Health and Fitness

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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Korea has recovered impressively from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a testament to its strong economic fundamentals and the authorities’ able policy responses. Activity has surpassed pre-covid levels despite multiple COVID waves. The recovery was supported by the effective containment of the pandemic, including rapid vaccination in 2021, and pursuing proactive economic policy support, which helped minimize economic scarring, sustain income growth, and maintain financial stability. Given Korea’s high global integration, strong external demand also supported the recovery. The upcoming presidential election offers a window of opportunity to reinvigorate structural reforms.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Israeli economy has weathered the COVID-19 crisis exceptionally well, but risks are high. With substantial fiscal and monetary support, real GDP growth reached 8.1 percent in 2021, driven by consumption and high-tech exports. The rapid vaccination campaign boosted confidence. The outlook is positive but still subject to high uncertainty.
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.
André Geis and Ms. Oana Luca
Soaring real estate prices and valuations despite the economic downturn brought by the pandemic have focussed the attention of Dutch policymakers on potential macro-financial and socio-economic implications. In this context, our paper reviews the salient features of Dutch commercial and residential real estate markets with an eye to identify pertinent risks and challenges. While we find that the Dutch authorities have made considerable strides to strengthen real estate-related policies in recent years, some, and partly long-standing, issues remain, requiring additional efforts to bolster financial stability, address housing supply shortages and manage secular changes affecting property markets.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
New Zealand’s sound management of the COVID-19 crisis has been effective in bringing infection rates quickly under control. Decisive fiscal and monetary policy responses have been instrumental in cushioning the economic impact. Although economic activity was hit hard initially, it has recovered faster than expected. That said, the recovery has been uneven, with some sectors and workers disproportionately affected.
Mr. Yunhui Zhao
Using zip code-level data and nonparametric estimation, I present eight stylized facts on the US housing market in the COVID-19 era. Some aggregate results are: (1) growth rate of median housing price during the four months (April-August 2020) since the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary easing has accelerated faster than any four-month period in the lead-up to the 2007-09 global financial crisis; (2) the increase in housing demand in response to lower mortgage interest rates displays a structural break since March 2020 (housing demand has increased by much more than before). These results indicate either the existence of “fear of missing out” or COVID-induced fundamental changes in household behavior. In terms of distributional evidence, I find that the increase of housing demand seems more pronounced among the two ends of the income distribution, possibly reflecting relaxed liquidity constraints at the lower end and speculative demand at the higher end. I also find that the developments in housing price, demand, and supply since April 2020 are similar across urban, suburban, and rural areas. The paper highlights some potential unintended consequences of COVID-fighting policies and calls for further studies of the driving forces of the empirical findings.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper reviews the status and potential impacts of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. It draws on demographic projections and economic studies, and summarizes the official policy response and actions taken by the nongovernmental and business communities. It presents some stylized facts on property price developments in South Africa, and reviews briefly the link between asset price developments and economic activity. It also looks at the ability of policymakers to identify asset price booms.