CHART OF THE WEEKHow Countries Are Helping Small Businesses Survive COVID-19

By Kazuko Shirono, Esha Chhabra, and Jessica Fan The economic downturn caused by the pandemic has taken a painful toll on small businesses. Scores of retail businesses have permanently closed in cities around the world since the Great Lockdown in the spring of 2020. Small and medium enterprises have an out-sized impact on local economies. […]

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Government Support Is Vital as Countries Race to Vaccinate

By Vitor Gaspar, Raphael Lam, Paolo Mauro, and Mehdi Raissi The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating in many countries and uncertainty is unusually high. Decisive government actions are necessary to ensure swift and extensive vaccine rollouts, protect the most vulnerable households and otherwise viable firms, and foster a durable and inclusive recovery. Most countries will need […]

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A Race Between Vaccines and the Virus as Recoveries Diverge

By Gita Gopinath In just three months since we released our last forecast in October, recorded COVID-19 deaths have doubled to over 2 million, as new waves have lifted infections past previous peaks in many countries. In these same three months, multiple vaccines have seen unexpectedly strong success and some countries have started ambitious vaccination […]

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A Greener Future Begins with a Shift to Coal Alternatives

By Christian Bogmans and Claire Mengyi Li As the world economy emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, the consumption of coal is expected to recover from its sharp decline during the pandemic. Demand for coal remains strong and helps to fuel economic development in emerging markets. Yet many countries, seeking a more sustainable future, have been […]

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Emerging and Frontier Markets: Policy Tools in Times of Financial Stress

By Dimitris Drakopoulos, Rohit Goel, Fabio Natalucci, and Evan Papageorgiou After the unprecedented hit to economic activity in emerging market economies from the COVID-19 pandemic, their economic output is projected to shrink by 3.3 percent in 2020. Central banks across emerging markets responded swiftly and forcefully with an unprecedented response of their own. They did […]

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Pandemic Persistence Clouds Latin America and Caribbean Recovery

By Samuel Pienknagura, Jorge Roldós, and Alejandro Werner COVID-19 has hit Latin America and the Caribbean harder than other parts of the world, both in human and economic terms. The relatively large human toll is evident: with only 8.2 percent of the world population, the region had 28 percent of cases and 34 percent of […]

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Sub-Saharan Africa’s Difficult Road to Recovery

By Abebe Aemro Selassie Français The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented health and economic crisis for sub-Saharan Africa. Within months, the spread of the virus has jeopardized years of development and decades-long gains against poverty in the region while threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Policymakers in sub-Saharan Africa now face the […]

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Financial Conditions Have Eased, but Insolvencies Loom Large

By Tobias Adrian and Fabio Natalucci Amid the human tragedy and economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent surge in risk appetite in financial markets has caught analysts’ attention. After sharp declines in February and March, equity markets have rallied back, in some cases to close to their January levels, while credit spreads have narrowed significantly, […]

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The Great Lockdown through a Global Lens

By Gita Gopinath The Great Lockdown is expected to play out in three phases, first as countries enter the lockdown, then as they exit, and finally as they escape the lockdown when there is a medical solution to the pandemic. Many countries are now in the second phase, as they reopen, with early signs of […]

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The Global Economic Reset—Promoting a More Inclusive Recovery

By Kristalina Georgieva  The COVID-19 crisis is inflicting the most pain on those who are already most vulnerable. This calamity could lead to a significant rise in income inequality. And it could jeopardize development gains, from educational attainment to poverty reduction. New estimates suggest that up to 100 million people worldwide could be pushed into […]

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