Africa

IMF Releases World Economic Outlook, October 2018

IMF released world economic outlook, October 2018 yesterday. The steady expansion under way since mid-2016 continues, with global growth for 2018–19 projected to remain at its 2017 level. At the same time, however, the expansion has become less balanced and may have peaked in some major economies. Downside risks to global growth have risen in the past six months and the potential for upside surprises has receded.

“The latest World Economic Outlook report projects that global growth will remain steady over this year and next, at last year’s rate of 3.7 percent”, Maurice Obstfeld, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department of IMF said.

Global growth for 2018–19 is projected to remain steady at its 2017 level, but its pace is less vigorous than projected in April and it has become less balanced. Downside risks to global growth have risen in the past six months and the potential for upside surprises has receded. Global growth is projected at 3.7 percent for 2018–19—0.2 percentage point lower for both years than forecast in April.

The downward revision reflects surprises that suppressed activity in early 2018 in some major advanced economies, the negative effects of the trade measures implemented or approved between April and mid-September, as well as a weaker outlook for some key emerging market and developing economies arising from country-specific factors, tighter financial conditions, geopolitical tensions, and higher oil import bills.

Output losses after the 2008 financial crisis appear to be persistent, irrespective of whether a country suffered a banking crisis in 2007–08. Sluggish investment was a key channel through which these losses registered, accompanied by long-lasting capital and total factor productivity shortfalls relative to precrisis trends.

Policy choices preceding the crisis and in its immediate aftermath influenced postcrisis variation in output. Underscoring the importance of macroprudential policies and effective supervision, countries with greater financial vulnerabilities in the precrisis years suffered larger output losses after the crisis. Countries with stronger precrisis fiscal positions and those with more flexible exchange rate regimes experienced smaller losses. Unprecedented and exceptional policy actions taken after the crisis helped mitigate countries’ postcrisis output losses.

Inflation in emerging market and developing economies since the mid-2000s has, on average, been low and stable. IMF investigated whether these recent gains in inflation performance are sustainable as global financial conditions normalize.

First, despite the overall stability, sizable heterogeneity in inflation performance and in variability of longer-term inflation expectations remains among emerging markets.

Second, changes in longer-term inflation expectations are the main determinant of inflation, while external conditions play a more limited role, suggesting that domestic, not global, factors are the main contributor to the recent gains in inflation performance.

Third, further improvements in the extent of anchoring of inflation expectations can significantly improve economic resilience to adverse external shocks in emerging markets. Anchoring reduces inflation persistence and limits the pass-through of currency depreciations to domestic prices, allowing monetary policy to focus more on smoothing fluctuations in output.

© The Expo Review

 

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