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Mr. Ahmed I Al-Darwish, Naif Alghaith, Mr. Alberto Behar, Mr. Tim Callen, Mr. Pragyan Deb, Mr. Amgad Hegazy, Padamja Khandelwal, Ms. Malika Pant, and Mr. Haonan Qu
Saudi Arabia: Tackling Emerging Economic Challenges to Sustain Strong Growth
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, and Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich

Abstract

Energy subsidies have wide-ranging economic consequences. Although they are aimed at protecting consumers, subsidies aggravate fiscal imbalances, crowd out priority public spending, and depress private investment, including in the energy sector. Subsidies also distort resource allocation by encouraging excessive energy consumption, artificially promoting capital-intensive industries, reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy, and accelerating the depletion of natural resources. Most subsidy benefits are captured by higher-income households, reinforcing inequality. Even future generations are affected through the damaging effects of increased energy consumption on global warming. This book provides (1) the most comprehensive estimates of energy subsidies currently available for 176 countries and (2) an analysis of “how to do” energy subsidy reform, drawing on insights from 22 country case studies undertaken by the IMF staff and analyses carried out by other institutions.

International Monetary Fund
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
Mrs. Sage De Clerck and Tobias Wickens

Abstract

The 2007–09 international financial crisis underscored the importance of reliable and timely statistics on the general government and public sectors. Government finance statistics are a basis for fiscal analysis and they play a vital role in developing and monitoring sound fiscal programs and in conducting surveillance of economic policies. The Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 represents a major step forward in clarifying the standards for compiling and presenting fiscal statistics and strengthens the worldwide effort to improve public sector reporting and transparency.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Iraq is an oil-dependent and state-dominated fragile economy that has been hit hard by the conflict with ISIS and the fall in oil prices. The conflict has hurt the economy through displacement and impoverishment of millions of people, and destruction of infrastructure and assets. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with ambitious but necessary fiscal adjustment while maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg, which provides a key nominal anchor in a highly uncertain environment.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The global financial crisis of recent years and the associated large fiscal deficits and debt levels that have impacted many countries underscores the importance of reliable and timely government statistics and, more broadly, public sector debt as a critical element in countries fiscal and external sustainability. Public Sector Debt Statistics is the first international guide of its kind, and its primary objectives are to improve the quality and timeliness of key debt statistics and promote a convergence of recording practices to foster international comparability and as a reference for national compilers and users for compiling and disseminating these data. Like other statistical guides published by the IMF, this one was prepared in consultation with countries and international agencies, including the nine organizations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Finance Statistics (TFFS). The guide's preparation was based on the broad range of experience of our institutions and benefitted from consultation with national compilers of government finance and public sector debt statistics. The guide's concepts are harmonized with those of the System of National Accounts (2008) and the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, Sixth Edition.

Ruchir Agarwal and Ms. Gita Gopinath
Urgent steps are needed to arrest the rising human toll and economic strain from the COVID-19 pandemic that are exacerbating already-diverging recoveries. Pandemic policy is also economic policy as there is no durable end to the economic crisis without an end to the health crisis. Building on existing initiatives, this paper proposes pragmatic actions at the national and multilateral level to expeditiously defeat the pandemic. The proposal targets: (1) vaccinating at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022, (2) tracking and insuring against downside risks, and (3) ensuring widespread testing and tracing, maintaining adequate stocks of therapeutics, and enforcing public health measures in places where vaccine coverage is low. The benefits of such measures at about $9 trillion far outweigh the costs which are estimated to be around $50 billion—of which $35 billion should be paid by grants from donors and the residual by national governments potentially with the support of concessional financing from bilateral and multilateral agencies. The grant funding gap identified by the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator amounts to about $22 billion, which the G20 recognizes as important to address. This leaves an estimated $13 billion in additional grant contributions needed to finance our proposal. Importantly, the strategy requires global cooperation to secure upfront financing, upfront vaccine donations, and at-risk investment to insure against downside risks for the world.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The upswing in global investment and trade continued in the second half of 2017. At 3.8 percent, global growth in 2017 was the fastest since 2011. With financial conditions still supportive, global growth is expected to tick up to a 3.9 percent rate in both 2018 and 2019. Advanced economies will grow faster than potential this year and next; euro area economies are set to narrow excess capacity with support from accommodative monetary policy, and expansionary fiscal policy will drive the US economy above full employment. Aggregate growth in emerging market and developing economies is projected to firm further, with continued strong growth in emerging Asia and Europe and a modest upswing in commodity exporters after three years of weak performance. Global growth, however, is projected to soften beyond the next couple of years, with most advanced economies likely returning to potential growth rates well below precrisis averages. Growth is projected to remain subpar in several emerging market and developing economies, including in some commodity exporters that continue to face substantial fiscal consolidation needs. Beyond the next few quarters risks clearly lean to the downside. The current recovery offers a window of opportunity to advance policies and reforms that secure the current upswing and raise medium-term growth to the benefit of all.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The pace of recovery has disappointed in recent years, and downside risks have increased, including from heightened geopolitical tensions. These increased risks make it a priority to raise actual and potential growth. In a number of economies, an increase in public infrastructure investment can also provide support to demand and help boost potential output. And in advanced economies as well as emerging and developing economies there is a general, urgent need for structural reforms to strengthen growth potential or make growth more sustainable. The four individual chapters examine the overall global outlook, the prospects for individual countries and regions, the benefits of increased public infrastructure investment in terms of raising output, and the extent to which global imbalances have narrowed significantly since their peak in 2006.