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.
The Swiss economy has performed relatively well since the global financial crisis. Growth compares favorably with most other advanced countries and aggregate employment has grown robustly. The fiscal position is strong and the external trade surplus remains large and stable despite several episodes of intense appreciation pressure owing to the Swiss franc’s reputation as a safe haven. Growth is expected to temporarily dip to 1.1 percent in 2019 on weakness in external demand. Risks to the outlook are tilted down. Switzerland is also facing several policy challenges: low interest rates are fueling risks in the real estate and mortgage markets; persistent subdued inflation has decreased the operational space for monetary policy; and population aging and technological change will require further upskilling and generate new demands for public resources.
This paper presents key findings of the First Review for Côte d'Ivoire under the Extended Credit Facility. Program performance at end-2011 was broadly satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria for end-2011 were met, but the implementation of structural reforms has been mixed. Although good progress has been made to strengthen public financial management, improve the business climate, and reform the cocoa-coffee sector, action on other benchmarks for the financial and energy sectors fell short of program targets. Prospects for 2012 are favorable, notwithstanding the weak external environment.
Conventional wisdom postulates that there are benefits from decentralizing government finances but there is little empirical evidence about actual country practices. This paper presents data on fiscal decentralization for about 80 countries over a period of about 20 years (1990-2008) from the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook (GFSY), the only global database with fiscal data for several levels of government. The data show that in many countries, revenue collection remains relatively more centralized than expenditures and that employment tends to be concentrated in lower levels of government. Except for transition economies, the levels of decentralization are relatively stable over the time period. The findings are shown by degree of economic development, constitutional power arrangements, and geographic area, broadly confirming key factors identified in the literature as determining the extent of fiscal decentralization.
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that Côte d’Ivoire has embarked on comprehensive reform policies to address the challenges of enhancing growth and reducing poverty. It adopted a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in February 2009, which covers the seven-year period 2009–15, and aims to transform the country into an emerging economy. The authorities have strengthened fiscal control and the transparency of budget implementation in recent years while making room to increase pro-poor spending. Significant revenue efforts have facilitated an increase in spending for urgent needs.
Switzerland is affected by the global crisis through the stock effect, the flow effect, and the trade effect. Along with a sharp contraction in exports, investments are now being postponed. Consumption has held up well so far, but as unemployment rises, household spending will lose momentum. The Swiss National Bank has appropriately loosened monetary policy, bringing the policy rates almost to zero. Maintaining financial stability will be essential for ensuring macroeconomic stability and growth in Switzerland.
The IMF, in cooperation with other concerned organizations, set up a working party to investigate and improve the statistical procedures being used, and to recommend compilation procedures that would make nations' balance of payments statistics more consistent with one another. In addition to detailed explanations of its findings and recommendations, the Report contains extensive statistical appendices and 109 tables.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper reviews the procurement process under World Bank projects. The paper highlights that the World Bank’s interest in procurement under its loans stems directly from the “project” requirement of its Articles, which stipulates that it should lend for specific projects, except in special circumstances, and that it should ensure that the proceeds of the loan are used only for its specified purpose, with due attention to economy and efficiency. In 1951, the World Bank began introducing international competitive bidding as the normal procedure for procurement of the goods and works needed for its projects.