The world entered the COVID-19 pandemic with persistent, pre-existing external imbalances. The crisis has caused a sharp reduction in trade and significant movements in exchange rates but limited reduction in global current account deficits and surpluses. […]
The pandemic has highlighted the role of the public sector in saving lives and livelihoods. State-owned enterprises are part of that effort. They can be public utilities that provide essential services. Or public banks that provide loans to small businesses. […]
The world has changed dramatically in the three months since our last update of the World Economic Outlook in January. A rare disaster, a coronavirus pandemic, has resulted in a tragically large number of human lives being lost. […]
The coronavirus continues to spread. As more countries impose quarantines and social distancing, the fear of contagion and income losses is increasing uncertainty around the world.
A new measure of economic uncertainty related to pandemics and other disease outbreaks finds that uncertainty around the coronavirus is exceptionally high and is much higher than in past outbreaks.
While we have seen some recent volatility, many risky asset markets around the world had a spectacular year in 2019. Equity market indices were up just over 30 percent in the United States, close to 25 percent in Europe and China, and over 15 percent in emerging markets and Japan. Emerging-market sovereign debt, U.S. high-yield debt, and emerging-market corporate debt all had returns in excess of 12 percent. Remarkably, the fourth quarter of 2019 was especially strong in China and in emerging markets.
In the October World Economic Outlook, we described the global economy as in a synchronized slowdown, with escalating downside risks that could further derail growth. Since then, some risks have partially receded with the announcement of a US-China Phase I trade deal and lower likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. […]
The odds of poor or middle-income countries achieving the stardom of the “Asian Miracles” within a generation or two, or even three, are small. Between 1960 and 2014, only 16 developing economies worldwide were able to vault into high-income status, and many of those were fortunate enough to have discovered oil or join the European Union. […]
Social and economic inequality between and within regions in countries is rising in many advanced economies and is now at the forefront of the policy debate because of perceptions that some people and places have been left behind. […]