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Chart of the WeekFour Factors Behind the Metals Price Rally

By Martin Stuermer and Nico Valckx As economies reopen in various parts of the world, the price of some commodities has soared, including the prices of prominent industrial metals. The extent to which the metals price rally may lose steam depends on how multiple factors will play out. As our latest chart of the week shows, metals prices have increased by 72 percent relative to their pre-pandemic levels—reaching a nine-year high in May (in inflation adjusted terms). The increase has been...

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COVID-19 Pandemic and the Middle East and Central Asia: Region Facing Dual Shock

This blog is part of a series providing regional analysis on the effects of the coronavirus. By Jihad Azour عربي, Français, Русский The impact of COVID-19 and the oil price plunge in the Middle East and the Caucasus and Central Asia has been substantial and could intensify. With three-quarters of the countries reporting at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 and some facing a major outbreak, the coronavirus pandemic has become the largest near-term challenge to the region. Like much of...

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The Economics of Data

By Yan Carrière-Swallow and Vikram Haksar Español, Português Look around the global economy and you’ll see an American company developing the next generation of driverless cars, a Chinese financier extending loans to “mom-and-pop” stores that used to lack access to credit, and researchers at a Swiss pharmaceutical company developing a treatment for a chronic health condition. What do all these valuable economic activities have in common, despite taking place on different continents and in...

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Countries in the IMF Financial Spotlight in 2019

By IMFBlog In 2019, the IMF will complete 14 assessments under the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). Eight of this year’s assessments are mandatory: Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Italy, Poland, Singapore, and Switzerland. The other six are voluntary: Algeria, Bahamas, Kuwait, FYR Macedonia, Malta, and Thailand. The FSAP is an in-depth analysis of a country’s financial sector. It serves as the principal tool for assessing countries’ financial stability. The IMF conducts about...

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Chart of the Week: Mexico’s Spike in Crime Hurts the Economy

By Christian Saborowski December 18, 2018 (Español, Português) A woman sells street food at a market stall in Mexico City, Mexico: the country’s spike in crime is hurting small businesses’ profitability (photo: Jonah_Photos/iStock) The human and economic costs of crime in Mexico have risen to historic highs. 2017 was Mexico’s most violent year on record with over 25,000 homicides—a 50 percent jump since 2015. Economists usually distinguish direct and indirect costs associated with...

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Chart of the Week: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Growth—A Tale of Different Experiences

By IMFBlog December 13, 2018 Villagers of Moruleng mining community in South Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa countries can see an increase in growth by relying less on commodities and more on non-resource intensive investments. (Photo: SIPHIWE SIBEKI/Reuters/Newscom) The story of Africa’s growth rate over recent years is a tale with several story lines.  Key to the tale is the degree of dependence on commodities.  Our Chart of the Week shows how the greater a country’s reliance on...

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The Global Expansion: Still Strong but Less Even, More Fragile, Under Threat

By Maurice Obstfeld July 16, 2018 Versions in عربي, Baˈhasa indoneˈsia, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский  The escalation of trade tensions is the greatest near-term threat to global growth (photo: wildpixel/Getty Images by iStock) Amid rising tensions over international trade, the broad global expansion that began roughly two years ago has plateaued and become less balanced. In our latest World Economic Outlook Update, we continue to project global growth rates of just...

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How the Commodity Boom Helped Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Latin America

By Ravi Balakrishnan and Frederik Toscani June 21, 2018  Español    Português People buying produce in a busy market in Bahia, Brazil. During the commodity boom, Brazil saw significant reductions in poverty and inequality (photo: golero/iStock by Getty Images) Latin America may be the most unequal region in the world, but it is the only region to significantly lower inequality over the past two decades, and the boom in commodity prices helped make it happen.  With the boom over,...

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5 Things You Need to Know About the IMF and Climate Change

By Ian Parry June 8, 2018 Version in 中文,  Русский  A polar bear on shrinking ice in the Arctic: climate change means the world is getting hotter (photo: Sven-Erik Arndt/Newscom) The world is getting hotter, resulting in rising sea levels, more extreme weather like hurricanes, droughts, and floods, as well as other risks to the global climate like the irreversible collapsing of ice sheets.  Here are five ways the IMF helps countries move forward with their strategies as part of...

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Beware of Strike-it-Rich Euphoria: the Curse of Potential Oil Wealth

By IMFBlog March 9, 2018 (photo: Nielubieklonu/iStock). The resource curse, or paradox of plenty, is when countries with an abundance of natural resources suffer stagnant economic growth or even contraction. In this podcast, World Bank economist James Cust, says the problem of eradicating extreme poverty is going to be about how resource-rich countries manage their resource wealth. “The share of the world's poor living in resource-rich countries in the year 2000 was less than 25...

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