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World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009 - Full Report

Report by DESA; UNCTAD; ECA; ECE; ECLAC; ESCAP; ESCWA, 2009

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World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) provides an overview of recent global economic performance and short-term prospects for the world economy and of some key global economic policy and development issues. One of its purposes is to serve as a point of reference for discussions on economic, social and related issues taking place in various United Nations entities during the year. The report of 2009 analyzes in detail the evolution of the global financial crisis during 2008 and the more fundamental factors that led to its build-up. It further assesses the impact on global economic activity, especially in developing countries. The report also reviews the policy actions so far taken worldwide in response to the global financial crisis. It recommends more forceful fiscal policy stimuli need to be taken in an internationally concerted manner in order to prevent the world economy from falling into a much deeper and more prolonged recession. The WESP further details a number of more fundamental reforms to the international financial system that are needed to reduce risks of a recurrence of such a devastating crisis in the future.

World Economic Situation
and Prospects


2009


Published by the United Nations


ISBN 978-92-1-109158-8
Sales No. E.09.II.C.2


08-57855—January 2009—4,860


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United N


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World Economic Situation
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Acknowledgements


The report is a joint product of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five United Nations regional commissions
(Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), Economic Commission for
Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)).


For the preparation of the global outlook, inputs were received from the national centres of Project LINK
and from the participants at the annual LINK meeting held in New York on 23 and 24 October 2008. The cooperation
and support received through Project LINK are gratefully acknowledged.


Rob Vos, Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) of UN/DESA, was the lead
author and manager of the report. Pingfan Hong led the team of DESA/DPAD, which comprised Grigor Agabekian,
Clive Altshuler, Marva Corley, Keiji Inoue, Alex Izurieta, Matthias Kempf, Malinka Koparanova, Hung-Yi Li, Ingo
Pitterle and Sergio Vieira. The Financing for Development Office at UN/DESA contributed through inputs from Man-
uel Montes, Tserenpuntsag Batbold, Sergei Gorbunov, Benu Schneider and Frank Schroeder. The team at UNCTAD
included Heiner Flassbeck, Alfredo Calcagno, Olivier Combe, Pilar Fajarnes, Marco Fugazza, Masataka Fujita, Detlef
Kotte, Alexandra Laurent, Anne Miroux, Victor Ognivtsev, Olle Ostensson, Astrid Sulstarova and Harmon Thomas.
The team at ECA included Fabrizio Carmignani, Adam Elhiraika and Susanna Wolf; at ECE: Rumen Dobrinsky, José
Palacin and Robert Shelburne; at ECLAC: Osvaldo Kacef, Jürgen Weller and Francisco Villareal; at ESCAP: Tiziana
Bonapace, Alberto Isgut, Muhammad Malik and Shigeru Mochida; and at ESCWA: Shaun Ferguson, Ali Kadri, Nabil
Safwat and Yasuhisa Yamamoto.


Helpful guidance was received from Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic
Development at UN/DESA. Comments and suggestions from Richard Kozul-Wright are also gratefully acknowledged.


For further information, please see http://www.un.org/esa/policy or contact:


DESA:
Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Room DC2-2320 United
Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA; phone: +1-212-9635958, e-mail: sha@un.org.
UNCTAD:
Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Palais des
Nations, Room E-9050, CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; phone: +41-22-9175806; e-mail: sgo@unctad.org.
ECA:
Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
P.O. Box 3005, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, phone: +251-11-544 3336; e-mail: ecainfo@uneca.org.
ECE:
Mr. Paolo Garonna (OiC) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Information Service Palais des Nations,
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; phone: +41-22-9171234; e-mail: info.ece@unece.org.
ECLAC:
Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, ECLAC, Av. Dag Hammarskjold 3477, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile; phone
+56-2-2102000; e-mail: secepal@cepal.org.
ESCAP:
Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, The United
Nations Building, Rajadamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200 Thailand; phone: +66-2-2881234, fax +66-2-2881000,
e-mail: unescap@unescap.org.
ESCWA:
Mr. Bader Al-Dafa, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, P.O. Box 11-8575,
Riad el-Solh Square, Beirut, Lebanon; phone: +961-1-981301; e-mail: http://www.escwa.un.org/main/contact.asp.




iii


Executive Summary


The global outlook


The world economy is entering into a recession


The world economy is mired in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. What
first appeared as a sub-prime mortgage crack in the United States housing market during
the summer of 2007 began widening during 2008 into deeper fissures across the global
financial landscape and ended with the collapse of major banking institutions, precipitous
falls on stock markets across the world and a credit freeze. These financial shockwaves
have now triggered a full-fledged economic crisis, with most advanced countries already
in recession and the outlook for emerging and other developing economies deteriorating
rapidly, including those with a recent history of strong economic performance.


In the baseline scenario of the United Nations forecast, world gross product
is expected to slow to a meagre 1.0 per cent in 2009, a sharp deceleration from the 2.5
per cent growth estimated for 2008 and well below the more robust growth of previous
years. At the projected rate of global growth, world income per capita will fall in 2009.
Output in developed countries is expected to decline by 0.5 per cent in 2009. Growth in
the economies in transition is expected to slow to 4.8 per cent in 2009, down 6.9 per cent
in 2008, while output growth in the developing countries would slow from 5.9 per cent in
2008 to 4.6 per cent in 2009.


The world economy could fall into recession in 2009


-1


0


1


2


3


4


5


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Baseline


Optimistic


Pessimistic


Percentage


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.
b Projections, based on
Project LINK.


Indicates confidence
interval at two standard
deviations from
historical forecast
errors




iv World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Given the great uncertainty prevailing today, however, a more pessimistic sce-
nario is entirely possible. If the global credit squeeze is prolonged and confidence in the
financial sector is not restored quickly, the developed countries would enter into a deep
recession in 2009, with their combined gross domestic product (GDP) falling by 1.5 per
cent; economic growth in developing countries would slow to 2.7 per cent, dangerously
low in terms of their ability to sustain poverty reduction efforts and maintain social and
political stability. In this pessimistic scenario, the size of the global economy would actu-
ally decline in 2009—an occurrence not witnessed since the 1930s.


To stave off the risk of a deep and global recession, World Economic Situa-
tion and Prospects (WESP) 2009 recommends the implementation of massive, internation-
ally coordinated fiscal stimulus packages that are coherent and mutually reinforcing and
aligned with sustainable development goals. These should be effected in addition to the
liquidity and recapitalization measures already undertaken by countries in response to the
economic crisis. Under a more optimistic scenario—factoring in an effective fiscal stimulus
of between 1.5 and 2 per cent of GDP by the major economies, as well as further interest-
rate cuts—WESP forecasts that, in 2009, the developed economies could post a 0.2 per cent
rate of growth, and growth in the developing world would be slightly over 5 per cent.


Origins of the global financial crisis
The story of a crisis foretold


The intensification of the global financial turmoil in September-October 2008 revealed
the systemic nature of the crisis and heightened fears of a complete global financial melt-
down. Although the problems originated in the major developed countries, the mounting


Synchronized global slowdown, led by a recession in developed countries


Percentage


-2


0


2


4


6


8


10


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Economies in transition


Developing economies


Developed economies


Optimistic scenario


Pessimistic scenario


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.


b Forecast.




vExecutive Summary


financial fragility was closely tied to an unsustainable global growth pattern that had
been emerging as far back as the early 2000s, a risk forewarned early on in previous
issues of WESP. As part of this pattern, growth was driven to an important extent by
strong consumer demand in the United States of America, stimulated by easy credit and
underpinned by booming house prices as well as very high rates of investment demand
and strong export growth in some developing countries, notably China. Growing United
States deficits in this period were financed by increasing trade surpluses in China, Japan
and other countries that had accumulated large foreign-exchange reserves and were will-
ing to buy dollar-denominated assets.


At the same time, increasing financial deregulation, along with a flurry of
new financial instruments and risk-management techniques (mortgage-backed securities,
collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and so forth), encouraged a massive
accumulation of financial assets supported by growing levels of debt in the household,
corporate and public sectors. In some countries, both developed and developing, domestic
financial debt has risen four- or fivefold as a share of national income since the early 1980s.
This rapid explosion in debt was made possible by the shift from a traditional “buy-and-
hold” banking model to a “dynamic-originate-to-sell” trading model (or “securitization”).
The leverage ratios of some institutions went up to as high as 30, well above the ceiling of
10 generally imposed on deposit banks. The deleveraging of this financial house of cards
now under way has brought down established financial institutions and has led to the
rapid evaporation of global liquidity, together threatening the normal operations of the
real economy.


