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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still unfolding around the globe. In Asia, as elsewhere, the virus has ebbed in some countries but surged in others. The global economy is beginning to recover after a sharp contraction in the second quarter of 2020, as nationwide lockdowns are lifted and replaced with more targeted containment measures.

Mr. Pragyan Deb, Davide Furceri, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Nour Tawk
Containment measures are crucial to halt the spread of the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic but entail large short-term economic costs. This paper tries to quantify these effects using daily global data on real-time containment measures and indicators of economic activity such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions, flights, energy consumption, maritime trade, and mobility indices. Results suggest that containment measures have had, on average, a very large impact on economic activity—equivalent to a loss of about 15 percent in industrial production over a 30-day period following their implementation. Using novel data on fiscal and monetary policy measures used in response to the crisis, we find that these policy measures were effective in mitigating some of these economic costs. We also find that while workplace closures and stay-at-home orders are more effective in curbing infections, they are associated with the largest economic costs. Finally, while easing of containment measures has led to a pickup in economic activity, the effect has been lower (in absolute value) than that from the tightening of measures.
Ezgi O. Ozturk and Xuguang Simon Sheng
Motivated by the literature on the capital asset pricing model, we decompose the uncertainty of a typical forecaster into common and idiosyncratic uncertainty. Using individual survey data from the Consensus Forecasts over the period of 1989-2014, we develop monthly measures of macroeconomic uncertainty covering 45 countries and construct a measure of global uncertainty as the weighted average of country-specific uncertainties. Our measure captures perceived uncertainty of market participants and derives from two components that are shown to exhibit strikingly different behavior. Common uncertainty shocks produce the large and persistent negative response in real economic activity, whereas the contributions of idiosyncratic uncertainty shocks are negligible.
Mr. Serhat Solmaz and Marzie Taheri Sanjani
External headwinds, together with domestic vulnerabilities, have loomed over the prospects of emerging markets in recent years. We propose an empirical toolbox to quantify the impact of external macro-financial shocks on domestic economies in parsimonious way. Our model is a Bayesian VAR consisting of two blocks representing home and foreign factors, which is particularly useful for small open economies. By exploiting the mixed-frequency nature of the model, we show how the toolbox can be used for “nowcasting” the output growth. The conditional forecast results illustrate that regular updates of external information, as well as domestic leading indicators, would significantly enhance the accuracy of forecasts. Moreover, the analysis of variance decompositions shows that external shocks are important drivers of the domestic business cycle.
Mr. Troy D Matheson
The global financial crisis was a stark reminder of the importance of cross-country linkages in the global economy. We document growth synchronization across a diverse group of 185 countries covering 7 regions, and pay particular attention to the period around the global financial crisis. A dynamic factor model is used to decompose each country’s growth into contributions from global, regional, and idiosyncratic shocks. We find a high degree of global synchronization over 1990 to 2011, particularly across advanced economies. Examining the period around the global financial crisis, we find global shocks had large and widespread effects on growth, with more diversity in growth experiences in the early part of the recovery. In a recursive experiment, we find rising global growth synchronization just prior to the crisis, largely resulting from a shift in the importance of global shocks between countries. In contrast, the crisis period caused a much more widespread increase in growth synchronization, and was followed by a similarly pervasive decrease in synchronization in the early recovery.
Miss Stephanie Denis and Mr. Prakash Kannan
This paper quantifies the economic impact of uncertainty shocks in the UK using data that span the recent Great Recession. We find that uncertainty shocks have a significant impact on economic activity in the UK, depressing industrial production and GDP. The peak impact is felt fairly quickly at around 6-12 months after the shock, and becomes statistically negligible after 18 months. Interestingly, the impact of uncertainty shocks on industrial production in the UK is strikingly similar to that of the US both in terms of the shape and magnitude of the response. However, unemployment in the UK is less affected by uncertainty shocks. Finally, we find that uncertainty shocks can account for about a quarter of the decline in industrial production during the Great Recession.