External Sector Reports

2020 External Sector Report: Global Imbalances and the COVID-19 Crisis

August 2020

Full Report and Executive Summary

Key Highlights

Overall current account deficits and surpluses narrowed modestly in 2019 to just under 3 percent of world GDP. The IMF’s multilateral approach suggests that about 40 percent of overall current account deficits and surpluses were excessive in 2019. The external outlook for 2020 is subject to high uncertainty and cross-country variation.

Chapter 1: External Positions and Policies

This overview chapter presents the evolution and outlook for and risks stemming from global external positions. It summarizes the 2019 external assessments for a globally representative set of economies, which are also detailed in Chapter 3, “2019 Individual Economy Assessments.”

Chapter 2: External Stress and the International Investment Position

External assets and liabilities reached historic highs in the years before the COVID-19 crisis. This analytical chapter examines the relationship between the structure of external assets and liabilities—the components of the international investment position—and the risk of external stress events.

Chapter 3: 2019 Individual Economy Assessments

The individual economy assessments use a wide range of methods to form an integrated and multilaterally consistent view of economies’ external sector positions.