Until recently, all parties seemed to benefit from the boom, particularly the
major financial players in the rich economies, while the risks were conveniently ignored,
despite repeated warnings, such as those highlighted in WESP, that mounting household,
public sector and financial sector indebtedness in the United States and elsewhere would
not be sustainable over time. As strains in the United States mortgage market were trans-
mitted to the wider financial sector, fears of a meltdown escalated and have now spread
around the world.


Policymakers worldwide have taken
unprecedented measures to deal with the crisis …


Policymakers initially responded in piecemeal fashion, failing to see the systemic risk or
to consider the global ramifications of the turmoil in their entirety. The approach in-
cluded massive liquidity injections into the financial system and the bailout of some ma-
jor financial institutions, while accepting the failure of others. As the crisis intensified
in September 2008, policymakers shifted to a more comprehensive and internationally
improved coordinated form of crisis management. The measures taken have reshaped the
previously deregulated financial landscape. Massive public funding has been made avail-
able to recapitalize banks, taking partial or full ownership of failed financial institutions
and providing blanket government guarantees on bank deposits and other financial assets.
Governments in both developed and developing countries have started to put together fis-
cal and monetary stimulus packages in attempts to prevent the global financial crisis from
turning into a worldwide human disaster.




vi World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


… but it will take a long time for the
policies to take effect on the real economy


These policy measures are aimed at restoring confidence and unfreezing credit and money
markets by recapitalizing banks with public funds, guaranteeing bank lending and insur-
ing bank deposits. During the fourth quarter of 2008, interbank lending rates retreated
somewhat following the start of the large-scale bailout. However, by December 2008,
congestion and dysfunction remained in important segments of the credit markets. In any
event, it will take time for most of these policy measures to take effect; the restoring of
confidence among financial market agents and normalization of credit supplies will take
months, if not years, if past crises can be taken as a guide. Furthermore, it typically takes
some time before problems in financial markets are felt in the real economy. Consequently,
it seems inevitable that the major economies will see significant economic contraction in
the immediate outlook and that recovery may not materialize any time soon, even if the
bailout and stimulus packages were to succeed. Moreover, the immediate fiscal costs of the
emergency measures will be huge, and it is uncertain how much of these can eventually
be recovered from market agents or through economic recovery. This poses an additional
macroeconomic challenge.


Implications for world trade and finance
Commodity prices have become increasingly volatile …


The crisis has already had a severe impact on global commodity markets with far-reaching
implications for the prospects of the developing world at large. Commodity prices have
been highly volatile during 2008. Most prices surged in the first half of 2008, continu-
ing a trend that had begun in 2003. Trends in world market prices reversed sharply from
mid-2008, however. Oil prices have plummeted by more than 60 per cent from their peak
levels of July to November. The prices of other commodities, including basic grains, also
declined significantly. In the outlook, most of these prices are expected to even out further
along with the moderation in global demand.


… and prospects for world trade are bleak


Growth of world trade decelerated to 4.3 per cent in early 2008, down from 6.4 per cent
in 2007, owing mainly to a decline in imports by the United States. United States imports,
which account for about 15 per cent of the world total, have registered a decline in every
quarter since the fourth quarter of 2007 and dropped as steeply as 7 per cent in the second
quarter of 2008. Growth in the volume of world trade had dropped to about 3 per cent
by September 2008, to about one third of the rate of growth a year earlier. In the outlook,
global trade is expected to weaken further in 2009.


The risk of a pullback of lending to developing countries has heightened


Owing to their limited exposure to the mortgage market derivatives that brought down
major banks in the United States and Europe, financial systems in most developing coun-
tries initially seemed shielded from any direct impact from the international financial cri-
sis. Growing risks have emerged through other channels, however, as investors have started
to pull back resources from emerging market economies and other developing countries




viiExecutive Summary


as part of the deleveraging process of financial institutions in the developed countries. Ex-
ternal financing costs for emerging market economies surged along with the tightening of
the global credit market, as measured by the spreads of the Emerging Markets Bond Index.
Unlike in recent years when the spread varied significantly across regions and countries
to indicate investor discrimination among country-specific risks, the latest surge has been
uniform, suggesting that contagion and aversion to investing in emerging markets has
taken hold among investors. Spreads are expected to remain high in 2009, as the strains
in global credit markets linger and also as capital flows to emerging market economies are
projected to drop further.


Exchange-rate volatility has increased and the
risk of a hard landing of the dollar in 2009 remains


Volatility in foreign-exchange markets has also increased substantially with the deepening
of the global financial crisis. The United States dollar depreciated substantially vis-à-vis
other major currencies, particularly the euro, in the first half of 2008, but has since re-
versed direction even more sharply. For many currencies in developing countries, the ear-
lier trend of appreciation vis-à-vis the dollar has either reversed or slowed. Currencies in
a number of developing countries, particularly those that are commodity exporters, have
depreciated against the dollar substantially since mid-2008. The heightened risk aversion
among international investors has led to a “flight to safety”, as indicated by the lowering of
the yield of the short-term United States Treasury bill to almost zero.


However, it is expected that the recent strength of the dollar will be temporary
and the risk of a hard landing of the dollar in 2009 or beyond remains. Even though the
global imbalances have narrowed somewhat in 2008 and are expected to narrow further in


The rise and fall of commodity prices in 2007 and 2008


Percentage
Ja


n-
07


Ap
r-


07


Ju
-0


7


O
ct


-0
7


Ja
n-


08


Ap
r-


08


Ju
-0


8


O
ct


-0
8


Agricultural raw materials


Food commodities
Minerals, ores and metals


Crude petroleuma


100


150


200


250


300


350


400


450


500


Source: UNCTAD Commodity
Price Statistics database.
a Average of Brent/Dubai/
Texas, equally weighted
(dollars per barrel).




viii World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


2009 with the recession in developed countries, the United States external deficit remains
significant and its net international liability position continues to increase. The large cur-
rent-account deficit and perceptions that the United States debt position is approaching
unsustainable levels are important factors underlying the trend depreciation of the United
States dollar since 2002. The flight to safety into the United States dollar in the wake of
the global financial crisis is pushing the external indebtedness of the United States to new
heights; this is likely to precipitate a renewed slide of the dollar once the process of delever-
aging has ended. Policymakers should recognize the risk of a possible hard landing of the
dollar as a potential source of renewed turmoil in financial markets in 2009.


Impact on developing countries
Developed economies are leading the global downturn, but the weakness has rapidly
spread to developing countries and the economies in transition, causing a synchronized
global downturn in the outlook for 2009.


Among the economies in transition, growth of the Commonwealth of Indepen-
dent States (CIS) region is on course for a marked slowdown in 2009, dragged largely by
the impact of a global recession and falling commodity prices on the largest economies,
such as Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. A slowdown in business invest-
ment, and, to a lesser degree, in household consumption will be felt throughout the region.
In South-eastern Europe, a further moderation of economic growth is expected.


Among developing countries, growth in Africa is expected to decelerate in
2009, as the contagion effects of the global economic slowdown spread throughout the
region, leading to weakened export demand, lower commodity prices and a decline in in-


The global imbalances have narrowed, but still pose a risk for further financial trouble


Billions of dollars


-1 000


-800


-600


-400


-200


0


200


400


600


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Sources: IMF, World Economic
Outlook database, October


2008; UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.


b Forecast.


United States


Japan


European Union


Developing countries
and economies in


transition, excluding
China


China




ixExecutive Summary


vestment flows to the region. Growth in East Asia is expected to decline notably in 2009,
as exports see significant deceleration. Some economies in the region will also experience
sizeable financial losses as a result of their relatively high exposure to global financial
markets. South Asia is experiencing an overall slowdown in economic growth from the
industrial sector to the service sector. Growth in Western Asia is anticipated to slow down
significantly in 2009 as export earnings from oil fall sharply, and investment spending
across the region is expected to decline. Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is also
expected to slow markedly, dragged largely by the fall in commodity prices and global
credit constraints.


