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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Europe is going through a deep recession, driven by a collapse in confidence and global demand, and by adverse feedback effects between its financial system and the real economy. Unprecedented policy actions have brought about a measure of stability and cushioned the downturn. However, establishing a solid economic recovery will require additional and effectively coordinated policy interventions. The crisis provides an opportunity to strengthen economic and financial integration in Europe, including by strongly supporting emerging economies, that should not be missed.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Asia has achieved remarkable economic success over the past five decades. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, and successive waves of economies have made the transition to middle-income and even advanced-economy status. And whereas the region used to be almost entirely dependent on foreign know-how, several of its economies are now on the cutting edge of technological advance. Even more striking, all of this has happened within just a couple of generations, the product of a winning mix of integration with the global economy via trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), high savings rates, large investments in human and physical capital, and sound macroeconomic policies.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The global expansion that began two years ago appears to have peaked and become less synchronized across economies. While economic activity moderated in advanced economies during the first half of 2018 compared to 2017, it remained steady in most emerging economies (Figure 1). Growth was lower than expected in the euro area, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, in the United States, domestic demand continued to be buoyant, underpinned by low unemployment and a historically large, temporary fiscal expansion. Among emerging market economies, growth remained strong in emerging Asia but weakened in Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey. Several downside risks highlighted in the April 2018 World Economic Outlook (WEO) have increased or partially materialized, such as rising trade tensions and capital outflows from emerging economies with weaker fundamentals. With this more mixed global growth picture, there are already signs that trade is slowing.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

On the heels of the global financial crisis, active fiscal policy is back on the agenda of the advanced European economies. Indeed, a fiscal expansion could be particularly effective in the near-term economic environment: the recent tightening of credit constraints could make spending more sensitive to current income and, thus, taxes and subsidies. Given the increased integration of European economies, policy coordination is nonetheless key to magnifying the effects of national fiscal expansions. While it is important for countries to support their economies in the face of this unprecedented slowdown, a clear and credible commitment to long-run fiscal discipline is now more essential than ever: any loss of market confidence may raise long-term real interest rates and debtservice costs, partly offsetting the stimulus effects of measures taken to deal with the crisis and further adding to financing pressures. Hence, it is particularly crucial that any short-term fiscal action be cast within a credible medium-term fiscal framework and envisage a fiscal correction as the crisis abates.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

A short period of apparent resilience to the global financial turmoil has given way to a deep crisis in several European emerging markets, though with substantial differentiation across the region. The crisis has put an increased premium on sound macroeconomic and macroprudential policies: countries with lower inflation, smaller current account deficits, and lower dependence on bank-related capital inflows in recent years have so far fared better. While the external environment and structural reform efforts will matter, the banking sector, which has played a central role in the run-up to the crisis, holds a key to the speed of recovery from the crisis. In the short term, bank recapitalizations seem unavoidable to prevent recessions from becoming protracted. In the medium term, recovery efforts need to be supported by a strengthening of financial stability arrangements, including for cross-border activities, and the introduction of more forward-looking provisioning policies.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Asia’s heavy reliance on trade in general, and its integration in global value chains in particular, have been critical elements behind the region’s stellar growth record. But rising income levels and wages in the region combined with a less buoyant medium-term outlook in advanced economies suggest the need for Asia to reconsider its growth model, currently oriented toward meeting final demand in other regions (IMF 2016, Mano 2016). In addition, China has not exited labor-intensive light manufacturing sectors as quickly as Korea and Japan did in earlier eras, possibly limiting opportunities for the next wave of Asian developing economies and again suggesting the need for a new model (Mathai and others 2016). Finally, the secular decline in manufacturing’s share in employment combined with the fast rise in automation (for example, robotics), also points to a needed shift toward tradable services (IMF 2018e).

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The April 2017 Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific documented that productivity growth in a number of economies in Asia—just as in the rest of the world—slowed after the global financial crisis, and that this slowdown was most severe in the region’s advanced economies and in China (Figure 11). In addition, the slowdown was not a temporary phenomenon, but rather has persisted and even become the “new normal” in some economies. IMF (2018c), the third background paper to this Regional Economic Outlook, complements the earlier analysis, which was based on national accounts data, by examining firm-level data from the Orbis data set for six advanced and emerging market Asian economies for which sufficient data are available (China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand), during the period 2003–15.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The final challenge for Asia addressed in this Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific is how to reap the potential benefits of the digital revolution while minimizing its costs. While digitalization and automation are not new, they have accelerated in recent years, and a new wave of innovation—triggered by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, computing power, and cryptography, as well as the explosion of big data—is reshaping the global economy. More so than during past periods of innovation, including the spread of personal computers in the 1980s and the rise of the internet in the 1990s, today’s technological advances are multiple and overlapping, creating synergies and accelerating outcomes. The digital revolution is affecting all sectors and activities of the economy, with a far-reaching social and economic impact. The new technologies are general-purpose in nature, with the potential—over time—to transform the global economy, substantially boost productivity, and fundamentally alter the way humans live and work, much as the steam engine and electricity did. That said, history suggests that such benefits may be observed only with a delay—after a sufficient stock of the new technology and complementary innovations, as well as the capital investments to implement them, are built up. And by the same token, the substantial disruptions and dislocations that may occur may also take place only over time. It is likely that neither the opportunities nor the challenges related to digitalization have yet become fully apparent.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Asia is the world’s most dynamic economic region. But it faces a number of serious challenges over the medium to long term—that its trade-reliant growth strategy will no longer be viable (at least in its current form), that population aging will weigh on many dimensions of economic performance, that productivity growth may not accelerate again, and that the ongoing digitalization of its economies may lead to major disruptions even as k boosts productivity over time.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Europe is in a deep recession. Adverse feedback between the financial and real sectors and across borders is likely to delay the recovery and create downside risks. Unprecedented policies have been undertaken to address the crisis-but are they likely to be successful and sufficiently coordinated for a tightly integrated region? To restore trust and confidence in financial markets, additional and forceful action will be essential. Maintaining fiscal support should help soften the downturn, in particular if sustainability is supported by solid medium-term strategies and fiscal frameworks. To be effective, these policies require coordination across advanced and emerging economies. The report's analytical work underpins the link between fiscal sustainability, coordination, and effectiveness, and stresses that emerging markets have been affected differently by the crisis, with the quality of policies and external vulnerabilities being key factors.