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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented social and economic shock. The longest expansion in U.S. history has been derailed by the unanticipated advent of COVID-19. To preserve lives and support public health, it was necessary to put in place a broad-based shutdown of the U.S. economy in March. Despite the gradual easing of state lockdown restrictions and lifting of stay-at-home orders starting in late April, the collateral economic damage has been enormous. First, and foremost, as of July 16, more than 136,000 Americans have tragically lost their lives and many more have become seriously ill. Almost fifteen million Americans have lost their jobs, many small and large businesses are under financial stress, and future prospects are highly uncertain. Reopening decisions will have to be handled carefully to mitigate the economic costs while containing the ongoing rise in COVID-19 infection rates. It will likely take a prolonged period to repair the economy and to return activity to pre-pandemic levels. All in all, globally there will be difficult months and years ahead and it is of particular concern that the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is still rising.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Burkina Faso’s Requests for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rephasing of Access Under the Extended Credit Facility. The immediate challenge is to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019, strengthen medical care, implement the social distancing and other containment measures, and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, especially on the most vulnerable. The authorities’ measures to contain and mitigate the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic have given rise to substantial and urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs. With uncertainties surrounding the duration and scope of the pandemic, the fallout could intensify further. The IMF emergency support under the RCF will provide much-needed resources to support the authorities’ response to the crisis and help catalyze further donor support. A widening of the fiscal deficit in 2020 is warranted to create room for health care spending, social safety nets and for the mitigation of the economic impact of the shocks. Prioritized, well-targeted and cost-effective spending would be critical.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Finance and Development, September 2017
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper focuses on the United States and the United Kingdom that were the main architects of the post-1945 order, with the creation of the United Nations systems, but they now appear to be pioneers in the reverse direction—steering an erratic, inconsistent, and domestically controversial course away from multilateralism. Other countries, meanwhile, for various reasons are incapable of assuming that global leadership and the rest of the world likely would not support a new hegemon in any event. The postwar system created at the BrettonWoods, New Hampshire, conference in 1944 should be credited with economic growth, a reduction in poverty, and the absence of destructive trade wars. It built a comity that encourages to this day cooperation on issues as diverse as taxation, financial regulation, climate change policy, and terrorism financing. The central postwar concern was international financial stability. The United States and the newly created International Monetary Fund were at the center of a system that sought to maintain that stability by linking exchange rates to the dollar, with the IMF the arbiter of any changes.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper reviews public expenditure efficiency in Ireland. Evidence suggests that while Ireland is a low spending country, it achieves a generally efficient use of public funds, with some key differences across sectors. Although the overall space for budgetary savings appears limited, further spending efficiency could help contain cost pressures coming from the demographic challenge of an aging population and improve the quality of public services. It could also help rechannel spending toward more productive uses, for instance by increasing public investment relative to current expenditure, and support the competitive position of the Irish economy and its growth potential.