The crisis will present a setback for the fight against poverty


Coming on the heels of the food and energy security crises, the global financial crisis will
most likely substantially set back progress towards poverty reduction and the Millennium
Development Goals. The tightening of access to credit and weaker growth will cut into
public revenues and limit the ability of developing country Governments to make the
necessary investments to meet education, health and other human development goals.
Unless adequate social safety nets are in place, the poor will no doubt be hit the hardest.
An estimated 125 million people in developing countries were already driven into extreme
poverty because of the surge in global food prices since 2006. Lessons from earlier major
financial crises point to the importance of safeguarding (public) investment in infrastruc-
ture and social development so as to avoid major setbacks in human development and
allow a recovery towards high-quality economic growth in the medium term.


Immediate policy challenges
Policymakers initially underestimated the crisis


Policymakers worldwide initially underestimated the depth and breadth of the current fi-
nancial crisis. As a result, policy actions by and large fell behind the curve and, in the early
stages, policy stances were grossly inadequate for handling the scale and nature of the crisis.


Significant downturn in all developing regions in 2009


Annual percentage change


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


2009b


Baseline
scenario


Pessimistic
scenario


Optimistic
scenario


Economies in transition 7.4 7.7 6.5 7.8 8.3 6.9 4.8 2.7 6.1


Developing economies 5.2 7.1 6.8 7.1 7.2 5.9 4.6 2.7 5.1


Africa 4.9 5.9 5.7 5.7 6.0 5.1 4.1 0.1 4.7
East Asia 6.9 8.0 7.7 8.6 9.0 6.9 5.9 4.6 6.4
South Asia 6.9 6.7 9.5 6.9 7.9 7.0 6.4 4.0 6.6
Western Asia 4.9 8.2 6.8 5.9 4.7 4.9 2.7 1.6 3.3
Latin America and the
Caribbean 1.8 5.9 4.6 5.5 5.5 4.3 2.3 -0.2 2.7


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecasts, based on Project LINK.




x World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Only after the systemic risks for the global financial system became manifest
in September 2008 did six major central banks decide to move in a more coordinated
fashion by agreeing to cut their respective official target rates simultaneously and scale up
direct liquidity injections into financial markets.


Further monetary easing is expected in the world economy in the outlook for
2009. However, with consumer and business confidence seriously depressed and banks re-
luctant to lend, further lowering of interest rates by central banks will do little to stimulate
credit supplies to the non-financial sector or to encourage private spending. Indeed, it may
end up merely expanding the money base within the banking system.


Massive fiscal stimulus is needed


Restoring confidence in financial markets in order to normalize credit flows remains of
primary importance. However, as long as fears for a deep recession prevail, consumers and
investors will likely remain severely risk averse. Hence, counter-cyclical macroeconomic
policies are needed to complement the efforts to rescue the financial sector from wide-
spread systemic failure.


With limited space for monetary stimulus, fiscal policy options will need to be
examined as ways of reactivating the global economy. The severity of the financial crisis
calls for policy actions that are commensurate with the scale of the problem and that should
thus go well beyond any normal range of budgetary considerations. The United States ad-
opted a fiscal stimulus package in early 2008, totalling some $168 billion, or about 1.1 per
cent of annual GDP, mainly in the form of a tax rebate for households. While some analysts
believe the package had worked well to keep the economy buoyant for at least one quarter,
others doubted the permanency of its effects. It is now clear that the size of the fiscal pack-


Monetary easing moving to a liquidity trap?


Percentage


0


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


Ju
l-0


7


O
ct


-0
7


Ju
l-0


8


O
ct


-0
8


Ja
n-


08


Ap
r-0


8


Source: National central
bank websites.


China: One-year
loan rate


Japan: Discount rate


United States: Federal
funds rate (target)


Euro zone: Marginal
lending facility rate




xiExecutive Summary


age was too small in comparison with the seriousness of the situation and failed to sustain
the economy. At the end of 2008, a second, more substantial, fiscal stimulus package was
under discussion in the United States. Similarly, European countries were easing monetary
policies and preparing for significant fiscal expansion in 2009.


Counter-cyclical fiscal policies are also needed in developing countries


A large number of developing countries and the economies in transition have been reluc-
tant to ease monetary policy over concerns of inflationary pressures and currency depre-
ciation. Inflationary pressures should taper off during 2009, however, as world food and
energy prices are now retreating and global demand is weakening. This should provide
some space for monetary easing, as well as for fiscal stimulus, at least in those countries
that still possess ample foreign-exchange reserves.


The scope for counter-cyclical policies will vary greatly across developing coun-
tries, mainly for two reasons. First, many countries have a history of pro-cyclical macroeco-
nomic policy adjustment, partly driven by policy rules (such as inflation targeting). Providing
greater monetary and fiscal stimuli in such cases will thus require a departure from existing
policy practice and policy rules. Second, not all countries have equally sufficient foreign-
exchange reserves and some are likely to suffer stronger balance-of-payments shocks.


There are countries with ample policy space for acting more aggressively to
stave off a recession. The Chinese Government has already started to use its policy space,
for instance, and has designed a large-scale plan of fiscal stimulus amounting to 15 per
cent of its GDP to be spent during 2009 and 2010, which should contribute to reinvigorat-
ing global demand. The Republic of Korea has also announced a fiscal stimulus package
equivalent to 1 per cent of its GDP.


For many of the middle- and low-income countries, the scope for providing
such stimuli will be even more limited, as they may see their foreign-exchange reserves
evaporate quickly, with either continued capital reversals taking place or strong reductions
in the demand for their export products, or both. In order to enhance their scope for coun-
tercyclical responses in the short run, further enhancement of compensatory financing and
additional and reliable foreign aid flows will be needed to cope with the drops in export
earnings and reduced access to private capital flows caused by the global financial crisis.


As they fight fires today, policymakers worldwide must look to tomorrow


Looking to the long run, however, a broadening of the development policy framework
is needed to conduct active investment and technology policies so as to diversify these
countries’ economies and reduce their dependence on a few commodity exports, thereby
allowing them to meet key development goals, including reaching greater food security,
addressing climate change and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. This will
require massive resources for public investment in infrastructure, food production, educa-
tion and health, and renewable energy sources. The crisis also presents various opportuni-
ties to align fiscal stimulus packages with long-term goals for sustainable development.


The fiscal stimulus needs to be coordinated internationally


To ensure sufficient stimulus at the global level, it will be desirable to coordinate fiscal
stimulus packages internationally. In a strongly integrated world economy, fiscal stimulus
implemented by only one country tends to be less effective because of high import leakage




xii World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


effects. By coordinating fiscal stimulus internationally, the positive multiplier effects can
be amplified through international economic linkages by 30 per cent or more, thereby
providing greater stimulus to both the global economy and the economies of individual
countries. As in the case of a coordinated monetary easing, internationally coordinated
fiscal stimuli can also limit unnecessary fluctuation in cross-country interest rate differen-
tials and in exchange rates among major currencies. Compared with coordinated interest
rate policies, fiscal policy coordination tends to be more difficult to attain, both techni-
cally and politically, and hence may be difficult to achieve through ad hoc agreements,
requiring instead a more institutionalized platform for coordination.


Without adequate coordination, global economic reactivation may be delayed,
and it may take longer before market confidence is restored. This may prolong the credit
crunch and keep borrowing costs high for developing country Governments and private
firms, thereby undermining their efforts to counteract the crisis.


Internationally coordinated policy action among deficit and surplus countries
is also critical for achieving a benign adjustment of the global imbalances and avoiding
a disruptive hard landing of the dollar. Now that the financial crisis has already turned
a disorderly adjustment into a synchronized global downturn, the need for international
policy coordination and cooperation is more pressing than ever.


Reform of the international financial system
Even in the most optimistic scenario, however, it will take time before confidence is re-
stored in financial markets and recovery can take place. As immediate solutions are being
worked out, it is important to address the systemic causes that led to the present crisis.


