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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic plunged the world into a sharp recession in the first half of 2020. Service sector activity, which relies on person-to-person contact, took a big hit. Manufacturing also weakened substantially, and global trade plummeted. Global growth is projected at –4.4 percent in 2020, 0.6 percentage points above the June 2020 World Economic Outlook Update forecast. The upgrade reflects a better second quarter outturn in major countries that eased lockdowns earlier than expected. The recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021 global growth is projected at 5.2 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than projected in June 2020, reflecting the persistence of social distancing into 2021.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

This chapter uses new data and novel modeling techniques to examine the effect of containment and policy measures in affecting the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

This chapter shows, based on high-frequency labor surveys, that inequality is increasing further during the COVID-19 pandemic because job losses have been concentrated among low-income workers. Moreover, the experience from past pandemics suggests that the adverse distributional effects could be even larger in the medium term—including, looking ahead, through the displacement of low-skilled workers by robots—and that the resulting higher levels of inequality could undermine social cohesion. This is especially salient for countries with already high inequality going into this crisis. Information from the IMF Policy Tracker shows that many Asian governments have implemented significant fiscal policy measures to mitigate the pandemic’s effect on the most vulnerable, with the impact depending on the initial coverage of safety nets, fiscal space, and degree of informality and digitalization. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the model-based analysis shows that policies targeted to where needs are greatest are effective in mitigating adverse distributional consequences and underpinning overall economic activity and virus containment.

Mr. Ashvin Ahuja and Ms. Alla Myrvoda
Real estate investment accounts for a quarter of total fixed asset investment (FAI) in China. The real estate sector’s extensive industrial and financial linkages make it a special type of economic activity, especially where the credit creation process relies primarily on collateral, like in China. As a result, the impact on economic activity of a collapse in real estate investment in China—though a low-probability event—would be sizable, with large spillovers to a number of China’s trading partners. Using a two-region factor-augmented vector autoregression model that allows for interaction between China and the rest of the G20 economies, we find that a 1-percent decline in China’s real estate investment would shave about 0.1 percent off China’s real GDP within the first year, with negative spillover impacts to China’s G20 trading partners that would cause global output to decline by roughly 0.05 percent from baseline. Japan, Korea, and Germany would be among the hardest hit. In that event, commodity prices, especially metal prices, could fall by as much as 0.8–2.2 percent below baseline one year after the shock.
Mr. Patrick P. Walsh and Mr. Alexander Repkine
We examine industrial output in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania during 1989–95 in terms of pretransitional product trade orientation. The growth of EU-oriented output within sectors of industry, ex-post trade, and market liberalization, is modeled as foreign direct investment induced Schumpeterian (vertical) waves of product innovation. The growth of non-EU-oriented output within sectors is modeled as unobservable deterministic heterogeneity. The results indicate that the gap observed in industrial output performance when comparing Eastern European to former Soviet countries is mainly explained by the inherited presence of EU-oriented production and its unconstrained growth over the transition period.
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.

International Monetary Fund

Armenia’s growth has picked up in 2011, led by manufacturing, mining, and services, while agriculture has rebounded from the collapse. Credit continues to grow rapidly, particularly in foreign currency and based on strong inflows to banks. Inflation has come down sharply, reflecting policy rate hikes, spending restraint, the agriculture recovery, and favorable global price developments. Challenges include safeguarding financial system stability, strengthening tax revenues to ensure sustainability and support pro-growth and pro-poor spending, improving the business environment to enhance growth and reduce poverty and unemployment, and reducing external imbalances.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper focuses on the adoption of new technology and globalization in the United States of America, and assesses the change in the productivity growth and revised estimates, the developments in the labor market, equity prices, and the technology boom. The paper analyzes how the monetary policy influences economic conditions in emergency markets; reviews the developments in financial consolidation; discusses the key provisions contained in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act, the implications of the GLB Act for financial consolidation, and regulatory and supervisory practices.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Over the next 25 years, vast numbers of workers in the developing countries will need to find jobs outside agriculture, which is now their main source of employment. Although many of these countries are developing a viable and growing industrial sector, employment in industry has not expanded correspondingly. This article examines why this has happened and discusses the Bank’s attempts to increase employment opportunities by encouraging the development of small local enterprises, as part of its program to reach the absolute poor.