomic effects, and sequencing of reforms and coordination with other policies to maximize their potential quantitative economic benefits. A special feature analyzes in depth the energy transition in an era of low fossil fuel prices.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
'Wising Up to the Costs of Aging' looks at how falling fertility and rising life expectancy have combined to threaten the ability of many countries to provide a decent standard of living for the old without imposing a crushing burden on the young. In our lead article, Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason say that while population aging in rich industrial countries as well as in some middle- and lower-income countries will challenge public and private budgets in many ways, a combination of reduced consumption, postponed retirement, increased asset holdings, and greater investment in human capital should make it possible to meet this challenge without catastrophic consequences. Neil Howe and Richard Jackson publish a fascinating ranking of which countries are best and worst prepared to meet the needs of the growing wave of retirees. We also have articles on a broad range of current topics, including Middle East unemployment, the economic repercussions of the earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan, and banking in offshore financial centers such as the Cayman Islands. Carmen Reinhart and Jacob Kirkegaard look at how governments are finding ways to manipulate markets to hold down the cost of financing huge public debts, and, in Straight Talk, the IMF’s Min Zhu talks about the long-term challenges now facing emerging markets. Prakash Loungani speaks to Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof, and we discuss with three other laureates-Michael Spence, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Solow-what the global economic crisis has taught us. Back to Basics explains economic models, and Picture This highlights the great variations in the cost of sending money back home.