Global economic governance mechanisms are inadequate


The depression of the 1930s had been aggravated by “beggar-thy-neighbour” policies, dis-
integration of the global economy and resurgent protectionism. Under the promise “never
again”, it led to the design of the Bretton Woods institutions, including the creation of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to safeguard the stability of the
global economy and promote growth and development. But over time, the ability of the
IMF to safeguard the stability of the global economy has been hampered by limited re-
sources, and it has been increasingly undermined by the vastly greater (and more volatile)
resources of private actors with global reach. More exclusive and ad hoc country groups,
such as the Group of Seven (G7) or the Group of Eight (G8), have become the platforms
where international policy coordination has taken place in practice.


The apparent irrelevance of the Bretton Woods institutions in today’s crisis
also stems from their skewed voting structures and governance, which do not adequately
reflect the importance of developing countries in today’s world economy. The lack of a
credible mechanism with broad representation for international policy coordination is an
urgently felt lacuna which is limiting swift and effective responses to the present crisis.


Regulatory frameworks are deficient


The financial crisis has revealed major deficiencies in the regulatory and supervisory frame-
works of financial markets. First, the new approach to the regulation of finance, including
that under the New Basel Accord (Basel II) rules, places the burden of regulation on the




xiiiExecutive Summary


financial institutions themselves. Second, the more complex the trade in securities and
other financial instruments has become, the greater the reliance on rating agencies who
proved inadequate to the task at hand, in part because of conflicts of interest over their
own sources of earnings, which are proportional to the trade volume of the instruments
they rate. Consequently, risk assessments by rating agencies tend to be highly pro-cyclical
as they react to the materialization of risks rather than to their build-up. Third, existing
approaches to financial regulation tend to act pro-cyclically, hence exacerbating a credit
crunch during a crisis. At times of boom, when asset prices and collateral values are ris-
ing, loan delinquency falls and results in inadequate provisioning and overexpansion of
credit. When the downturn comes, loan delinquency rises rapidly and standard rules on
provisions can lead to a credit crunch. Fourth, the spread of financial networks across the
world, and the character of securitization itself, has made practically all financial opera-
tions hinge on the “confidence” that each institution in isolation is capable of backing up
its operations. But as insolvencies emerge, such confidence is weakened and may quickly
vanish, generating a generalized credit freeze. The risk models applied by regulatory agen-
cies typically disregard such “contagion” effects and fail to account for the vulnerabilities
of the financial system as a whole, at home and abroad.


The basic objectives of the reform of prudential regulation and supervision of
financial sectors should thus be to introduce strong, internationally concerted counter-
cyclical rules supported by counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies.


The risk of a hard landing of the dollar is intrinsic
to the nature of the international reserve system


The risk of a hard landing of the United States dollar is intrinsic to the very nature of the
global reserve system, which uses the national currency of the United States as the main
reserve currency and instrument for international payments. Under this system, the only
way for the rest of the world to accumulate dollar assets and reserves is for the United
States to run an external deficit. However, as the net liability position of the United States
continues to increase, investors will start anticipating a readjustment and confidence in
the dollar will erode.


The world lacks an international lender of last resort


Over the past decade, many developing countries have accumulated vast amounts of for-
eign-currency reserves, providing some “self-insurance” against external shocks. However,
both the carry cost of holding such reserves and the opportunity costs of not using them
for long-term investment purposes are high. The tendency to accumulate a large amount
of reserves in developing countries has its roots in more fundamental deficiencies of the
international monetary and reserve system. Improved macroprudential capital-account
regulation can help reduce the need for the cost of self-insurance via reserve accumulation.
The need for self-insurance can be reduced further with more effective mechanisms for
liquidity provisioning and reserve management at the international level, both regionally
and multilaterally.


More generally, all IMF facilities should be significantly simplified and in-
clude more automatic and quicker disbursements proportionate to the scale of the external
shock. Recent action has been undertaken in this direction with the reform of the IMF
Exogenous Shocks Facility. But total resources remain limited and much more is needed
to provide collective safeguards for large-scale crises.




xiv World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The way forward


Given the existing systemic flaws, it seems paramount that deliberations on a new interna-
tional financial architectures should address at least four core areas of reform:


(a) The establishment of a credible and effective mechanism for international policy
coordination. To guide a more inclusive process, the participation not only
of major developing countries but also of more representative institutions of
global governance is required; hence, a fundamental revision of the governance
structure and functions of the IMF and the World Bank is needed.


(b) Fundamental reforms of existing systems of financial regulation and supervi-
sion to prevent the re-emergence of excesses.


(c) Reform of the present international reserve system, away from the almost ex-
clusive reliance on the United States dollar and towards a multilaterally backed
multi-currency system which, perhaps, over time could evolve into a single,
world currency-backed system.


(d) Reforms of liquidity provisioning and compensatory financing mechanisms
backed through, among other things, better multilateral and regional pooling
of national foreign-exchange reserves and avoiding the onerous policy condi-
tionality attached to existing mechanisms.


The crisis is global; hence, global solutions are needed


World leaders have acknowledged these needs for reform. At the Follow-up International
Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey
Consensus, held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008, Governments
agreed to address systemic problems and fundamentally reform the global financial
system.


At the Conference, donors also promised to honour all commitments to bridge
existing deficiencies in official development assistance to developing countries and empha-
sized that the financial crisis should not stand in the way of achieving this.


The global financial crisis could motivate countries to recur to greater trade
protection. At the Doha conference on financing for development, Governments pledged
to resist such temptation, but also stressed the need to break the impasse in the negotia-
tions to complete the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and safeguard its de-
velopment dimensions, in particular the principle of special and differential treatment.


It will not be easy to find consensus among all stakeholders on the precise shape
of a new system of global economic governance, but the risk of endangering global peace
and prosperity by failing to address the systemic problems underlying the present crisis
are simply too high. This awareness should be the common ground for seeking common
solutions.




xv


Contents
Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................................................. iii


Contents ................................................................................................................................................................................. xv


Explanatory Notes ............................................................................................................................................................... xix


I Global outlook .................................................................................................................................................. 1


The financial crisis and the prospects for the world economy ................................................................................. 1
The story of a crisis foretold .............................................................................................................................................. 5
The deteriorating international economic environment for developing countries ............................................ 12
Tightening and more costly external financing ......................................................................................... 12
Increased exchange-rate volatility and the risk of a dollar collapse ..................................................... 14
Weakening world trade and commodity prices ......................................................................................... 17
A synchronized global downturn .................................................................................................................................... 18
Developed economies ...................................................................................................................................... 20
Economies in transition .................................................................................................................................... 20
Developing countries ........................................................................................................................................ 21
Macroeconomic policies to stimulate the global economy ...................................................................................... 22
The need for reform of the international financial system ........................................................................................ 27
Systemic failures ................................................................................................................................................. 27
The way forward ................................................................................................................................................. 32


II International trade ........................................................................................................................................... 35


Trade flows ............................................................................................................................................................................ 35
Merchandise trade: growth deceleration and potential revenue falls.................................................. 35
Trade in services: growth to slow with global downturn ......................................................................... 41
World primary commodities and prices ......................................................................................................................... 44
Non-oil commodities: dramatic price swings ............................................................................................. 44
Crude oil: the turnaround that was to be expected in a global slowdown ......................................... 51
Terms of trade for developing countries and economies in transition .................................................................. 54
Trade policy developments: dealing with multilateral
negotiations in the midst of financial and food crises ............................................................................................... 57


III Financing for development ............................................................................................................................. 61


Net resource flows from poor to rich countries ............................................................................................................ 61
Private capital flows to developing countries ............................................................................................. 62
Foreign direct investment ................................................................................................................................ 68
International financial cooperation ............................................................................................................... 71
Rehabilitating the global financial system .................................................................................................. 78
Governance reform at the Bretton Woods institutions ............................................................................. 81




xvi World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


IV Regional developments and outlook ............................................................................................................ 89


