Interest rates are low, and “lower for longer” has become something of a mantra among policy makers, regulators, and other market watchers. But negative interest rates raise an entirely new set of questions. […]
Much of Europe rang in the start of 2021 with new lockdowns and weak economic activity. This same period saw the roll out of effective vaccines. While the end of the pandemic will remain a race between the virus and vaccines, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. […]
Asian economies are performing better than expected. In the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook Update, we upgraded our growth estimate for 2020 by 0.7 percentage point from our previous forecast in October, to a contraction of 1.5 percent—in regional terms, a better outcome than other parts of the world. […]
We value innovation and diversity—including in money. In the same day, we might pay by swiping a card, waving a phone, or clicking a mouse. Or we might hand over notes and coins, though in many countries increasingly less often. […]
Efforts to revive national manufacturing sectors get a lot of airtime. After all, the sector propelled many East and South East Asian economies—the so-called “East Asia Miracle”—and was a gateway to the middle class for millions of workers. However, for all the obsession with manufacturing, economists for their part seem to be more preoccupied with services.
To confirm this, we combed through thousands of IMF reports on countries’ economies from 1978 to 2019. Using 113 distinct terms related to growth theory and policy—ranging from “infrastructure” to “liberalization”—we computed the relative weights […]
Many countries entered the pandemic with elevated debt levels. Our new update of the IMF’s Global Debt Database shows that global debt—public plus private—reached $197 trillion in 2019, up by $9 trillion from the previous year. This substantial debt created challenges for countries that faced a debt surge in 2020, as economic activity collapsed and governments acted swiftly to provide support during the pandemic.
Higher debt can potentially reduce the ability of governments to react to the COVID-19 crisis.
Our data show that the global average debt-to-GDP ratio […]
Global uncertainty reached unprecedented levels at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and remains elevated. The World Uncertainty Index—a quarterly measure of global economic and policy uncertainty covering 143 countries—shows that although uncertainty has come down by about 60 percent from the peak observed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, it remains about 50 percent above its historical average during the 1996–2010 period.
Uncertainty in systemic economies matters for uncertainty […]
2020 will soon be over, and with it an incredibly trying year. The editors at IMFBlog wish you good health and peace over the holidays ahead, and into the new year.
In case you missed some of the compelling facts and figures in our Charts of the Week series this year, we have pulled together your top reads.
Here are the top ten charts of the week for 2020, based on your readership.