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International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept.
This paper provides an update on the status of the SDR trading market and operations one year after the historic fourth general allocation of SDRs. In the reporting period, SDR trading has been dominated by SDR sales due to the 2021 SDR allocation. The VTAs continue to have ample capacities to meet the demand for exchange of SDRs into currencies. Staff has made significant progress in further strengthening the SDR trading market. Since the SDR allocation, eight new VTA members have been welcomed to the SDR trading market and many existing VTA members provided additional operational flexibilities. Discussions with a number of potential new entrants continue in the broader context of SDR channeling, which encourages contributors to have VTAs.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Macroeconomic performance and buffers were strong when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Economic and social restrictions instituted in March 2020 helped slow new infections and mitigate negative health outcomes but triggered a deep decline in activity in Q2:2020. The slump was followed by a strong rebound in Q3 as the restrictions were eased. With the resurgence of the virus, pressures on the health system peaked in late-March 2021 and eased after a new round of restrictions. Going forward, the outlook is for a near-term economic recovery subject to large two-way risks. The strength and durability of the recovery hinges on the evolution of the health situation and the extent of economic scarring from the pandemic.
Samuel Bowles and Wendy Carlin

Many workers deemed essential during the pandemic—such as those in eldercare, supermarkets, and distribution warehouses—are unable to make ends meet even in good times. And during the COVID-19 crisis the threat of serious illness has been added to low pay. Employers have required people to report to work—in meat-packing plants and restaurants—at grave risk to themselves and their families; their only recourse is to walk away from their jobs, risking their livelihoods.

Cornelia Hammer, Ms. Diane C Kostroch, and Mr. Gabriel Quiros-Romero
Big data are part of a paradigm shift that is significantly transforming statistical agencies, processes, and data analysis. While administrative and satellite data are already well established, the statistical community is now experimenting with structured and unstructured human-sourced, process-mediated, and machine-generated big data. The proposed SDN sets out a typology of big data for statistics and highlights that opportunities to exploit big data for official statistics will vary across countries and statistical domains. To illustrate the former, examples from a diverse set of countries are presented. To provide a balanced assessment on big data, the proposed SDN also discusses the key challenges that come with proprietary data from the private sector with regard to accessibility, representativeness, and sustainability. It concludes by discussing the implications for the statistical community going forward.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Effectively addressing low productivity growth and risks to competitiveness requires a three-pronged approach: (i) making growth promotion more effective through oversight of programs by a dedicated productivity unit in the Prime Ministry, better calibrating programs to company's needs, incentivizing take-up, and scaling-up selected programs; (ii) re-anchoring wage developments in fundamentals by moderating government and minimum wage policies and mobilizing additional labor resources for the private sector, including through faster reduction of government employment; and (iii) social security contribution cuts to provide relief from pressures on profitability.