Developed market economies ......................................................................................................................................... 89
North America: How severe will the recession in the United States be? .............................................. 89
Western Europe: Sharp deceleration with many countries now in recession ..................................... 92
The new European Union member States: A divergent
growth pattern in 2008, a slowdown in 2009 ............................................................................................. 96
Developed Asia and the Pacific : Japan’s economy
enters recession and will contract further in 2009 .................................................................................... 99
Economies in transition ...................................................................................................................................................... 101
South-eastern Europe: Another year of good
performance, though with activity likely to weaken ................................................................................ 102
The Commonwealth of Independent States:
Despite some deceleration, growth remains impressive ......................................................................... 103
Developing economies....................................................................................................................................................... 108
Africa: The end of the commodity boom ..................................................................................................... 109
East Asia: A continuation of deceleration .................................................................................................... 114
South Asia: Expectations of a slowdown in robust growth ..................................................................... 116
Western Asia: Resilience amidst deteriorating external conditions ...................................................... 118
Latin America and the Caribbean: Significant slowdown in 2009 ......................................................... 123


Statistical annex
Annex tables ......................................................................................................................................................................... 127


Boxes


I. 1 Key assumptions for the baseline forecast and the pessimistic and optimistic scenarios ................................ 3
I. 2 Prospects for least developed countries ........................................................................................................................ 7
I. 3 Don’t forget the food crisis ................................................................................................................................................ 26
II. 1 The making of the food crisis ............................................................................................................................................ 47
IV. 1 The impact of the global financial turmoil on the banking
sector of the Commonwealth of Independent States ................................................................................................ 104
IV. 2 Africa’s response to the food crisis ................................................................................................................................... 111
IV. 3 The creation of a Gulf Cooperation Council monetary union ................................................................................... 120




xviiContents


Figures


I. 1 World economic growth, 2003-2009 .............................................................................................................................. 4
I. 2 Real per capita GDP growth in developed and developing countries, 2003-2009 ............................................. 5
I. 3 Divergence in economic performance across developing countries in 2008 ....................................................... 8
I. 4 Daily spread between three-month LIBOR and three-month
United States Treasury bill interest rate, January 2006-November 2008 ............................................................... 10
I. 5 Daily yield spreads on emerging market bonds, January 2007-November 2008 ................................................ 13
I. 6 Foreign reserves of selected countries, January 2007-October 2008 ..................................................................... 14
I. 7 Exchange-rate indices for the United States, 2002-2008 ........................................................................................... 15
I. 8 Current-account balances, 2003-2009 ............................................................................................................................ 15
I. 9 Growth of world trade volume, January 2005-September 2008 ............................................................................. 18
I. 10 Inflation versus growth in selected developed and developing countries, 2008 and 2009 ............................. 19
I. 11 Policy interest rates of major economies, January 2004-November 2008 ............................................................ 23
II. 1 Growth of global trade, 2002-2009 ................................................................................................................................. 36
II. 2 Monthly averages of free-market price indices of non-oil
commodities, January 1997-September 2008 ............................................................................................................. 45
II. 3 Surplus or deficit of global production over usage for lead and zinc, 1996-2007 ............................................... 49
II. 4 Inventories and prices of lead and zinc, fourth quarter of 2003-second quarter of 2008 ................................. 50
II. 5 Nominal and real Brent crude oil prices, 1980-2008 ................................................................................................... 52
II. 6 Terms of trade by trade structure, 2000-2008 .............................................................................................................. 55
II. 7 Terms of trade by region, 2000-2008 .............................................................................................................................. 56
III. 1 Net financial transfers to developing countries and economies in transition, 1997-2008................................ 61
III. 2 Portfolio investment inflows to selected countries, 2007-2008 ............................................................................... 65
III. 3 Inflows of foreign direct investment, global and by groups of economies, 1980-2008 ..................................... 69
III. 4 DAC members’ net ODA, 1990-2007, and DAC secretariat simulations to 2010 .................................................. 72
III. 5 Debt-service payments as a proportion of export revenues, 1990-2006 .............................................................. 77
IV. 1 Quarterly growth of personal consumption expenditure in the United States, 1991-2008 ............................. 90
IV. 2 Economic activity in the euro zone, 1990-2008 ........................................................................................................... 93
IV. 3 Pattern of economic growth in the new EU member States, 2004-2009............................................................... 97
IV. 4 General government gross financial liabilities, 1991-2007 ....................................................................................... 100
IV. 5 Growth of domestic credit in South-eastern Europe, 2005-2008 ............................................................................ 102
IV. 6 Consumer price index inflation in selected CIS economies, 2007 and 2008 ......................................................... 107
IV. 7 Growth in Africa, oil versus non-oil economies, 2006-2008 ...................................................................................... 110
IV. 8 Year-on-year headline consumer price index inflation rates, 2007-September 2008 ........................................ 115
IV. 9 Oil prices and combined current-account surplus in
Western Asian oil-exporting countries, 2003-2009 ..................................................................................................... 123
IV. 10 Real currency depreciations in Latin America, December 2006-October 2008 ................................................... 124




xviii World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Tables


I. 1 Growth of world output, 2003-2009 ............................................................................................................................... 2
I. 2 Frequency of high and low growth of per capita output, 2006-2009 .................................................................... 6
II. 1 Value growth of exports and imports, 2002-2009 ....................................................................................................... 37
II. 2 Volume change of exports and imports, 2002-2009 .................................................................................................. 38
II. 3 Exports of services: share in total trade in goods and services, 2003-2007 .......................................................... 42
II. 4 Exports of services among developing economies, 1990, 2000 and 2007 ........................................................... 43
II. 5 Commodity price indices in nominal terms, 2008 ....................................................................................................... 44
II. 6 Commodity price indices in real dollar terms, 1974-2008 ......................................................................................... 45
III. 1 Net transfer of financial resources to developing economies and economies in transition, 1996-2008 ....... 62
III. 2 Net financial flows to developing countries and economies in transition, 1995-2009 ...................................... 63
III. 3 Credit default swap spreads and annual probabilities of default in
selected emerging market countries, 31 December 2007 and 23 October 2008 ................................................ 65
III. 4 Inflows of foreign direct investment and cross-border mergers and acquisitions,
by region and major economy, 2007-2008 ................................................................................................................... 70




xix


Explanatory Notes


The following symbols have been used in the tables throughout the report:


.. Two dots indicate that data are not available or are not separately reported.
– A dash indicates that the amount is nil or negligible.
- A hyphen (-) indicates that the item is not applicable.
- A minus sign (-) indicates deficit or decrease, except as indicated.
. A full stop (.) is used to indicate decimals.
/ A slash (/) between years indicates a crop year or financial year, for example, 2007/08.
- Use of a hyphen (-) between years, for example, 2007-2008, signifies the full period involved, including the


beginning and end years.


Reference to “dollars” ($) indicates United States dollars, unless otherwise stated.
Reference to “billions” indicates one thousand million.
Reference to “tons” indicates metric tons, unless otherwise stated.
Annual rates of growth or change, unless otherwise stated, refer to annual compound rates.
Details and percentages in tables do not necessarily add to totals, because of rounding.


Project LINK is an international collaborative research group for econometric modelling, coordinated jointly by the
Development Policy and Analysis Division of the United Nations Secretariat and the University of Toronto.


The following abbreviations have been used:


AAA Accra Agenda for Action


ABCP asset-backed commercial paper


AIG American International Group, Inc.


Basel II New Basel Capital Accord


bps basis points


CAADP Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme


CDS credit default swap


CFA Common Framework of Action (of the United Nations High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis)


CIS Commonwealth of Independent States


CPI consumer price index


DAC Development Assistance Committee (OECD)


ECA Economic Commission for Africa


ECB European Central Bank


ECE Economic Commission for Europe


ECLAC Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean


ECU European Currency Unit


EESA Emergency Economic Stabilization Act


EMBI Emerging Markets Bond Index


ESCAP Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific


ESCWA Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


ESF Exogenous Shock Facility


EU European Union


FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


FDI foreign direct investment


Fed United States Federal Reserve




xx World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


FHFA Federal Housing Finance Agency


FSAP Financial Sector Assessment Program


FSIs Financial Soundness Indicators


FSF Financial Stability Forum


GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services


GCC Gulf Cooperation Council


GDP gross domestic product


GHG greenhouse gas


GNI gross national income


GSEs government-sponsored enterprises


HIPCs heavily indebted poor countries


ICT information and communication technologies


IFIs international financial institutions


IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute


IIF Institute of International Finance


IMF International Monetary Fund


IMFC International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMF)


IT information technology


IWG International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IMF)


LDCs least developed countries


LME London Metal Exchange


M&As mergers and acquisitions


mbd millions of barrels per day


MDGs Millennium Development Goals


MDRI Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative


NAMA non-agricultural market access


NEER nominal effective exchange rate


NEPAD New Partnership for Africa’s Development


NGLs natural gas liquids


NPV net present value


ODA official development assistance


OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


OPEC Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries


pb per barrel


PPP purchasing power parity


PRGF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility


R&D research and development


REER real effective exchange rate


ROSCs Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes


SLF Short-term Liquidity Facility


SSM special safeguard mechanism


SWFs sovereign wealth funds


TNCs transnational corporations


TSR Triennial Surveillance Review


UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development


UN/DESA United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs


WGP world gross product


WTO World Trade Organization




xxiExplanatory Notes


The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this
publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on
the part of the United Nations Secretariat concerning the legal status of
any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the
delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The term “country” as used in the text of this report also refers, as appropriate,
to territories or areas.


