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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has struck amid a preexisting sluggish global growth outlook, historically low nominal interest rates, and low inflation. The pandemic has elevated the need for fiscal policy action to an unprecedented level. For some countries, however, high debt levels and tightening financing conditions are constraining the policy response. But whereas in other economic downturns a key goal of fiscal policy is to stimulate demand, this crisis is like no other—and in its early stages the primary objectives are to boost resources for health care and to provide emergency lifelines to people and firms.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Low growth and investment, adverse shocks, and low inflation and interest rates during the past few years put fiscal policy at the forefront. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has strengthened the case for fiscal policy action and heightened its urgency. In the past few years, growth has been subdued in advanced economies, reflecting various factors including a moderation in capital accumulation (Box 2.1). Sustained high and inclusive growth is critically needed for development in emerging market and developing economies. Inflation has trended down since the 1980s and is currently below targets in two-thirds of inflation-targeting countries. In advanced economies, inflation expectations are anchored at low levels. Nominal interest rates are at historical lows, shifting the balance of cyclical demand support toward fiscal policy. This is because the natural rate of interest—the interest rate that keeps the economy at full employment with stable inflation—is estimated to have fallen significantly and is now below zero in some economies (Rachel and Summers 2019). Consequently, the effective lower bound on policy rates binds more frequently. Moreover, the nominal interest rate on new government borrowing, although at times volatile, is currently negative in many advanced economies (something historically unprecedented). These patterns have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Chapter 1), resulting in a global recession this year, and are likely to persist during the post-shutdown recovery.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) influence the economy and people’s lives through the provision of goods and services in ways that are distinct from, and more varied than, the direct action of governments.1 In many countries, SOEs provide basic services such as water, electricity, and transportation to people and firms, as well as loans to businesses. SOEs are diverse, varying in size, sector of operation, complexity, sophistication, and extent of government ownership and control. Some are essentially an arm of the government, whereas others have a mix of public and private owners (mixed ownership) and a greater commercial focus. Many SOEs are among the largest companies in low-income developing countries, emerging markets, and advanced economies.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Chapter 1 argues that fiscal policies are at the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiscal measures can save lives, protect the most-affected people and firms from the economic impact of the pandemic, and prevent the health crisis from turning into a deep long-lasting slump. A key priority is to fully accommodate spending on health and emergency services. Global coordination is for a universally low-cost vaccine and to support countries with limited health capacity. Large, temporary and targeted support is urgently needed for affected workers and firms until the emergency abates. As the shutdowns end, broad-based, coordinated fiscal stimulus—where financing conditions permit—will become more effective in fostering the recovery. Chapter 2 argues that fiscal policies are at the forefront of facilitating an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic once the Great Lockdown ends. Policymakers can achieve this objective with IDEAS: Invest for the future—in health systems, infrastructure, low carbon technologies, education, and research; adopt well-planned Discretionary policies that can be deployed quickly; and Enhance Automatic Stabilizers, which are built-in budgetary tax and spending measures that automatically stabilize incomes and consumption. Importantly, improving unemployment benefit systems and social safety nets can protect household incomes from adverse shocks and strengthen resilience against future epidemics. Over the past decade, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have doubled in importance among the world’s largest corporations. They often deliver basic services such as water, electricity, and loans for families and small businesses. At their best, they can help promote higher economic growth and achieve development goals. However, many are a burden to taxpayers and the economy. Chapter 3 discusses what governments can do to get the most out of SOEs. This includes ensuring the firm’s managers have the right incentives and there is effective oversight. It also requires a high degree of transparency of their activities.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Chapter 1 argues that fiscal policies are at the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiscal measures can save lives, protect the most-affected people and firms from the economic impact of the pandemic, and prevent the health crisis from turning into a deep long-lasting slump. A key priority is to fully accommodate spending on health and emergency services. Global coordination is for a universally low-cost vaccine and to support countries with limited health capacity. Large, temporary and targeted support is urgently needed for affected workers and firms until the emergency abates. As the shutdowns end, broad-based, coordinated fiscal stimulus—where financing conditions permit—will become more effective in fostering the recovery. Chapter 2 argues that fiscal policies are at the forefront of facilitating an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic once the Great Lockdown ends. Policymakers can