Regional Economic Reports

These reports discuss recent economic developments and prospects for countries in various regions. They also address economic policy developments that have affected economic performance in the regions, and discuss key challenges faced by policymakers. They address regional policy developments and challenges, and provide country-specific data and analysis, including through analytical pieces on issues of interest to a particular region.

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May 2018

Regional Economic Outlook: Asia Pacific

May 9, 2018

Description: The world economy continues to perform well, with strong growth and trade, rising but still muted inflation, and accommodative financial conditions, notwithstanding some increased financial market volatility in early 2018. Driven partly by the procyclical tax stimulus in the United States, near-term economic prospects for both the world and Asia have improved from the alreadyfavorable outlook presented in the October 2017 Regional Economic Outlook Update: Asia and Pacific. Asia is expected to grow by around 5½ percent this year, accounting for nearly two-thirds of global growth, and the region remains the world’s most dynamic by a considerable margin. But despite the strong outlook, policymakers must remain vigilant. While risks around the forecast are broadly balanced for now, they are skewed firmly to the downside over the medium term. Key risks include further market corrections, a shift toward protectionist policies, and an increase in geopolitical tensions. With output gaps closing in much of the region, fiscal policies should focus on ensuring sustainability. Given still moderate wage and price pressures, monetary policies can remain accommodative in most Asian economies for now, but central banks should stand ready to adjust their stances as inflation picks up, and macroprudential policies should be used appropriately to contain credit growth. Many Asian economies face important medium-term challenges, including population aging and declining productivity growth, and will need structural reforms, complemented in some cases by fiscal support. Finally, the global economy is becoming increasingly digitalized, and some of the emerging technologies have the potential to be truly transformative, even as they pose new challenges. Asia is already a leader in many aspects of the digital revolution, but to remain at the cutting edge and reap the full benefits from technological advances, policy responses will be needed in many areas, including information and communication technology, trade, labor markets, and education. 

Regional Economic Outlook: Seizing the Momentum

May 9, 2018

Description: The broad-based acceleration of global growth in 2017 is reflected in the solid gains posted by the economies of the United States and Canada, both of which are expected to grow above potential in the near term. More broadly, growth in both advanced and emerging market and developing economies is expected to gain further momentum in 2018 and 2019, reflecting the effects of expansionary US fiscal policy, favorable global financial conditions, and improved prospects for external demand. Risks to the outlook are broadly balanced in the near term. Over the medium term, however, global growth is expected to soften, and risks are tilted to the downside, owing to the possibility of a sharp tightening of financial conditions, escalating trade tensions and risks of a further shift toward protectionist policies, and geopolitical strains.

Regional Economic Outlook: Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Private Investment

May 8, 2018

Description: Sub-Saharan Africa is set to enjoy a modest growth uptick, and decisive policies are needed to both reduce vulnerabilities and raise medium-term growth prospects. Average growth in the region is projected to rise from 2.8 percent in 2017 to 3.4 percent in 2018, with growth accelerating in about two-thirds of the countries in the region aided by stronger global growth, higher commodity prices, and improved capital market access. On current policies, average growth in the region is expected to plateau below 4 percent—barely 1 percent in per capita terms—over the medium term. Turning the current recovery into sustained strong growth consistent with the achievement of the SDGs would require policies to both reduce vulnerabilities and raise medium-term growth prospects. Prudent fiscal policy is needed to rein in public debt, while monetary policy must be geared toward ensuring low inflation. Countries should also strengthen revenue mobilization and continue to advance structural reforms to reduce market distortions, shaping an environment that fosters private investment.

Regional Economic Outlook Update: Middle East and Central Asia

May 2, 2018

Description:

Growth is improving in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region and was stronger than expected last year in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region. However, the regions are not fully benefitting from the stronger global outlook.

In MENAP, the fragile recovery requires further reforms that will help diversify economies, create jobs, and secure resilience.

Meanwhile, the growth momentum in the CCA is temporary, which is why action is needed now to spur private-sector development, so that the region avoids a new reality of low growth.

MENAP Full Text

CCA Full Text

Аймақтық экономикалық болжам Жаңарту

November 2017

October 2017

Regional Economic Outlook: Fiscal Adjustment and Economic Diversification

October 30, 2017

Description:

The broad-based slowdown in sub-Saharan Africa is easing but the underlying situation remains difficult. Growth is expected to reach 2.6 percent in 2017, but the pickup reflects one-off factors, notably a recovery in oil production in Nigeria and the easing of drought conditions in eastern and southern Africa. While a third of the countries in the region continue to grow at 5 percent or more, 12 countries home to 40 percent of the region’s population are expected to see per capita income decline. The external environment has improved somewhat, facilitating sovereign bond issuances by the region’s frontier economies. Foreign exchange market pressures appear to have abated, but international reserves remain low in many countries. Public debt has been rising rapidly across the region, including in the fast-growing economies. In this context, implementing the planned fiscal consolidations and reforms to tackle constraints on growth are the key policy priorities.

Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia, October 2017

October 17, 2017

Description: Economic prospects for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) and Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) regions are diverging. Despite the strengthening global recovery, the outlook for MENAP countries remains relatively subdued due to the continued adjustment to low oil prices and regional conflicts. In contrast, the outlook for the CCA region is improving, supported by the more favorable global environment. In both regions, efforts to promote growth-friendly fiscal consolidation, stronger monetary policy frameworks, economic diversification and private sector development should continue. The window of opportunity arising from various integration initiatives and the favorable external environment call for increasing trade openness, while the adoption of financial technologies could increase financial inclusion and facilitate greater access to credit. Together, these actions will help MENAP and CCA countries to secure higher and more inclusive growth.

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