Data presented in this publication incorporate information available as
of 30 November 2008.


For analytical purposes, the following country groupings and
subgroupings have been used:a


Developed economies (developed market economies):
Australia, Canada, European Union, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway,
Switzerland, United States of America.


Major developed economies (the Group of Seven):
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, United States of America.


European Union:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland.


EU-15:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


New EU member States:
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.


Economies in transition:


South-eastern Europe:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS):
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia,b Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of
Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.


Net fuel exporters:
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.


Net fuel importers:
All other CIS countries.


Developing economies:
Africa, Asia and the Pacific (excluding Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the
member States of CIS in Asia), Latin America and the Caribbean.


Subgroupings of Africa:


North Africa:
Algeria, Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Tunisia.


Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding Nigeria and South Africa (commonly contracted
to “sub-Saharan Africa”):


All other African countries except Nigeria and South Africa.


Southern Africa:
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia,
South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


East Africa:
Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan,
Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.


West Africa:
Burkina Faso, Benin, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra
Leone and Togo.


Central Africa:
Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African
Republic and Sao Tome and Principe.


Subgroupings of Asia and the Pacific:


Western Asia:
Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian
Territory, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United
Arab Emirates, Yemen.


East and South Asia:
All other developing economies in Asia and the Pacific (including China,
unless stated otherwise). This group is further subdivided into:


South Asia:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of ), Maldives, Nepal,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka.


East Asia:
All other developing economies in Asia and the Pacific.


Subgroupings of Latin America and the Caribbean:


South America:
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay,
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of ).


Mexico and Central America:
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico.


Caribbean:
Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad
and Tobago.


For particular analyses, developing countries have been subdivided into
the following groups:


Oil-exporting countries:
Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Colombia,
Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Iran (Islamic Republic of ), Iraq, Kuwait, Libyan
Arab Jamahiriya, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab
Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela (Bolivarian
Republic of ), Viet Nam.


Oil-importing countries:
All other developing countries.


Least developed countries:
Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi,
Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho,
Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal,
Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu,
Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia.


Landlocked developing countries:
Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Lao’s People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Republic of
Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tajikistan, the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan,
Zambia, Zimbabwe.


a For definitions of country groupings and methodology, see World Economic and Social Survey 2004 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.04.II.C.1, annex,
introductory text).


b In September 2008, the Georgian Parliament carried a motion to leave the Commonwealth of Independent States; this decision is due to enter into force in
mid-2009.




xxii World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Small island developing States:
American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados,
Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Commonwealth of Northern
Marianas, Comoros, Cook Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji,
French Polynesia, Grenada, Guam, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica,
Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States
of ), Montserrat, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau,
Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles,
Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the
Grenadines, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, U.S.
Virgin Islands, Vanuatu.


Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (countries that have reached their Completion
Points or Decision Points):
Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana,
Honduras, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua,
Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, United
Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.


The designation of country groups in the text and the tables is intended
solely for statistical or analytical convenience and does not necessarily
express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country or area
in the development process.




1


Chapter I
Global outlook


The financial crisis and the
prospects for the world economy


It was never meant to happen again, but the world economy is now mired in the most
severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. In little over a year, the mid-2007 sub-
prime mortgage debacle in the United States of America has developed into a global finan-
cial crisis and started to move the global economy into a recession. Aggressive monetary
policy action in the United States and massive liquidity injections by the central banks
of the major developed countries were unable to avert this crisis. Several major financial
institutions in the United States and Europe have failed, and stock market and commod-
ity prices have collapsed and become highly volatile. Interbank lending in most developed
countries has come to a virtual standstill, and the spread between the interest rate on inter-
bank loans and treasury bills has surged to the highest level in decades. Retail businesses
and industrial firms, both large and small, are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain
credit as banks have become reluctant to lend, even to long-time customers. In October
2008, the financial crisis escalated further with sharp falls on stock markets in both de-
veloped and emerging economies. Many countries experienced their worst ever weekly sell
off in equity markets.


Since early October, policymakers in the developed countries have come up
with a number of more credible and internationally concerted emergency plans. Com-
pared with the earlier piecemeal approach, which had failed to prevent the crisis from
spreading, the latest plans are more comprehensive and better coordinated. The measures
have reshaped the previously deregulated financial landscape; massive public funding was
made available to recapitalize banks, with the Government taking partial or full owner-
ship of failed financial institutions and providing blanket guarantees on bank deposits
and other financial assets in order to restore confidence in financial markets and stave
off complete systemic failure. Governments in both developed and developing countries
have started to put together fiscal and monetary stimulus packages in order to prevent the
global financial crisis from turning into another Great Depression.


Will this work? It is hard to predict, but doing nothing would almost certainly
have further aggravated the downside risks and more likely than not pushed the world
economy into a deeper crisis. It should be appreciated, however, that it will take time for
most of these policy measures to take effect; the restoring of confidence among financial
market agents and normalization of credit supplies will take months, if not years, if past
crises can be seen as a guide. Furthermore, it typically takes some time before problems
in financial markets are felt in the real economy. Consequently, it seems inevitable that
the major economies will see significant economic contraction in the immediate period
ahead and that recovery may not materialize any time soon, even if the bailout and stimu-
lus packages succeed. Moreover, the immediate fiscal costs of the emergency measures
will be huge, and it is uncertain how much of these can eventually be recovered from
market agents or through economic recovery. This poses an additional macroeconomic
challenge.


The world economy is
mired in the most severe
financial crisis since the
Great Depression


Early responses failed to
prevent the crisis from
spreading


New, better coordinated
measures, if effective, will
take time to show results




2 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Most developed economies entered into recession during the second half of
2008, and the economic slowdown has spread to developing countries and the econo-
mies in transition. According to the United Nations baseline forecast, world gross product
(WGP) is expected to slow to a meagre 1.0 per cent in 2009, a sharp deceleration from the
2.5 per cent growth estimated for 2008 and well below the more robust growth in previ-
ous years (table I.1). The baseline forecast assumes that it will take six to nine months for
financial markets in developed countries to return to normalcy, assuming central banks in
the United States, Europe and Japan provide further monetary stimulus from the end of
2008 and on into 2009 (see box I.1).


Uncertainties surrounding this forecast are high, as shown by the confidence
interval around the baseline forecast (figure I.1). In a more pessimistic scenario, both the
fire sale of financial assets and the credit crunch would last longer, while monetary stimu-
lus would prove ineffective in the short run and fiscal stimulus would turn out to be too
little, too late. This would then lead to worldwide recession in 2009, with global output
falling by 0.4 per cent, and postpone recovery to, at best, the following year. In a more op-
timistic scenario, a large-scale fiscal stimulus coordinated among major economies would
stave off the worst of the crisis, yet—for the reasons indicated—it would not prevent a sig-
nificant slowdown of the global economy in 2009. Both of these scenarios are also shown
in table I.1 and figure I.1 and discussed further below.


