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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April 2019

Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia Update

April 29, 2019

Description: Growth for countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region has weakened but remains broadly stable in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). Volatile oil prices, restrained oil production, and tighter domestic monetary conditions in most oil exporters add to headwinds from slowing global growth. Elevated public debt in oil importers limits capacity to address critical infrastructure and social needs, restrains growth, and leaves economies vulnerable to external shocks. A more challenging external environment increases the urgency across all regions of further growth-friendly fiscal consolidation and structural reform efforts to enhance resilience and deliver higher and more inclusive private-sector-led growth.

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: Recovery Amid Elevated Uncertainty

April 12, 2019

Description:

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: Recovery Amid Elevated Uncertainty

The economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa continues. Regional growth is set to pick up from 3 percent in 2018 to 3.5 percent in 2019, before stabilizing at close to 4 percent over the medium term. These region‑wide numbers mask considerable differences in the growth performance and prospects of countries across the region. About half of the region’s countries— mostly non-resource-intensive countries—are expected to grow at 5 percent or more, which would see per capita incomes rise faster than the rest of the world on average over the medium term. For all other countries, mostly resource-intensive countries, improvements in living standards will be slower. Notwithstanding these different economic prospects and policy priorities, countries share the challenge of strengthening resilience and creating higher, more inclusive and durable growth. Addressing these challenges requires building fiscal space and enhancing resilience to shocks by stepping up actions to mobilize revenues, alongside policies to boost productivity and private investment.

November 2018

Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia November 2018

November 6, 2018

Description: A modest growth recovery continues for countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan region. Higher oil prices are providing support for oil-exporting countries but are adding to pressures facing oil-importing countries. Meanwhile, growth in the Caucasus and Central Asia region exceeded expectations in 2017, but momentum is set to fade. At forecasted growth rates, it will take the region nearly two decades to reach the per capita income levels of emerging Europe. Faster-than-anticipated tightening of global financial conditions and rising trade tensions cloud the outlook for both regions. The increasingly challenging global environment underscores the need for both regions to build resilience and accelerate reforms that build dynamic private sectors and promote inclusive growth.

October 2018

Regional Economic Outlook: Asia Pacific

October 11, 2018

Description:

Asia has achieved remarkable economic success over the past five decades. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, and successive waves of economies have made the transition to middle-income and even advanced-economy status. And whereas the region used to be almost entirely dependent on foreign know-how, several of its economies are now on the cutting edge of technological advance. Even more striking, all of this has happened within just a couple of generations, the product of a winning mix of integration with the global economy via trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), high savings rates, large investments in human and physical capital, and sound macroeconomic policies.

Regional Economic Outlook: Capital Flows and The Future of Work

October 11, 2018

Description:

Capital Flows and The Future of Work

The macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen. Growth is expected to increase from 2.7 percent in 2017 to 3.1 percent in 2018, reflecting domestic policy adjustments and a supportive external environment, including continued steady growth in the global economy, higher commodity prices, and accommodative external financing conditions. While fiscal imbalances are being contained in many countries, the adjustment has typically occurred through a combination of higher commodity revenues and sharp cuts in capital spending, with little progress on domestic revenue mobilization. Over the medium term, and on current policies, growth is expected to accelerate to about 4 percent, too low to absorb the likely flow of new entrants into labor markets. The outlook is surrounded by significant downside risks, particularly considering the elevated policy uncertainty in the global economy. Shielding the recovery and raising medium-term growth would require reducing debt vulnerabilities and creating fiscal space through more progress on domestic revenue mobilization, and policies to achieve strong sustainable and inclusive growth.

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.

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