The Great Divergence: A Fork in the Road for the Global Economy

By Kristalina Georgieva As G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet virtually this week, the world continues to climb back from the worst recession in peacetime since the Great Depression. The IMF recently projected global GDP growth at 5.5 per cent this year and 4.2 per cent in 2022. But it is going to […]

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Divergent Recoveries in Asia: History is not Destiny

by Davide Furceri, Jonathan D. Ostry, and Anthony C.K. Tan 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 […]

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Structural Factors and Central Bank Credibility Limit Inflation Risks

By Gita Gopinath After ending last year with unexpectedly strong vaccine success and hope that the pandemic and economic distress it caused would recede, we woke up to the reality of new virus variants and the unpredictable, winding road that it can lead the world down. Something similar has happened with the discourse on inflation. […]

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Public and Private Money Can Coexist in the Digital Age

By Tobias Adrian and Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli 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. Today’s world is characterized by a dual monetary system, […]

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Why Climate Change Vulnerability Is Bad for Sovereign Credit Ratings

By Serhan Cevik and João Tovar Jalles Climate change has made the world a riskier place. The destruction wrought by heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes, and coastal flooding doesn’t stop with the toll on human lives and livelihoods—it can also have deep consequences for a country’s finances. Recent IMF staff research has found that a country’s vulnerability […]

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Chart of the WeekWhen it Comes to Services vs. Manufacturing, Words Matter

By Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov 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 […]

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Latin America and Caribbean’s Winding Road to Recovery

By Alejandro Werner, Anna Ivanova, and Takuji Komatsuzaki Latin America and Caribbean economies managed to bounce back from COVID-19’s initial economic devastation earlier in 2020. But the pandemic’s resurgence towards the end of the year threatens to thwart an uneven recovery and add to the steep social and human costs. After the sharp contraction in […]

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Cooperation Critical to Reducing Divergent Paths to Recovery in Middle East and Central Asia

By Jihad Azour  عربي, Français, Русский  The road to recovery for the Middle East and Central Asia region will hinge on containment measures, access to and distribution of vaccines, the scope of policies to support growth, and measures to mitigate economic scarring from the pandemic. The virus’s second wave, which began in September, hurt many countries […]

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COVID’s Long Shadow: Social Repercussions of Pandemics

By Philip Barrett, Sophia Chen, and Nan Li In 1832, the great cholera pandemic hit Paris. In just a few months, the disease killed 20,000 of the city’s 650,000 population. Most fatalities occurred in the heart of the city, where many poor workers lived in squalid conditions, drawn to Paris by the Industrial Revolution. The […]

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Chart of the WeekThe Pre-Pandemic Debt Landscape—and Why It Matters

By Xuehui Han, Paulo Medas, and Susan Yang 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 […]

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