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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.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper focuses on overcoming fears of technology and globalization means rethinking the rights and obligations of citizenship. While the causes of our discontent vary, they all point to the need to revitalize politics, economics, and social contract to provide citizens with a greater sense of security and confidence in the face of impending changes. The backlash highlights the need for a new social contract, one that adapts to changed economic realities and better manages the social implications of globalization. The social contract includes the payment of taxes in exchange for public goods, and the way that society looks after the old, the young, the infirm, and those who have fallen on hard times. Countries with greater social mobility grow faster because they more effectively match people to the right jobs. Another way to address inequality would be to put a floor under incomes, which would help ensure that even low-wage earners can enjoy a reasonable standard of living.
Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Global economic activity is picking up with a long-awaited cyclical recovery in investment, manufacturing, and trade, according to Chapter 1 of this World Economic Outlook. World growth is expected to rise from 3.1 percent in 2016 to 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018. Stronger activity, expectations of more robust global demand, reduced deflationary pressures, and optimistic financial markets are all upside developments. But structural impediments to a stronger recovery and a balance of risks that remains tilted to the downside, especially over the medium term, remain important challenges. Chapter 2 examines how changes in external conditions may affect the pace of income convergence between advanced and emerging market and developing economies. Chapter 3 looks at the declining share of income that goes to labor, including the root causes and how the trend affects inequality. Overall, this report stresses the need for credible strategies in advanced economies and in those whose markets are emerging and developing to tackle a number of common challenges in an integrated global economy.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The year was marked by difficult challenges and milestone achievements. To reinvigorate modest growth at a time of uncertainty about a complicated global economy, the IMF membership endorsed a three-pronged approach of monetary, fiscal, and structural policies to get the world economy back on a stronger and safer growth track. Highlights of the IMF’s work during the year included entry into effect of its quota and governance reforms approved in 2010, which increase the Fund’s core resources and make it more representative of the membership; commitments for increased financial support, policy advice, expertise, and training to help low-income developing countries achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals; analysis of the international monetary system; inclusion of the Chinese currency in the basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right; and policy advice on the economic repercussions of mass migration of refugees from Syria and other conflict-afflicted states. The IMF Annual Report, which covers the period May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016, discusses all of these issues, plus a wide range of policy matters that the Executive Board addressed during the year.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses how Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) stress test assesses the resilience of the banking sector as a whole rather than the capital adequacy of individual institutions. The FSAP approach to stress testing is essentially macroprudential: it focuses on resilience of the broader financial system to adverse macro-financial conditions rather than on resilience of individual banks to specific shocks. This test ensures consistency in macroeconomic scenarios and metrics across firms to facilitate the assessment of the banking system as a whole. The stress test analysis is intended to help country authorities to identify key sources of systemic risk in the banking sector and inform macroprudential policies to enhance its resilience to absorb shocks.

Abstract

Fiscal risks are abating somewhat but remain elevated. In advanced economies, recent policy moves have broadly stabilized public debt ratios, but medium-term prospects are still uncertain, and debt remains at historic highs. Fiscal vulnerabilities are rising in both emerging market economies and low-income countries, although in most cases from relatively moderate levels. Across country groups, fiscal policy should aim at rebuilding policy space while supporting the recovery and long-term growth prospects.