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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.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

The Sixth Five Year Plan, as outlined in Bangladesh's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, targets strategic growth and employment. The medium-term macroeconomic framework plan entails the involvement of both the private and public sectors. Human resources development strategy programs reaching out to the poor and the vulnerable population, as well as environment, climate change, and disaster risk management, have been included in the plan. Managing regional disparities for shared growth and strategy for raising farm productivity and agricultural growth have been outlined. Diversifying exports and developing a dynamic manufacturing sector are all inclusive in the proposed plan.

Oliver E. Williamson, Mr. Paul Streeten, W.W. Rostow, Robert L. Ayres, Jagdish N. Bhagwati, Bahram Nowzad, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott, M.S. Daoudi, M.S. Dajani, Anand G. Chandavarkar, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Ann Duncan

The global trade negotiations and use of fiscal measures to stimulate savings in developing countries are discussed. The four main elements of the global trading system likely to be at issue in the new round include nondiscrimination and the distinction between border and nonborder measures. Capital markets in developing countries are small, and the scope for diversification of financial institutions and financial instruments or assets is limited. The distinction between border and nonborder measures is blurred in the increased international concern with so-called unfair trade practices.

Mr. James M. Boughton

Abstract

Economics was far from being a high priority at the Paris peace conference of 1919. The borders of Europe had to be redrawn one by one, and that task alone took up most of the six months of high-level meetings. A means had to be found to pay the costs of the war and the costs of rebuilding, and solving that problem was about all the economics that any of the leaders had the patience for. They created the League of Nations, but its economic functions were poorly defined and never did gel into an effective role.1 They created the International Labour Organization, but its role was specialized and limited.

Mr. James M. Boughton

Abstract

The world and the IMF have undergone profound changes since the Bretton Woods Conference. James Boughton, former historian of the IMF, looks at key events that have shaped the IMF and the international scene. From the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to the Great Recession, this essay focuses on 11 events in history that have influenced the design and work of the IMF, as well as the international monetary system. This booklet, prepared for the 70th anniversary of the IMF, is an excerpt from a longer essay that is available on the IMF eLibrary. It is an excellent primer on the motivation behind the founding of the IMF and the evolution of the organization.