The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the world leader in growth, and recent data point to a pickup in momentum. Growth is projected to reach 5.5 percent in 2017 and 5.4 percent in 2018. Accommodative policies will underpin domestic demand, offsetting tighter global financial conditions. Despite volatile capital flows, Asian financial markets have been resilient, reflecting strong fundamentals. However, the near-term outlook is clouded with significant uncertainty, and risks, on balance, remain slanted to the downside. On the upside, growth momentum remains strong, particularly in advanced economies and in Asia. Additional policy stimulus, especially U.S. fiscal policy, could provide further support. On the downside, the continued tightening of global financial conditions and economic uncertainty could trigger volatility in capital flows. A possible shift toward protectionism in major trading partners also represents a substantial risk to the region. Asia is particularly vulnerable to a decline in global trade because the region has a high trade openness ratio, with significant participation in global supply chains. A bumpier-than-expected transition in China would also have large spillovers. Medium-term growth faces secular headwinds, including population aging and slow productivity catchup. Adapting to aging could be especially challenging for Asia, as populations living at relatively low per capita income levels in many parts of the region are rapidly becoming old. In other words, parts of Asia risk “growing old before becoming rich.” Another challenge for the region is how to raise productivity growth—productivity convergence with the United States and other advanced economies has stalled—when external factors, including further trade integration, might not be as supportive as they were in the past. On policies, monetary policy should generally remain accommodative, though policy rates should be raised if inflationary pressures pick up, and macroprudential settings should be tightened in some countries to slow credit growth. Fiscal policy should support and complement structural reforms and external rebalancing, where needed and fiscal space is available; countries with closed output gaps should start rebuilding fiscal space. To sustain long-term growth, structural reforms are needed to deal with challenges from the demographic transition and to boost productivity.
In past decades, Asia has benefited significantly from demographic trends, along with strong policies. Many parts of Asia, particularly East Asia, reaped a “demographic dividend” as the number of workers grew faster than the number of dependents, providing a strong tailwind for growth. This dividend is about to end for many Asian economies. This can have important implications for labor markets, investment and saving decisions, and public budgets.
Nearly 10 years after the global financial crisis, the prospect of mediocre future growth is still a concern. In part, the cause for this concern is the recent slowdown in productivity growth in many advanced economies—a slowdown that is widely expected to continue. Another related reason is the weakness in business investment, which is one channel through which new technology and innovation—the fundamental underpinnings of productivity growth—influence economies.
This Selected Issues paper on the Czech Republic presents an analysis of various aspects of population aging: its macroeconomic effects; impact on fiscal sustainability; and implications for private savings. The paper simulates the macroeconomic effects of population aging in the Czech Republic using an overlapping-generations model. It finds that aging can significantly weaken the outlook for economic growth and living standards. The paper evaluates the fiscal implications of aging using a generational-accounting framework. It also evaluates the monetary policy implications of capital account volatility—as the relative importance of portfolio flows increases.
This paper examines the effects of demographic dynamics on the measured rates of economic growth. It develops a model of production with labor productivity that varies with age. Macroeconomic and demographic data are used to estimate the relative productivity of different age groups. A panel database of effective labor supply is constructed in order to reflect the changing age structure of the population. The historical measured growth rates are then deconstructed into effects of demographic dynamics and into “real” growth rates, net of demographic effects.
Cristina Batog, Ernesto Crivelli, Ms. Anna Ilyina, Zoltan Jakab, Mr. Jaewoo Lee, Anvar Musayev, Iva Petrova, Mr. Alasdair Scott, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Andreas Tudyka, Xin Cindy Xu, and Ruifeng Zhang
The populations of Central and Eastern European (CESEE) countries—with the exception of Turkey—are expected to decrease significantly over the next 30 years, driven by low or negative net birth rates and outward migration. These changes will have significant implications for growth, living standards and fiscal sustainability.
How to entrench hard-won gains, increase resilience to shocks, and improve growth performance to reduce poverty? As Central America moves forward in regaining macroeconomic stability, these are the challenges. This study analyzes Central America’s real, fiscal, monetary, and financial sector policies at the regional level, starting with a review of growth performance and the macroeconomic implications of remittances. It then looks at the sustainability of pension systems, financial system development, sovereign debt vulnerabilities, and ways to sustain progress in reducing inflation by strengthening the credibility of central banks.