Since the initiation of economic reforms in the late 1970s. China has achieved impressive economic growth coupled with significant structural transformation (Figure 32). During 1978–96, real GDP grew on average by over 9 percent a year, contributing to a near quadrupling of per capita income and the lifting of millions out of poverty. Over the same period, many of the distortions and rigidities of the former central planning system were eliminated and market forces came to play an increasingly important role in economic decision making. Concomitantly, the state’s role in the economy was gradually reduced and a dynamic non-state sector emerged that now accounts for almost two-thirds of GDP.1 In addition, as part of the normal process of economic development, employment in agriculture has declined substantially while a thriving manufacturing sector has emerged.
This annex builds on the discussion in Chapter III and further explores the implications for Europe and the rest of the world of alternative assumptions about labor market reform, fiscal adjustment, and product market liberalization under EMU. While necessarily speculative in nature, the resulting scenarios are meant to illustrate the profound impact that EMU can have on macroeconomic performance depending on progress in these three policy areas.1
The following remarks were made by the Acting Chair at the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion of the World Economic Outlook, Global Financial Stability Report, and Fiscal Monitor on September 14, 2012.
The May 1992 World Economic Outlook examined the role played by balance sheet adjustments in the nonfinancial sectors of the economy in constraining the pace of recovery in the United States and the United Kingdom.1 It also examined in less detail similar adjustments in Japan and in the smaller industrial countries. This annex updates the earlier work and then focuses on the corresponding adjustments in the financial sectors of Japan, the United States, and several of the Nordic countries.
The global expansion is losing speed in the face of a major financial crisis. The slowdown has been greatest in the advanced economies, particularly in the United States, where the housing market correction continues to exacerbate financial stress. The emerging and developing economies have so far been less affected by financial market turbulence and have continued to grow at a rapid pace, led by China and India, although activity is beginning to moderate in some countries. In the baseline, the U.S. economy will tip into a mild recession in 2008 as a result of mutually reinforcing housing and financial market cycles, with only a gradual recovery in 2009, reflecting the time needed to resolve underlying balance sheet strains. Activity in the other advanced economies will be sluggish in both 2008 and 2009 in the face of trade and financial spillovers. Growth in the emerging and developing economies is also projected to slow, although it should remain above long-term trends in all regions. Risks to the global projections are tilted to the downside, especially those related to the possibility of a full-blown credit crunch, while emerging and developing economies will not be insulated from a serious downturn in the advanced economies. Against this background, policymakers in the advanced economies must continue to grapple with the task of restoring stability to housing and financial markets while addressing downside risks to growth, without jeopardizing inflation performance or longer-term policy goals. Many emerging and developing economies still face the challenge of avoiding overheating or any buildup in vulnerabilities, but policymakers should be ready to respond judiciously to a deteriorating external environment.
The global economy has deteriorated further since the release of the July 2012 WEO Update, and growth projections have been marked down (Table 1.1). Downside risks are now judged to be more elevated than in the April 2012 and September 2011 World Economic Outlook (WEO) reports. A key issue is whether the global economy is just hitting another bout of turbulence in what was always expected to be a slow and bumpy recovery or whether the current slowdown has a more lasting component. The answer depends on whether European and U.S. policymakers deal proactively with their major short-term economic challenges. The WEO forecast assumes that they do, and thus global activity is projected to reaccelerate in the course of 2012; if they do not, the forecast will likely be disappointed once again. For the medium term, important questions remain about how the global economy will operate in a world of high government debt and whether emerging market economies can maintain their strong expansion while shifting further from external to domestic sources of growth. The problem of high public debt existed before the Great Recession, because of population aging and growth in entitlement spending, but the crisis brought the need to address it forward from the long to the medium term.
After a deep global recession, economic growth has turned positive, as wide-ranging public intervention has supported demand and lowered uncertainty and systemic risk in financial markets. Nonetheless, the recovery is expected to be slow, as financial systems remain impaired, support from public policies will gradually have to be withdrawn, and households in economies that suffered asset price busts will continue to rebuild savings. Risks to the outlook remain on the downside. Premature exit from accommodative monetary and fiscal policies is a particular concern because the policy-induced rebound might be mistaken for the beginning of a strong recovery. The key requirement remains to restore financial sector health while maintaining supportive macroeconomic policies until the recovery is on a firm footing. At the same time, policymakers need to begin preparing for an orderly unwinding of extraordinary levels of public intervention. Policies also need to facilitate a rebalancing of global demand, because economies that experienced asset price busts will need to raise saving rates, and there is a need to bolster potential growth in advanced economies, which has suffered as a result of the major financial shocks. Rising unemployment and setbacks to progress in poverty reduction pose social challenges that also must be addressed.