IMF Meets With Global Economy in Historic Recession: Eco Week

(Bloomberg) — The guardians of the global economy will gather this week under the cloud of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and a recovery dependent on scientists finding a coronavirus vaccine.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank will hold their annual meetings, with both calling on the Group of 20 largest economies to extend a freeze in debt payments from the world’s poorest nations that’s set to expire at year end.

While the fund last month flagged a “small upward revision” to its 2020 growth forecast from its June outlook, it warned the rebound will be long and uneven.

chart, line chart: Goodbye V, Hello L

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Goodbye V, Hello L

The IMF has been encouraging governments to spend whatever they need to confront the crisis, even while warning that debt as a percentage of GDP will rise to about 100% for the first time.

Fund officials earlier this month proposed reforms to debt restructuring for countries that struggle to meet obligations, a burden likely to rise as the pandemic batters economies. Debt vulnerabilities will be a key theme of the meetings, according to first deputy managing director Geoffrey Okamoto.

The G-20 agreed in April to waive billions of dollars in repayments by poorer nations until the end of the year under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. The World Bank says this isn’t enough and wants borrowings reduced to prevent a bigger fallout.

chart: IMF Power Players

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IMF Power Players

The IMF has also been working to figure out how to transfer existing reserve assets known as special drawing rights from rich countries that don’t need them to poorer nations that do. A proposal to create $500 billion in SDRs was blocked in April by the U.S., the fund’s biggest shareholder, which criticized the plan as inefficient.


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What Bloomberg’s Economists Say…

“With the virus count rising again in Europe, and stalled stimulus negotiations in the U.S., a better than expected third quarter is seguing into a worse than expected fourth. Looking into 2021, hopes for a strong rebound depend on containing the second wave of infections, a stimulus breakthrough in Washington DC, and widespread delivery of a vaccine by mid-year.”

–Tom Orlik, chief economist

Elsewhere, the Nobel Prize for Economics is awarded in Stockholm on Monday and central banks in Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Chile and Uganda hold monetary policy meetings.

Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what is coming up in the global economy.

U.S. and Canada

Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairmen Richard Clarida and Randal Quarles are scheduled to speak Wednesday and Thursday at an Institute of International Finance event that takes place on the virtual sidelines of the IMF meetings.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits probably stayed elevated last week

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Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits probably stayed elevated last week

Friday will be the highlight for U.S. economic indicators with releases for September retail sales and industrial production and the Michigan consumer sentiment survey for early October. That’s the day after the weekly jobless claims data.

For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.


China returns from the Golden Week Holidays with trade data on Tuesday expected to show the export recovery continues, and inflation data on Thursday likely to show a moderation in price growth.

map: Central Bank Rate Decisions This Week

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Central Bank Rate Decisions This Week

Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea and Sri Lanka have monetary policy meetings scheduled through the week. On Thursday, a speech from the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor will be closely watched for any signals he’s preparing to add stimulus, while employment data for September will be released.

For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia

Europe, Middle East, Africa

Any surprisingly bad reading of U.K. labor-market data this week will likely convince a minority of skeptics that more stimulus from the Bank of England is all but inevitable.

chart, line chart: The real test for the U.K. jobs market will come in the final quarter of 2020

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The real test for the U.K. jobs market will come in the final quarter of 2020

By contrast, data in Sweden, which adopted much lighter virus restrictions than the rest of Europe, will reveal whether the trend of decreasing joblessness will continue. In eastern Europe, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia all release inflation data.

Central bank officials from across Europe take part at the IMF and World Bank meetings. But key policy makers will also make virtual appearances elsewhere: European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane and Governing Council members Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Robert Holzmann and Pablo Hernandez de Cos speak at an event on rising public debt and how to cope with it.

Turkish data on Monday is likely to show the nation ran a current-account deficit for a ninth straight month, as households hoard imported gold and foreign currencies to protect against lira depreciation and inflation.

In Ghana, inflation data on Wednesday may show price growth slowed for a second month in September, but remained above the central bank’s target band of 6% to 10%. Nigeria on Thursday is expected to report inflation accelerated to 13.3%, while Uganda’s central bank will probably hold its key interest rate for a second meeting.

For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA

Latin America

The IMF last week urged Mexico to boost government stimulus to speed up a weak recovery, and output and manufacturing figures posted Monday should underscore the point.

chart: Deep Hole

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Deep Hole

In Brazil by contrast, a less stringent lockdown and the government’s massive income support has buoyed demand, suggesting the August economic activity reading out Thursday will be consistent with that of a gradual recovery.

While inflation is picking up again across the region, it’s never gone away in Argentina: analysts expect monthly rates of just under 3% and annual rates near 40%.

chart, line chart: Latin American Outlier

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Latin American Outlier

Chile’s economy is struggling, but the central bank’s key rate is at a record-low 0.5%. Look for policy makers to keep it there for a seventh month when they meet Thursday.

For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America

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