achieve this objective with IDEAS: Invest for the future—in health systems, infrastructure, low carbon technologies, education, and research; adopt well-planned Discretionary policies that can be deployed quickly; and Enhance Automatic Stabilizers, which are built-in budgetary tax and spending measures that automatically stabilize incomes and consumption. Importantly, improving unemployment benefit systems and social safety nets can protect household incomes from adverse shocks and strengthen resilience against future epidemics. Over the past decade, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have doubled in importance among the world’s largest corporations. They often deliver basic services such as water, electricity, and loans for families and small businesses. At their best, they can help promote higher economic growth and achieve development goals. However, many are a burden to taxpayers and the economy. Chapter 3 discusses what governments can do to get the most out of SOEs. This includes ensuring the firm’s managers have the right incentives and there is effective oversight. It also requires a high degree of transparency of their activities.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Chapter 1 of the report draws some early lessons from governments’ fiscal responses to the pandemic and provides a roadmap for the recovery. Governments’ measures to cushion the blow from the pandemic total a staggering $12 trillion globally. These lifelines and the worldwide recession have pushed global public debt to an all-time high. But governments should not withdraw lifelines too rapidly. Government support should shift gradually from protecting old jobs to getting people back to work and helping viable but still-vulnerable firms safely reopen. The fiscal measures for the recovery are an opportunity to make the economy more inclusive and greener. Chapter 2 of this report argues that governments need to scale up public investment to ensure successful reopening, boost growth, and prepare economies for the future. Low interest rates make borrowing to invest desirable. Countries that cannot access finance will, however, need to do more with less. The chapter explains how investment can be scaled up while preserving quality. Increasing public investment by 1 percent of GDP in advanced and emerging economies could create 7 million jobs directly, and more than 20 million jobs indirectly. Investments in healthcare, housing, digitalization, and the environment would lay the foundations for a more resilient and inclusive economy.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Chapter 1 argues that fiscal policies are at the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiscal measures can save lives, protect the most-affected people and firms from the economic impact of the pandemic, and prevent the health crisis from turning into a deep long-lasting slump. A key priority is to fully accommodate spending on health and emergency services. Global coordination is for a universally low-cost vaccine and to support countries with limited health capacity. Large, temporary and targeted support is urgently needed for affected workers and firms until the emergency abates. As the shutdowns end, broad-based, coordinated fiscal stimulus—where financing conditions permit—will become more effective in fostering the recovery. Chapter 2 argues that fiscal policies are at the forefront of facilitating an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic once the Great Lockdown ends. Policymakers can achieve this objective with IDEAS: Invest for the future—in health systems, infrastructure, low carbon technologies, education, and research; adopt well-planned Discretionary policies that can be deployed quickly; and Enhance Automatic Stabilizers, which are built-in budgetary tax and spending measures that automatically stabilize incomes and consumption. Importantly, improving unemployment benefit systems and social safety nets can protect household incomes from adverse shocks and strengthen resilience against future epidemics. Over the past decade, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have doubled in importance among the world’s largest corporations. They often deliver basic services such as water, electricity, and loans for families and small businesses. At their best, they can help promote higher economic growth and achieve development goals. However, many are a burden to taxpayers and the economy. Chapter 3 discusses what governments can do to get the most out of SOEs. This includes ensuring the firm’s managers have the right incentives and there is effective oversight. It also requires a high degree of transparency of their activities.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

“Above-the-line” measures Involve revenue raising and government expenditure, which affects the overall fiscal balance and government debt. In summary fiscal statements, these measures are typically recorded above the line of the overall fiscal balance.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

The following remarks were made by the Chair at the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion of the Fiscal Monitor, Global Financial Stability Report, and World Economic Outlook on April 7, 2020.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Costa Rica has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding the authorities’ proactive policy response and the country’s well-established universal healthcare system. The socio-economic impact has been significant, exacerbating an already fragile outlook and pre-existing imbalances, with a significant toll on economic activity and unemployment—especially among women and the young. The shock has further weakened the country’s fiscal position, undermining the expected yields from the ambitious fiscal reform launched in late 2018, and generated a large financing gap. Financial support through the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) in 2020 provided temporary relief to respond to the pandemic, including by catalyzing financial assistance from other official partners, but financing needs remain sizable over the medium term.