Developed countries have
entered into recession and


are dragging the world
economy down


Table I.1
Growth of world output, 2003-2009


Annual percentage change


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


2009b


Baseline
scenario


Pessimistic
scenario


Optimistic
scenario


World outputc 2.7 4.0 3.5 4.0 3.8 2.5 1.0 -0.4 1.6


of which:
Developed economies 1.8 3.0 2.4 2.9 2.5 1.2 -0.5 -1.5 0.2


United States 2.5 3.6 2.9 2.8 2.0 1.2 -1.0 -1.9 -0.5
Euro zone 0.8 2.1 1.7 2.8 2.6 1.1 -0.7 -1.5 0.3
Japan 1.4 2.7 1.9 2.4 2.1 0.4 -0.3 -0.6 0.5


Economies in transition 7.4 7.7 6.5 7.8 8.3 6.9 4.8 2.7 6.1
Developing economies 5.2 7.1 6.8 7.1 7.2 5.9 4.6 2.7 5.1


China 10.0 10.1 10.4 11.6 11.9 9.1 8.4 7.0 8.9
India 7.3 7.1 11.5 7.3 8.9 7.5 7.0 4.7 7.5
Brazil 1.1 5.7 3.2 3.8 5.4 5.1 2.9 0.5 3.0
Mexico 1.4 4.0 3.1 4.9 3.2 2.0 0.7 -1.2 1.5


of which:
Least developed countries 5.2 7.2 7.9 7.7 7.8 6.4 5.1 2.0 6.1


Memorandum items:


World trade 5.6 11.2 8.0 8.8 6.3 4.4 2.1 -3.1 3.1
World output growth
with PPP-based weights 3.6 4.9 4.5 4.9 4.9 3.7 2.3 1.3 3.0


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.
c Calculated as a weighted average of individual country growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP), where weights are based on GDP in 2005


prices and exchange rates.




3Global outlook


Key assumptions for the baseline forecast
and the pessimistic and optimistic scenarios


The baseline forecast


The baseline forecast assumes that it will take six to nine months for financial markets in developed
countries to return to normalcy while central banks in the United States, Europe and Japan provide
further monetary stimulus from the end of 2008 and on into 2009.


The Federal Reserve (Fed) is assumed to maintain its main policy interest rate, the fed-
eral funds rate, at its current level of 1 per cent throughout 2009. In addition, the Fed (as well as other
major central banks) is expected to continue using direct injections of liquidity into the financial
system through some special facilities, including the Term Securities Lending Facility, and the exten-
sion of non-recourse loans at the primary credit rate to depository institutions and bank holding
companies to finance their purchases of high-quality asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) from
money market mutual funds.


The European Central Bank (ECB) is assumed to cut its main policy interest rate, the
minimum bid rate,a further during the fourth quarter of 2008 from its current level of 3.25 per cent to
2.75 per cent by the end of the year. In 2009, it is expected to cut an additional 50 basis points (bps),
bringing its policy rate to 2.25 per cent and then to maintain this stance for the rest of the year.


The Bank of Japan is assumed to hold its policy rate, the target Uncollateralized Over-
night Call Rate, at its current 0.3 per cent until the end of 2009.


The euro peaked against the United States dollar during the second quarter of 2008, at
$1.60, and has depreciated significantly since then. It is assumed to remain close to the current levels
of around $1.28 in the fourth quarter of 2008 and to depreciate further in 2009, reaching $1.20 as
interest-rate differentials against the United States narrow further.


The Japanese yen is expected to stay close to current levels of Y99 to the United States
dollar for the fourth quarter of 2008 and then to appreciate and average Y91 in the fourth quarter of
2009.


Brent oil prices are expected to average $64 per barrel in 2009, compared with an esti-
mated average of $101 per barrel in 2008.


A pessimistic scenario


Given the great uncertainties with regard to how deep this financial crisis could become and how
effective the policy measures in place would be, risks for the world economy to perform even worse
than in the already gloomy baseline outlook remain high. The key factor in a more pessimistic scenario
of this kind would be a much sharper-than-anticipated decline in net lending to households and
businesses in major developed countries, not unlike the experience of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, Japan and the Scandinavian countries during their respective financial
crises in the early 1990s. The lack of confidence and trust in the financial sector would be prolonged,
especially if, for instance, large “off balance-sheet” positions of financial institutions continued to
disguise risks at much larger financial losses.


As a result, the fire sale in equity markets and drops in asset prices will also be pro-
longed, along with deteriorating indicators of the real economy, including falling business profits
and rising unemployment. As financial institutions continue to deleverage and investors become
even more risk averse, the pessimistic scenario assumes an extended vicious circle of asset price de-
flation and perceptions of rising financial risk. House prices in the United States, which have declined
by about 20 per cent since the housing bubble burst, are assumed to fall by another 15-20 per cent
during 2009. The wealth losses from a further sell-off in assets worldwide could completely dwarf
the attempts at recapitalization of financial institutions and corporate businesses put in place by the
Governments of major developed countries, and make the financial rescue look seemingly impos-
sible. This will erode market confidence further. Developing economies would be hurt more through
a deeper recession in the developed economies, a steeper fall in commodity prices and a sharper
reversal of capital inflows. Aid budgets could come under greater pressure and affect low-income
countries relying on official development assistance not only for their long-term development but
also as a cushion against external shocks.


Box I.1


a In order to supply further
liquidity to the markets, the
ECB has now changed its
main refinancing operations
from a variable rate to a
fixed-rate tender, and is
supplying unlimited liquidity
at the stated fixed rate.




4 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


In the baseline scenario, income per capita for the world as whole is expected
to decline in 2009 (figure I.2). This will be the case not only in the developed economies
but also in many developing countries, where per capita income growth will be negative or
well below what is needed to address poverty reduction.1


The vast majority of countries are experiencing a sharp reversal in the robust
growth registered during the period 2002-2007. For example, among the 160 economies in


1 As a rule of thumb, 3 per cent per capita income growth is sometimes seen as the minimum
required growth rate for achieving significant reductions in poverty, even in the absence of
income redistribution.


World income per
capita will fall in 2009


In this scenario, fiscal and monetary stimulus is likely to be less effective. First, it could
push the United States and parts of Europe into a “liquidity trap”—akin to that of Japan during the
1990s—where monetary easing would fail to stimulate private consumption and investment. Sec-
ond, the deep risk aversion and lack of confidence force banks to use any liquidity injections to shore
up their balance sheets without enhancing the credit supply to households and businesses. Third, fis-
cal stimulus also fails to restore confidence among market agents as they fear that Governments lack
sufficient means to finance ever-larger bailouts of the financial system or that exorbitant increases in
public debt will be a threat to economic stability in the future.


An optimistic scenario


In contrast, in a more optimistic scenario, it is assumed that financial market confidence is restored as
quickly as assumed in the baseline. In addition, it is assumed that during the first half of 2009, fiscal
stimulus packages of between 1.5 and 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) are introduced in
coordinated fashion. Also, compared with the baseline, greater monetary easing is assumed through
further interest-rate cuts.


Box I.1 (cont’d)


Figure I.1
World economic growth, 2003-2009


-1


0


1


2


3


4


5


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Baseline


Optimistic


Pessimistic


Percentage


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.


b Projections, based
on Project LINK.


Indicates confidence
interval at two standard


deviations from
historical forecast errors




5Global outlook


the world for which data are available, the number of economies that had an annual growth
in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of 3 per cent or higher is estimated to have
dropped from 106 in 2007 to 83 in 2008, and this is expected to decline further, to 52, in
2009 (see table I.2). Among the 107 developing countries, this number is estimated to have
dropped from 70 in 2007 to 57 in 2008, and to decline significantly further in 2009 to 29.
This trend suggests a significant setback in the progress made in poverty reduction in many
developing countries over the past few years. The prospects for the least developed countries
(LDCs), which generally did so well on average over the past several years, are also dete-
riorating rapidly (see box I.2). Meanwhile, divergences in economic performance among
the low-income countries remain greater than among the mainly middle-income countries
in Asia or Latin America (figure I.3), although with the synchronized global downturn,
growth divergences have narrowed somewhat from preceding years.


The story of a crisis foretold
The crisis should have taken no one by surprise. That analysts and policymakers are now
expressing bewilderment at the extent of the crisis suggests not only a gross underesti-
mation of the fundamental causes underlying the crisis but also unfounded faith in the
self-regulatory capacity of unfettered financial markets. Past issues of the World Economic
Situation and Prospects have repeatedly pointed out that the apparent robust growth pat-
tern that had emerged from the early 2000s came with high risks. Growth was driven to
a significant extent by strong consumer demand in the United States, stimulated by easy
credit and underpinned by booming house prices, and by very high rates of investment
demand and strong export growth in some developing countries, notably China. Growing


Policymakers have grossly
underestimated the global
consequences of the
financial crisis in the
United States


Figure I.2
Real per capita GDP growth in developed and developing countries, 2003-2009


Percentage


-1


0


1


2


3


4


5


6


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Developing countries


World
Developed countries


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.
b Projections, based on
Project LINK.




