International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
“Asia Leading the Way” explores how the region is moving into a leadership role in the world economy. The issue looks at Asia’s biggest economy, China, which has relied heavily on exports to grow, and its need to increase domestic demand and to promote global integration if it is to continue to thrive. China is not the only Asian economy that heavily depends on exports and all of them might take some cues from the region’s second-biggest economy, India, which has a highly developed services sector. Min Zhu, the new Special Advisor to the IMF’s Managing Director, talks about Asia in the global economy, the global financial crisis, correcting imbalances, and the IMF in Asia. And “People in Economics” profiles an Asian crusader for corporate governance, Korea’s Jang Hasung. This issue of F&D also covers how best to reform central banking in the aftermath of the global economic crisis; the pernicious effects of derivatives trading on municipal government finances in Europe and the United States; and some ominous news for governments hoping to rely on better times to help them reduce their debt burdens. Mohamed El-Erian argues that sovereign wealth funds are well-placed to navigate the new global economy that will emerge following the world wide recession. “Back to Basics” explains supply and demand. “Data Spotlight” explores the continuing weakness in bank credit. And “Picture This” focuses on the high, and growing, cost of energy subsidies.
The past year has been a time of unexpected challenges for the international community, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde says in her foreword to the institution’s Annual Report 2015—Tackling Challenges Together, published today. Amid the continued focus on spurring stronger and more inclusive growth and strengthening global cooperation, the IMF faced economic developments that required rapid adjustments. Highlights of the IMF’s work during the year included insight into the international impact of falling oil prices, financing and policy advice for countries in difficulties, emergency funding to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa, a new relief fund for the poor and most vulnerable countries hit by natural or public health disasters, research on fiscal policy to reduce inequality, free online training for the public and government officials, and online statistical data free of charge for all users. The report covers the work of the IMF’s Executive Board and contains financial statements for the year May 1, 2014, to April 30, 2015. It describes the IMF’s support for its 188 member countries, with an emphasis on the core areas of IMF responsibility: assessing their economic and financial policies, providing financing where needed, and building capacity in key areas of economic policy.
The macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa
continues to strengthen with higher growth, easing inflation, and stabilizing public debt ratios
with some countries improving their fiscal balances. But there are concerns on the quality of the
fiscal adjustment and underlying vulnerabilities have yet to be decisively addressed.
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.
The IMF’s World Economic Outlook is packed with country specific facts, figures, and worldwide projections that present the outlook for growth, inflation, trade, and other economic developments in a clear, practical format. Leading international economists pull together the latest data on key topics, producing informed projections and policy analyses that show where the global economy is headed in the years to come. Business executives, policymakers, bankers, investors, marketing strategists, and economists worldwide refer to the WEO with confidence because it delivers a balanced view of the current economic situation, built upon the respected and extensive macroeconomic expertise and statistical resources of the IMF. The WEO is the product of a unique international exercise in information gathering and analysis performed by over 1,000 economists on the IMF staff. An annual subscription to the World Economic Outlook, published at least twice a year in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, offers a comprehensive assessment of the international economic situation as well as prospects for the future. With its analyses backed by the expertise and unparalleled resources of the IMF, the World Economic Outlook is the authoritative reference in its field. Today, when even small economic fluctuations can trigger major financial swings, the WEO supplies a solid source of actionable information and data.
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.