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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Spurred by an impressive vaccination drive, the economy is rebounding from a severe pandemic wave. The government successfully maintained fiscal, external, and financial stability. Nonetheless, the labor market recovery is lagging, with sizeable underemployment, small and medium sized enterprises remain vulnerable, problem loans are rising, real estate and corporate bond market risks are elevated, and the pandemic exacerbated longstanding structural challenges.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This technical assistance (TA) report on government finance statistics (GFS) covers the remote TA to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) during September 21–October 2 and December 14–18, 2020 and March 9–13 and April 19–23, 2021 (which was extended to May 2021). These peripatetic activities were conducted remotely due to the travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 situation. This report documents the main achievements from these activities. These activities were part of the GFS and Public Sector Debt Statistics (PSDS) project funded by the Government of Japan (JSA3) and implemented by the IMF Statistics Department (STA) and the IMF Capacity Development Office in Thailand (CDOT).
Alexandra Fotiou and Andresa Lagerborg
Following the Great Lockdown in 2020, it is important to take stock of lessons learned. How effective have different containment measures been in slowing the spread of Covid-19? Have containment measures been costly in terms of economic growth, fiscal balances, and accumulated debt? This paper finds that countries with previous SARS experience acted fast and "smart", and were able to contain the virus by relying mainly on public health measures ─ testing, contact tracing, and public information campaigns ─ rather than stay-at-home requirements. Using past coronavirus outbreaks as an instrumental variable, we show that countries with past experience were able to contain the virus in a smart way, reducing transmission and deaths while also experiencing higher economic growth in 2020.
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.

Parisa Kamali
In many countries, a sizable share of international trade is carried out by intermediaries. While large firms tend to export to foreign markets directly, smaller firms typically export via intermediaries (indirect exporting). I document a set of facts that characterize the dynamic nature of indirect exporting using firm-level data from Vietnam and develop a dynamic trade model with both direct and indirect exporting modes and customer accumulation. The model is calibrated to match the dynamic moments of the data. The calibration yields fixed costs of indirect exporting that are less than a third of those of direct exporting, the variable costs of indirect exporting are twice higher, and demand for the indirectly exported products grows more slowly. Decomposing the gains from indirect and direct exporting, I find that 18 percent of the gains from trade in Vietnam are generated by indirect exporters. Finally, I demonstrate that a dynamic model that excludes the indirect exporting channel will overstate the welfare gains associated with trade liberalization by a factor of two.
Manoj Atolia, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Milton Marquis, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
This paper takes a fresh look at the current theories of structural transformation and the role of private and public fundamentals in the process. It summarizes some representative past and current experiences of various countries vis-a-vis structural transformation with a focus on the roles of manufacturing, policy, and the international environment in shaping the trajectory of structural transformation. The salient aspects of the current debate on premature deindustrialization and its relation to a middle-income trap are described as they relate to the path of structural transformation. Conclusions are drawn regarding prospective future paths for structural transformation and development policies.
Mr. James M. Boughton

Abstract

The world and the IMF have undergone profound changes since the Bretton Woods Conference. James Boughton, former historian of the IMF, looks at key events that have shaped the IMF and the international scene. From the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to the Great Recession, this essay focuses on 11 events in history that have influenced the design and work of the IMF, as well as the international monetary system. This booklet, prepared for the 70th anniversary of the IMF, is an excerpt from a longer essay that is available on the IMF eLibrary. It is an excellent primer on the motivation behind the founding of the IMF and the evolution of the organization.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Global Monitoring Report 2008, the fifth in an annual series, is essential reading for those who wish to follow the global development agenda and debate in 2008. The year marks the midpoint toward the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is also an important year to work toward a consensus on how the world is going to respond to the challenge of climate change, building on the foundation laid at the Bali climate change conference in December 2007. The report spans this agenda. It provides a comprehensive assessment of progress toward the MDGs and related policies and actions. It addresses the challenge of climate change and environmental sustainability and assesses its implications for development. The report's assessment of MDGs at midpoint presents a mixed picture, one of both significant progress and formidable challenges. The first MDG, reducing extreme poverty by half, is likely to be met at the global level, thanks to a remarkable surge in global economic growth over the past decade. But, on current trends, the human development MDGs are unlikely to be met. Prospects are gravest for the goals of reducing child and maternal mortality, but shortfalls are also likely in the primary school completion. nutrition, and sanitation MDGs. The potential effects of climate change compound the challenge of achieving the development goals and sustaining progress. The report's messages are clear: urgent action is needed to help the world get back on track to achieve the MDGs; and urgent action is also needed to combat climate change that threatens the well-being of all countries, but particularly of poor countries and poor people. The goals of development and environmental sustainability are closely related, and the paths to those goals have important synergies.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The past century has been marked by rapid advances in human welfare. People in most parts of the world are healthier and are living longer. While this trend is likely to continue, hopes are fading in some regions where progress slowed or stopped in the1990s, primarily as a result of the AIDS epidemic. This compilation of articles published over the past five years in the pages of F&D looks at the important links between health and economic progress. Articles range over a variety of topics, from the Millennium Development Goals and their health-related targets for 2015 to the economics of tobacco control. Several articles examine the impact of AIDS and the global reaction, while others look at debt and the intellectual property aspects of health care.