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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

This overview chapter discusses the evolution of and outlook for global external positions and summarizes the IMF staff’s external assessments for a globally representative set of economies in 2019, which are also detailed in Chapter 3, “2019 Individual Economy Assessments. “ These assessments are multilaterally consistent and draw on the latest vintage of the External Balance Assessment (EBA) methodology and consider a full set of external indicators, including current accounts, exchange rates, external balance sheets, capital flows, and international reserves. The assessments’ objectives and concepts are summarized in Box 1.1. The chapter is organized as follows: the first section, “Global Imbalances before the COVID-19 Crisis,” documents the evolution of current accounts, exchange rates, and international trade in 2019. It also presents IMF staff external sector assessments for 2019, providing a benchmark for assessing external positions as they were before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second section, “External Developments during the COVID-19 Crisis,” discusses the evolution of exchange rates, international trade in goods and services, capital flows, and current account balances in 2020, drawing on both recent data and IMF staff forecasts. The third section, “Significant Risks to the External Outlook,” discusses the elevated uncertainties and risks currently pertaining to the outlook. The final section, “Policy Priorities,” discusses policy responses for addressing these risks and responding to the crisis as well as reforms to reduce excess imbalances over the medium term in a manner supportive of global growth.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

This overview chapter discusses the evolution of and outlook for global external positions and summarizes the IMF staff’s external assessments for a globally representative set of economies in 2019, which are also detailed in Chapter 3, “2019 Individual Economy Assessments. “ These assessments are multilaterally consistent and draw on the latest vintage of the External Balance Assessment (EBA) methodology and consider a full set of external indicators, including current accounts, exchange rates, external balance sheets, capital flows, and international reserves. The assessments’ objectives and concepts are summarized in Box 1.1. The chapter is organized as follows: the first section, “Global Imbalances before the COVID-19 Crisis,” documents the evolution of current accounts, exchange rates, and international trade in 2019. It also presents IMF staff external sector assessments for 2019, providing a benchmark for assessing external positions as they were before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second section, “External Developments during the COVID-19 Crisis,” discusses the evolution of exchange rates, international trade in goods and services, capital flows, and current account balances in 2020, drawing on both recent data and IMF staff forecasts. The third section, “Significant Risks to the External Outlook,” discusses the elevated uncertainties and risks currently pertaining to the outlook. The final section, “Policy Priorities,” discusses policy responses for addressing these risks and responding to the crisis as well as reforms to reduce excess imbalances over the medium term in a manner supportive of global growth.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The authors of this chapter are Swarnali A. Hannan and Pau Rabanal (co-leads) and Luis Cubeddu, with contributions from Suman Basu, Roberto Perrelli, and Weining Xin, and support from Kyun Suk Chang, Deepali Gautam, Jair Rodriguez, and Zijiao Wang.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The authors of this chapter are Swarnali A. Hannan and Pau Rabanal (co-leads) and Luis Cubeddu, with contributions from Suman Basu, Roberto Perrelli, and Weining Xin, and support from Kyun Suk Chang, Deepali Gautam, Jair Rodriguez, and Zijiao Wang.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The individual economy assessments use a wide range of methods to form an integrated and multilaterally consistent view on economies’ external sector positions. These methods are grounded in the latest vintage of the External Balance Assessment (EBA), developed by the IMF’s Research Department to estimate desired current account balances and real exchange rates.1 Model estimates and associated discussions on policy distortions (see Box 3.1 for an example) are accompanied by a holistic view of other external indicators, including capital and financial account flows and measures, foreign exchange intervention and reserves adequacy, and foreign asset or liability positions.2

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The individual economy assessments use a wide range of methods to form an integrated and multilaterally consistent view on economies’ external sector positions. These methods are grounded in the latest vintage of the External Balance Assessment (EBA), developed by the IMF’s Research Department to estimate desired current account balances and real exchange rates.1 Model estimates and associated discussions on policy distortions (see Box 3.1 for an example) are accompanied by a holistic view of other external indicators, including capital and financial account flows and measures, foreign exchange intervention and reserves adequacy, and foreign asset or liability positions.2

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

Produced since 2012, the IMF’s annual External Sector Report analyzes global external developments and provides multilaterally consistent assessments of external positions, including current accounts, real exchange rates, external balance sheets, capital flows, and international reserves, of the world’s largest economies, representing over 90 percent of global GDP. Chapter 1 discusses the evolution of global external positions in 2019, external developments during the COVID-19 crisis, and policy priorities for responding to the crisis and for reducing excess imbalances over the medium term. Chapter 2 analyzes the relationship between the structure of external assets and liabilities—the components of the international investment position—and the risk of external stress events. It also assesses how heightened global risk aversion, as during the COVID-19 crisis, amplifies these risks. Chapter 3, “Individual Economy Assessments,” provides details on the different aspects of the overall external assessment and associated policy recommendations for 30 economies. This year’s report and associated external assessments are based on the latest vintage of the External Balance Assessment (EBA) methodology and on data and IMF staff projections as of July 15, 2020.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The External Sector Report presents a methodologically consistent assessment of the exchange rates, current accounts, reserves, capital flows, and external balance sheets of the world’s largest economies. The 2018 edition includes an analytical assessment of how trade costs and related policy barriers drive excess global imbalances.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The IMF’s 2019 External Sector Report shows that global current account balances stand at about 3 percent of global GDP. Of this, about 35–45 percent are now deemed excessive. Meanwhile, net credit and debtor positions are at historical peaks and about four times larger than in the early 1990s. Short-term financing risks from the current configuration of external imbalances are generally contained, as debtor positions are concentrated in reserve-currency-issuing advanced economies. An intensification of trade tensions or a disorderly Brexit outcome—with further repercussions for global growth and risk aversion—could, however, affect other economies that are highly dependent on foreign demand and external financing. With output near potential in most systemic economies, a well-calibrated macroeconomic and structural policy mix is necessary to support rebalancing. Recent trade policy actions are weighing on global trade flows, investment, and growth, including through confidence effects and the disruption of global supply chains, with no discernible impact on external imbalances thus far.