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Mr. Divya Kirti, Yang Liu, Soledad Martinez Peria, Ms. Prachi Mishra, and Jan Strasky
We introduce a new comprehensive announcement-level database tracking the extraordinary fiscal, monetary, prudential, and other policies that countries adopted in response to Covid-19. The database provides detailed information, including sizes where available, for 28 granular policies adopted by 74 countries during 2020. About 5,500 policy measures were announced during this period. Importantly, the database is organized and presented in a format easy for researchers to use in empirical analyses. Announcements were highly correlated across the broad fiscal, monetary, and prudential categories and at more granular levels. Advanced economies (AEs) introduced larger fiscal measures than emerging and developing economies (EMDEs) and relied primarily on large unconventional monetary policies. Bank capital requirements were relaxed widely in both AEs and EMs, while relaxation of provisioning requirements was more common among EMs. Supervisory expectations and reporting requirements were widely relaxed.
Mr. Paul A Austin, Mr. Marco Marini, Alberto Sanchez, Chima Simpson-Bell, and James Tebrake
As the pandemic heigthened policymakers’ demand for more frequent and timely indicators to assess economic activities, traditional data collection and compilation methods to produce official indicators are falling short—triggering stronger interest in real time data to provide early signals of turning points in economic activity. In this paper, we examine how data extracted from the Google Places API and Google Trends can be used to develop high frequency indicators aligned to the statistical concepts, classifications, and definitions used in producing official measures. The approach is illustrated by use of Google data-derived indicators that predict well the GDP trajectories of selected countries during the early stage of COVID-19. To this end, we developed a methodological toolkit for national compilers interested in using Google data to enhance the timeliness and frequency of economic indicators.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Strong health and economic policies allowed for quick economic recovery from initial COVID-19-related lockdowns in 2020. Renewed outbreaks and lockdowns have created setbacks since mid-2021, with disproportionate impacts on some regions, sectors, and workers. Accommodative macroeconomic policies have been instrumental in cushioning the economic impact.
Khaled Eltokhy, Ms. Katja Funke, Guohua Huang, Yujin Kim, and Genet Zinabou
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world announced unprecedented fiscal packages to address the economic impact of the crisis. The unusually large scale of the packages was accompanied by widespread calls for “greening” them to meet the dual goals of economic recovery and environmental sustainability. In response, several researchers and international organizations attempted to assess the “greenness” of the fiscal policy response of the world’s largest economies. This paper takes stock of the contributions made by these various trackers, identifies strengths and weaknesses of their methodologies, and draws lessons for assessing the climate impact of fiscal policy going forward. It finds that: trackers provided useful assessments of the (generally low) level of greenness and raised awareness; trackers’ methodologies, while valid and innovative, varied significantly with some important, if currently largely unavoidable, weaknesses; and the way forward should involve tracking the greenness of entire government budgets, rather than just their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Vybhavi Balasundharam and Mr. Robin Koepke
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a collapse in international tourism, severely impacting the tourism-dependent economies in the Asia & Pacific region. Once countries start reopening, tourism diversion effects could accelerate the recovery in countries that establish themselves as more attractive travel destinations than competitors. We investigate the impact of previous shocks in tourism competitor countries on visitor inflows, with a particular focus on tourism-dependent Pacific Island Countries (PICs). We find that PICs were generally resilient to external shocks and benefitted from diversion effects for certain types of shocks. For example, the share of departures from Australia to PICs increased by 12 percent during the SARS outbreak. We then derive policy implications for the post-COVID-19 revival of inbound tourism to PICs and lessons for the future.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Aleksandra Babii, Mr. Serhan Cevik, Stella Kaendera, Mr. Dirk V Muir, Sanaa Nadeem, and Mr. Gonzalo Salinas
This departmental paper analyzes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism in the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and Caribbean countries. Many tourism dependent economies in these regions, including small states in the Pacific and the Caribbean, entered the pandemic with limited fiscal space, inadequate external buffers, and foreign exchange revenues extremely concentrated in tourism. The empirical analysis leverages on an augmented gravity model to draw lessons from past epidemics and finds that the impact of infectious diseases on tourism flows is much greater in developing countries than in advanced economies.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still unfolding around the globe. In Asia, as elsewhere, the virus has ebbed in some countries but surged in others. The global economy is beginning to recover after a sharp contraction in the second quarter of 2020, as nationwide lockdowns are lifted and replaced with more targeted containment measures.