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 […]
Emerging markets and developing economies grew consistently in the two decades before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, allowing for much-needed gains in poverty reduction and life expectancy. The crisis now puts much of that progress at risk while further widening the gap between rich and poor.
Despite the pre-pandemic gains in poverty reduction and lifespans, many of these countries have struggled to reduce income inequality. At the same time, they saw persistently high shares of inactive youth (i.e., those not […]
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. […]
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe—bringing severe human and economic costs—the Caribbean is no exception. With over 1,000 confirmed cases, many countries have taken strong containment measures, such as border closures and lockdowns, to “flatten the curve.” […]
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 […]