With vaccines around the corner, there is increased hope that the pandemic could soon be under better control. That said, the need for cooperative efforts to work toward a better future has never been greater. Priority areas relate to the need to produce and distribute vaccines globally, tackle climate change, and bolster the economic recovery from the crisis.
An IMF report published ahead of the G20 leaders meeting argues that a synchronized infrastructure investment push could invigorate growth, limit scarring, and address climate goals. In fact, when many countries act at the same time, public infrastructure investment could help lift growth domestically and abroad through trade linkages. This positive “spillover” effect could provide an additional boost to global output.
The spillovers created by higher demand are particularly impactful when economic conditions are weak and interest rates low. When economic conditions are strong, higher government spending may push inflation above the central bank’s target and trigger a monetary policy tightening, offsetting some of the initial boost to demand. But when conditions are weak and inflation is well below target, monetary policy is less likely to tighten in response to higher government […]
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. […]
In the United States, the ratio of corporate debt to GDP is at record-high levels. In several European countries, banks are overloaded with government bonds. In China, bank profitability is declining, and capital levels remain low at small and medium-size lenders. […]
While global growth in 2018 remained close to postcrisis highs, the global expansion is weakening and at a rate that is somewhat faster than expected. This update of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) projects global growth at 3.5 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020, 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point below last October’s projections. […]