Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to navigate an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized decades of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.
Global growth for 2018–19 is projected to remain steady at its 2017 level, but its pace is less vigorous than projected in April and it has become less balanced. Downside risks to global growth have risen in the past six months and the potential for upside surprises has receded.
Global growth is projected at 3.7 percent for 2018–19—0.2 percentage point lower for both years than forecast in April. The downward revision reflects surprises that suppressed activity in early 2018 in some major advanced economies, the negative effects of the
trade measures implemented or approved between April and mid-September, as well as a weaker outlook for some key emerging market and developing economies arising from country-specific factors, tighter financial conditions, geopolitical tensions, and higher oil import bills.
The balance of risks to the global growth forecast has shifted to the downside in a context of elevated policy uncertainty. Several of the downside risks highlighted in the April 2018 World Economic Outlook (WEO)—such as rising trade barriers and a reversal of capital flows to emerging market economies with weaker fundamentals and higher political risk—have become more pronounced or have partially materialized. Meanwhile, the potential
for upside surprises has receded, given the tightening of financial conditions in some parts of the world, higher trade costs, slow implementation of reforms recommended in the past, and waning growth momentum.
According to the October 2016 "World Economic Outlook," global growth is projected to slow to 3.1 percent in 2016 before recovering to 3.4 percent in 2017. The forecast, revised down by 0.1 percentage point for 2016 and 2017 relative to April’s report, reflects a more subdued outlook for advanced economies following the June U.K. vote in favor of leaving the European Union (Brexit) and weaker-than-expected growth in the United States. These developments have put further downward pressure on global interest rates, as monetary policy is now expected to remain accommodative for longer. Although the market reaction to the Brexit shock was reassuringly orderly, the ultimate impact remains very unclear, as the fate of institutional and trade arrangements between the United Kingdom and the European Union is uncertain. Financial market sentiment toward emerging market economies has improved with expectations of lower interest rates in advanced economies, reduced concern about China’s near-term prospects following policy support to growth, and some firming of commodity prices. But prospects differ sharply across countries and regions, with emerging Asia in general and India in particular showing robust growth and sub-Saharan Africa experiencing a sharp slowdown. In advanced economies, a subdued outlook subject to sizable uncertainty and downside risks may fuel further political discontent, with anti-integration policy platforms gaining more traction. Several emerging market and developing economies still face daunting policy challenges in adjusting to weaker commodity prices. These worrisome prospects make the need for a broad-based policy response to raise growth and manage vulnerabilities more urgent than ever.
Global activity has broadly strengthened and is expected to improve further in 2014–15, according to the April 2014 WEO, with much of the impetus for growth coming from advanced economies. Although downside risks have diminished overall, lower-than-expected inflation poses risks for advanced economies, there is increased financial volatility in emerging market economies, and increases in the cost of capital will likely dampen investment and weigh on growth. Advanced economy policymakers need to avoid a premature withdrawal of monetary accommodation. Emerging market economy policymakers must adopt measures to changing fundamentals, facilitate external adjustment, further monetary policy tightening, and carry out structural reforms. The report includes a chapter that analyzes the causes of worldwide decreases in real interest rates since the 1980s and concludes that global rates can be expected to rise in the medium term, but only moderately. Another chapter examines factors behind the fluctuations in emerging market economies’ growth and concludes that strong growth in China played a key role in buffering the effects of the global financial crisis in these economies.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, Mr. Karl F Habermeier, Mr. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli, and Mr. Fabian Valencia
The proposed SDN would take stock of the current debate on the shape that monetary policy should take after the crisis. It revisits the pros and cons of expanding the objectives of monetary policy, the merits of turning unconventional policies into conventional ones, how to make monetary policy frameworks more resilient to the risk of being constrained by the zero-lower bound going forward, and the institutional challenges to preserve central bank independence with regards to monetary policy, while allowing adequate government oversight over central banks’ new responsibilities. It will draw policy conclusions where consensus has been reached, and highlight the areas where more work is needed to get more granular policy advice.
The World Economic Outlook (WEO) presents the IMF’s leading economists’ analyses of global economic developments during the near and medium terms. It is a respected, one-stop, trusted resource offering remarkable insight, balance, and perspective to decision makers and policymakers worldwide. Published twice yearly, the World Economic Outlook presents the outlook for growth, inflation, trade, employment, and other economic developments in a clear, practical format. Each WEO considers the issues affecting advanced, emerging market, and developing economies. Central bankers, economists, Financial institutions, business leaders, governments, think tanks, and researchers eagerly await this unique investigation of what’s happening and what’s ahead.
Mr. Olivier J Blanchard, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Paolo Mauro
This is a Chinese translation of "Rethinking Macro Policy II" (SDN/13/03). This note explores how the economic thinking about macroeconomic management has evolved since the crisis began. It discusses developments in monetary policy, including unconventional measures; the challenges associated with increased public debt; and the policy potential, risks, and institutional challenges associated with new macroprudential measures. Rationale: The note contributes to the ongoing debate on several aspects of macroeconomic policy. It follows up on the earlier “Rethinking” paper, refining the analysis in light of the events of the past two years. Given the relatively fluid state of the debate (e.g., recent challenges to central bank independence), it is useful to highlight that while many of the tenets of the pre-crisis consensus have been challenged, others (such as the desirability of central bank independence) remain valid.
Global growth is in low gear, and the drivers of activity are changing. These dynamics raise new policy challenges. Advanced economies are growing again but must continue financial sector repair, pursue fiscal consolidation, and spur job growth. Emerging market economies face the dual challenges of slowing growth and tighter global financial conditions. This issue of the World Economic Outlook examines the potential spillovers from these transitions and the appropriate policy responses. Chapter 3 explores how output comovements are influenced by policy and financial shocks, growth surprises, and other linkages. Chapter 4 assesses why certain emerging market economies were able to avoid the classical boom-and-bust cycle in the face of volatile capital flows during the global financial crisis.
By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.
The October 2012 World Economic Outlook (WEO) assesses the prospects for the global recovery in light of such risks as the ongoing euro area crisis and the “fiscal cliff” facing U.S. policymakers. Reducing the risks to the medium-term outlook implies reducing public debt in the major advanced economies, and Chapter 3 explores 100 years of history of dealing with public debt overhangs. In emerging market and developing economies, activity has been slowed by policy tightening in response to capacity constraints, weaker demand from advanced economies, and country-specific factors, but policy improvements have raised these economies’ resilience to shocks, an issue explored in depth in Chapter 4.