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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Switzerland has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic well. The pandemic has had major social and economic impacts, but an early, strong, and sustained health and economic policy response helped contain the contraction of activity. Coordinated efforts targeting households and firms stemmed a loss of purchasing power and a rise of unemployment and bankruptcies. Recovery has commenced, but uncertainty and risks remain high, dominated by pandemic dynamics. The rebound should deepen, as vaccination proceeds, containment is eased, and domestic and global demand picks up. Fiscal support has been rightly extended in 2021, and monetary policy remains accommodative. Policies should remain supportive until there are clear signs of sustained recovery; the authorities should expand support if needed. Redirection to fostering green, digital transformation with attention to low-income earners will be needed, including to ensure that prolonged emergency support does not hinder structural changes in the economy.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
After a long period of uninterrupted growth, Poland is experiencing a pandemic-induced recession, though strong policy actions have limited the damage. The economy rebounded strongly in the third quarter of 2020, but the second wave of the virus has delayed the recovery. A strong and effective policy response has supported economic activity and prevented destructive losses of employment and bankruptcies. Following the recession in 2020, Poland is well positioned for recovery. The pandemic will remain a constraint until the assumed administration of vaccines over the course of 2021. Resiliency in the corporate sector and labor markets, aided by strong policy support, should foster a strong rebound. Sizeable new EU grants would also facilitate an increase in investment and boost growth. The course of the pandemic and ultimate success of vaccines remains a fundamental risk.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The Nigerian economy is at a critical juncture. A weak pre-crisis economy characterized by falling per capita income, double-digit inflation, significant governance vulnerabilities and limited buffers, is grappling with multiple shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic. Real output is projected to contract by 3.2 percent in 2020, with a weak recovery likely to keep per capita income stagnant and no higher than the 2010 level in the medium term. Policy adjustment and reforms are urgently needed to navigate this crisis and change the long-running lackluster course.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The UK entered 2020 negotiating a new economic relationship with the EU and facing other challenges, including meeting climate targets, dealing with an aging population, and reinvigorating tepid productivity growth. Growth and investment had been weak since the 2016 referendum, and the current account deficit elevated, but unemployment was low, inflation on target, and balance sheets strong. The global pandemic hit the UK hard in March, and the country now faces a second wave. The economic impact has been severe, but helped by an aggressive policy response, jobs have been preserved, businesses kept afloat, and banking sector losses contained. Still, the outlook for the near term is weak, as the economy works through the second wave, Brexit, rising unemployment, and corporate distress. Risks are overall to the downside, centering on the degree of balance sheet damage sustained by households and small and medium enterprises. The pace at which vaccines are able to bring the pandemic under control could be an important mitigating factor.
Mr. Marshall B Reinsdorf
COVID-19 changed consumers’ spending patterns, making the CPI weights suddenly obsolete. In most regions, adjusting the CPI weights to account for the changes in spending patterns increases the estimate of inflation over the early months of the pandemic. Under-weighting of rising food prices and over-weighting of falling transport prices are the main causes of the underestimation of inflation. Updated CPI weights should be developed as soon as is feasible, but flux in spending patterns during the pandemic complicates the development as quickly as 2021 of weights that represent post-pandemic spending patterns.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Covid-19 has exacted a tragic human, social, and economic toll on Mexico. Over 85,000 lives were lost; unofficial estimates are notably higher. Of 12 million workers that lost their jobs, most of whom came from the informal sector with a limited safety net, over 4 million remain out of the workforce. The working poverty rate jumped to 48 percent. After a historic drop in output, there has been a trade-led bounce in manufacturing. But domestic demand is weak, as is services activity that employs most of the workforce. Staff projects the economy to shrink by 9 percent this year, followed by a gradual recovery. It could take years for employment and incomes to return to pre-crisis levels, compounding the long-standing challenge of achieving strong and inclusive growth.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

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.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

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.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

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.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

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.