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 growth remains moderate and uneven, and a number of complex forces are shaping the outlook. These include medium- and long-term trends, global shocks, and many country- or region-specific factors. The April 2015 WEO examines the causes and implications of recent trends, including lower oil prices, which are providing a boost to growth globally and in many oil-importing countries but are weighing on activity in oil-exporting countries, and substantial changes in exchange rates for major currencies, reflecting variations in country growth rates and in exchange rate policies and the lower price of oil. Additionally, analytical chapters explore the growth rate of potential output across advanced and emerging market economies, assessing its recent track and likely future course; and the performance of private fixed investment in advanced economies, which has featured prominently in the public policy debate in recent years, focusing on the role of overall economic weakness in accounting for this performance.
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.