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Mr. Alberto Behar and Sandile Hlatshwayo
This note explains the value of strategic foresight and provides implementation advice based on the IMF’s experience with scenario planning and policy gaming. Section II provides an overview of strategic foresight and some of its tools. Scenario planning and policy gaming have been the Fund’s main foresight techniques so far, though other tools have been complementary. Accordingly, section III focuses on the scenario planning by illustrating applications before detailing the methods we have been using, while section IV describes policy gaming including the matrix policy gaming approach with which we have experimented so far. Section V summarizes the key points. In so doing, the note extends an invitation to those in the economics and finance fields (e.g., researchers, policymakers) to incorporate strategic foresight in their analysis and decision making.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The Executive Board approved a two-step approach consisting of (i) an immediate approval of the disbursement of a fourth tranche of debt service relief to all qualified beneficiary countries covering the period from October 16, 2021 through January 10, 2022, and (ii) consideration by January 2022 of a final tranche of CCRT debt service relief through April 13, 2022 based on a brief Board paper with an assessment of resources at that time. In accordance with the two-step approach, this paper provides a brief overview on recent developments in CCRT-eligible countries followed by an update on the CCRT’s funding status and resources assessment.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Fall 2021 Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific--Navigating Waves of New Variants: Pandemic Resurgence Slows the Recovery

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Brunei’s economic performance—which was strong before the COVID-19 pandemic—has been buffeted by the health crisis and a pandemic-induced oil and gas price shock. The authorities responded fast and decisively. The number of new infections was quickly suppressed, thanks to a swift public health response, effective health measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Strong fiscal and regulatory policy responses helped sustain production and household income and consumption. Past diversification efforts and reforms bore fruit when it was most needed. As a result, the economy performed strongly in 2020, with real GDP posting positive growth of 1.1 percent—a rare outcome amidst negative growth in the region. Economic activity is projected to strengthen in 2021-22, albeit at varying speeds across sectors, and to continue improving over the medium term on the back of further diversification. The outlook is, however, subject to unusual uncertainty, with significant risks skewed to the downside. Sustained strong policy actions are needed to ensure continued resilience, while nurturing green, digital and inclusive growth.
Michael Perks, Yudong Rao, Mr. Jongsoon Shin, and Kiichi Tokuoka
This paper makes contributions to the study of bilateral swap lines (BSLs). First, this paper fills a BSL information gap by constructing a comprehensive database of BSLs based on publicly available information, including after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, the paper provides the results of regression analysis exploring several empirical questions that were not covered in previous studies. The paper documents the evolution of BSLs into an important part of the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN), with some helping to stabilize financial market during both the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis suggests that countries on the recipient side of BSLs are more likely to sign and renew BSLs designed to alleviate balance of payments needs as their external position weakens. U.S. Federal Reserve BSLs appear to have been effective at stabilizing financial market conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Singapore entered the COVID-19 pandemic with sizable policy space and robust economic policy frameworks, yet facing longer-term challenges. The economy has been severely impacted by the pandemic, but a bold, comprehensive, and coordinated policy package has helped cushion the economic fallout. Following a record contraction in the first half of 2020, activity has rebounded, and growth is projected to strengthen to 6 percent in 2021, underpinned by a recovery in domestic demand and a positive contribution from net exports. The uncertainty surrounding the outlook is larger than usual.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, and International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.
This paper proposes that the Executive Board approve the disbursement of a third tranche of CCRT debt service relief to 28 of the 29 CCRT-eligible members, covering the period April 14, 2021 through October 15, 2021, given staff’s assessment that sufficient financial resources are available.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The UK entered 2020 negotiating a new economic relationship with the EU and facing other challenges, including meeting climate targets, dealing with an aging population, and reinvigorating tepid productivity growth. Growth and investment had been weak since the 2016 referendum, and the current account deficit elevated, but unemployment was low, inflation on target, and balance sheets strong. The global pandemic hit the UK hard in March, and the country now faces a second wave. The economic impact has been severe, but helped by an aggressive policy response, jobs have been preserved, businesses kept afloat, and banking sector losses contained. Still, the outlook for the near term is weak, as the economy works through the second wave, Brexit, rising unemployment, and corporate distress. Risks are overall to the downside, centering on the degree of balance sheet damage sustained by households and small and medium enterprises. The pace at which vaccines are able to bring the pandemic under control could be an important mitigating factor.
International Monetary Fund
There is widespread concern about the possibility of an avian flu pandemic and its implications for humans, and for the global economic and financial system. While the H5N1 virus cannot transmit efficiently from human to human in its present form, a mutation allowing such transmission could lead to a pandemic that might have high costs. Accordingly, the Fund has been active in raising awareness about the potential economic and financial risks of a pandemic, and in helping member countries to undertake contingency planning in their financial sectors.