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.
Notwithstanding the deceleration in global activity in late 2011 and weaker growth prospects (see the April 2012 World Economic Outlook), fiscal deficits in most advanced economies are projected to continue to decline in 2012 (Table 1). Headline deficits will fall by almost 1 percentage point of GDP among the advanced economies, as countries unwind fiscal stimulus and, in a few cases, implement austerity measures in response to market pressures. At about 1 percentage point of GDP, deficit reduction in cyclically adjusted terms would be slightly higher than that implemented in 2011. In many cases, the challenge will be to ensure continued progress toward sound public finances while avoiding an excessive fiscal drag on activity. Gross financing needs are expected to decline only slightly, hovering around 25 percent of GDP per year over the coming three years in advanced economies, as lower deficits are offset by higher rollover requirements on a larger maturing debt stock (Table 2).
This appendix comprises six sections. “What’s New” presents a brief description of the methodological changes to the database and statistical tables since the April 2012 issue of the Fiscal Monitor. “Data and Conventions” provides a general description of the data and of the conventions used for calculating economy group composites. “Fiscal Policy Assumptions” summarizes the country-specific assumptions underlying the estimates and projections for 2012–17. Details on the coverage and accounting practices underlying each country’s Fiscal Monitor data are provided in “Definition and Coverage of Fiscal Data.” The classification of countries in the various groups presented in the Fiscal Monitor is summarized in “Economy Groupings.” “Statistical Tables” on key fiscal variables complete the appendix. Data in these tables have been compiled on the basis of information available through October 2012.
Weakening growth and policy uncertainties cast a shadow over the fiscal outlook, even as budget deficits narrow and recent announcements by monetary authorities provide some respite on the financial front. Countries with stronger fiscal positions and lower public debt, including several emerging market economies, can afford to pause fiscal consolidation efforts, but in others adjustment must proceed at a pace that reflects medium-term adjustment needs, the state of the economy, and financing constraints. Where financing permits, flexibility should be allowed for automatic stabilizers to play in response to moderate growth shortfalls. Should growth fall well short of current expectations, countries with space should smooth their adjustment paths over 2013 and beyond. The United States and Japan must promptly define and enact clear and credible plans to return to fiscal sustainability over the medium term and buttress investor confidence.
The following remarks were made by the Chair at the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion of the World Economic Outlook, Global Financial Stability Report, and Fiscal Monitor on September 25, 2014.
This appendix comprises four sections. “Data and Conventions” provides a general description of the data and conventions used to calculate economy group composites. “Fiscal Policy Assumptions” summarizes the country-specific assumptions underlying the estimates and projections for 2020–21. “Definition and Coverage of Fiscal Data” summarizes the classification of countries in the various groups presented in the Fiscal Monitor and provides details on the coverage and accounting practices underlying each country’s Fiscal Monitor data. Statistical tables on key fiscal variables complete the appendix. Data in these tables have been compiled based on the information available through April 8, 2020.
This appendix comprises five sections: Data and Conventions provides a general description of the data and of the conventions used for calculating economy group composites. Fiscal Policy Assumptions summarizes the country-specific assumptions underlying the estimates and projections for 2014–19. Definition and Coverage of Fiscal Data provides details on the coverage and accounting practices underlying each country’s Fiscal Monitor data. Economy Groupings summarizes the classification of countries in the various groups presented in the Fiscal Monitor. Statistical Tables on key fiscal variables complete the appendix. Data in these tables have been compiled on the basis of information available through September 2014.
Consolidation efforts are yielding fruit, at least for deficits. In 2013, cyclically adjusted deficits are expected to fall below their precrisis levels in about half of the countries included in the Fiscal Monitor database.2 The evolution of debt ratios is more varied: they have declined in most emerging market economies, but not in most of the advanced economies, reflecting in many cases higher interest rate–growth differentials in the latter group. Consolidation packages have typically attempted to focus on measures that are supportive of potential growth, but countries with large adjustment requirements have had to use a broader brush, in many cases cutting public investment and raising income taxes. Institutional reforms have also been introduced to strengthen governance and credibility, including—but not only—in the euro area.