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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

IMF Country Report No. 21/111

Juan Pablo Cuesta Aguirre and Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
To shed light on the possible scarring effects from Covid-19, this paper studies the economic effects of five past pandemics using local projections on a sample of fifty-five countries over 1990-2019. The findings reveal that pandemics have detrimental medium-term effects on output, unemployment, poverty, and inequality. However, policies can go a long way toward alleviating suffering and fostering an inclusive recovery. The adverse output effects are limited for countries that provided relatively greater fiscal support. The increases in unemployment, poverty, and inequality are likewise lower for countries with relatively greater fiscal support and relatively stronger initial conditions (as defined by higher formality, family benefits, and health spending per capita).
Jeffrey D. Sachs

This paper describes the importance of luck, timing, and political institutions in beating inflation. The paper highlights that countries experiencing high inflation typically make several disinflation attempts, some of which succeed only temporarily. If a country trying to stabilize prices and wages is unlucky enough to be exposed to severe external shocks—for example, a decline in demand for its exports—during its disinflation, the likelihood of failure is increased. A shock such as an increase in U.S. interest rates makes failure more likely for a country with an open capital account.

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

This year, as the world faced a crisis like no other, the International Monetary Fund and its member countries swung into action to save lives and put a floor under the world economy. But the outlook remains uncertain. Countries now face a “long ascent” that will be difficult, uneven, uncertain, and prone to setbacks. The IMF is working to help countries focus on "policies for people" to generate a transformational recovery through job-rich growth that benefits all.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened. Real GDP is projected to contract by 8.1 percent in 2020, followed by a mild recovery in 2021 reflecting persistent spread of the virus and associated social distancing and scarring. Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside, and uncertainty about the pandemic’s evolution is a key source of risk. Containing the spread of the virus and addressing the health crisis remain the key policy priorities. In countries where lockdowns still hamper activity, policies should focus on ensuring that firms have sufficient liquidity, and on protecting employment and income, while developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to safeguard debt sustainability. In countries that are easing lockdowns, efforts should focus on supporting the recovery, including through structural reforms. Once the pandemic is under control, and the recovery is on a strong footing, fiscal policy will need to focus on rebuilding buffers. Monetary policy should remain accommodative as long as inflation stays within the target range and inflation expectations are well anchored.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened. Real GDP is projected to contract by 8.1 percent in 2020, followed by a mild recovery in 2021 reflecting persistent spread of the virus and associated social distancing and scarring. Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside, and uncertainty about the pandemic’s evolution is a key source of risk. Containing the spread of the virus and addressing the health crisis remain the key policy priorities. In countries where lockdowns still hamper activity, policies should focus on ensuring that firms have sufficient liquidity, and on protecting employment and income, while developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to safeguard debt sustainability. In countries that are easing lockdowns, efforts should focus on supporting the recovery, including through structural reforms. Once the pandemic is under control, and the recovery is on a strong footing, fiscal policy will need to focus on rebuilding buffers. Monetary policy should remain accommodative as long as inflation stays within the target range and inflation expectations are well anchored.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.