6 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table I.2
Frequency of high and low growth of per capita output, 2006-2009


Number of
countries


monitored


Decline in GDP per capita
Growth of GDP per capita


exceeding 3 per cent


2006 2007 2008a 2009b 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Number of countries


World 160 10 15 14 36 97 106 83 52


of which:


Developed economies 35 0 0 7 21 18 18 7 6
Economies in transition 18 0 0 0 0 16 18 18 17
Developing countries 107 10 15 7 15 63 70 57 29


of which:


Africa 51 9 14 6 9 25 29 24 16
East Asia 13 0 1 1 2 11 12 8 1
South Asia 6 0 0 0 0 5 5 5 4
Western Asia 13 1 0 0 1 8 7 7 2
Latin America 24 0 0 0 3 14 17 13 6


Memorandum items:


Least developed countries 39 6 11 5 10 17 20 16 10
Sub-Saharan Africac 44 9 14 6 9 20 23 19 13
Landlocked developing countries 25 2 5 2 3 12 15 15 13


Small island developing States 17 2 2 1 4 9 12 9 5


Shared Percentage of world population


Developed economies 15.8 0.0 0.0 1.7 13.7 2.5 2.5 1.5 1.4
Economies in transition 5.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.2
Developing countries 79.1 0.9 1.6 0.7 3.3 67.2 72.2 65.9 49.4


of which:


Africa 13.5 0.9 1.6 0.7 1.0 7.0 10.2 8.4 6.4
East Asia 30.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 30.4 30.5 28.3 20.9
South Asia 23.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 25.7 26.1 26.5 24.1
Western Asia 2.8 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.8 2.0 0.6 0.4
Latin America 8.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.0 4.7 6.3 5.2 0.7


Memorandum items:


Least developed countries 10.5 0.4 1.1 0.5 1.2 6.6 7.6 6.4 5.0
Sub-Saharan Africac 8.4 0.9 1.6 0.7 1.0 4.5 5.5 4.6 3.1
Landlocked developing countries 4.9 0.3 0.8 0.3 0.5 2.7 2.9 2.9 2.7
Small island developing States 0.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.2


Source: UN/DESA, including population estimates and projections from World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecast, based in part on Project LINK.
c Excluding Nigeria and South Africa.
d Percentage of world population for 2000.




7Global outlook


Prospects for least developed countries


Growth in the least developed country (LDC) group decelerated from 7.8 per cent in 2007 to 6.4 per
cent in 2008, breaking a four-year trend of growth over 7 per cent. In 2009, growth is expected to
slow further to 5.3 per cent. These figures, however, obscure a significant variation across countries.
Cape Verde recently graduated from LDC status. Of the remaining 38 countries with data coverage,
only five had growth over 7 per cent in 2008—the minimum rate of growth needed to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Growth was between 3 and 7 per cent in 25 countries, while
the remaining 8 countries, most of which were mired in conflicts or political instability, had growth
of less than 3 per cent (see table).


The majority of countries with growth above 7 per cent in 2008—for example, Angola,
the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea—were oil- and mineral-exporting
economies, thus underscoring the importance of the recent commodity boom for the export and
growth performance of the group and also highlighting that their growth remains susceptible to
volatility in the international commodity markets. Although the value of merchandise exports rose
by 43 per cent in the LDCs between 2007 and 2008, quadrupling since 2003, this was largely due to
the rising prices of oil and mineral exports. The LDCs remain marginalized in terms of their share in
world trade, accounting for only 1 per cent of global exports.


In addition, about half of the LDCs, many of which are high-growth performers, expe-
rienced a de-industrialization of their economies in the past decade. This suggests the lack of struc-
tural transformation and economic dynamism necessary for reducing commodity dependence and
bringing about long-term sustainable growth.


Most LDCs are net food importers and have therefore been strongly affected by the rise
in commodity food prices, deteriorating terms of trade and widening current-account deficits. After
experiencing a declining trend since 2001, inflation in the LDCs increased to 13.5 per cent in 2008,
up from 9.5 per cent in 2007, triggered mainly by rising world market prices of food and fuel. In the
oil-exporting countries, this was compounded by strong domestic demand growth. Of the 38 LDCs
monitored, half had inflation rates over 10 per cent in 2008, up from 13 countries in 2007.


Food import bills of LDCs climbed by 37 per cent in 2008, from $17.9 million in 2007 to
$24.6 million in 2008 and after having risen by 30 per cent in 2006, owing to surging prices of rice,


Box I.2


Table
Growth in least developed countries, 2008


Less than 3 per cent Between 3 and 7 per cent Greater than 7 per cent


Chad
Comoros
Eritrea
Guinea
Somalia
Togo
Myanmar
Haiti


Bangladesh
Benin
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Central African Republic
Djibouti
Gambia
Guinea-Bissau
Lesotho
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania


Mozambique
Niger
Nepal
Rwanda
Sudan
Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal
Sierra Leone
United Republic of Tanzania
Uganda
Yemen
Zambia


Angola
Democratic Republic of
the Congo
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia
Liberia




8 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


United States deficits in this period were financed by increasing trade surpluses in China,
Japan and other countries accumulating large foreign-exchange reserves and willing to
buy dollar-denominated assets. At the same time, increasing financial deregulation, along
with a flurry of new financial instruments and risk-management techniques (mortgage-
backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and so on), encour-
aged a massive accumulation of financial assets supported by growing levels of debt in the
household, corporate and public sectors. In some countries, both developed and develop-
ing, domestic financial debt has risen four- or fivefold as a share of national income since
the early 1980s. This rapid explosion in debt was made possible by the shift from a tradi-
tional “buy-and-hold” banking model to a dynamic “originate-to-sell” trading model (or


Figure I.3
Divergence in economic performance across developing countries in 2008


0


2


4


6


8


10


Africa
Developing


Asia
Latin America and


the Caribbean
Least developed


countries


Source: UN/DESA and Project
LINK.


Note: For each region, the
red bar within the box


corresponds to the regional
mean value of growth rates.


The five blue horizontal
bars, from bottom to top,


correspond to the smallest
observation, the first quartile,
the median, the third quartile


and the largest observation,
respectively. The outliers


are excluded from the
determination of the smallest
and the largest observations.


wheat and vegetable oils. By the end of 2008, the annual food import basket in LDCs cost more than
three times that of 2000, not because of the increased volume of food imports, but as the result of
rising food prices. The moderation in commodity prices which began in 2008 is expected to improve
the terms of trade of oil-importing and net food-importing LDCs in the near term, yet much of the
damage has already been done, as the surge in food prices has led to double-digit levels of inflation,
sparked food riots in at least eight LDCs (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Haiti, Mauritania, Mozambique, Sen-
egal, Somalia and Yemen) and slowed progress towards the MDGs.


The global economic downturn will affect the LDCs through lower commodity prices,
weaker investment and trade flows, and higher exchange-rate vulnerability. Aid flows, which are im-
portant for funding improved social service delivery, large-scale infrastructure projects and industrial
development, may recede if traditional donors mired in the financial crisis renege on their aid com-
mitments, thus further hampering progress towards achieving the MDGs.


Box I.2 (cont’d)




9Global outlook


“securitization”). Leverage ratios of some institutions went up to as high as 30, well above
the ceiling of 10 generally imposed on deposit banks. The deleveraging now under way has
brought down established financial institutions and led to the rapid evaporation of global
liquidity that together threaten the normal operations of the real economy.


All parties seemed to benefit from the boom, particularly the major financial
players in the rich economies, while the risks were conveniently ignored, despite repeated
warnings that mounting household, public sector and financial sector indebtedness in the
United States and elsewhere would not be sustainable over time.2 As strains in the United
States mortgage market were transmitted to the wider financial sector, fears of a meltdown
escalated and spread around the world.


Severe problems in United States mortgage markets and increasing volatility in
interest-rate spreads in the markets for interbank and emerging market lending surfaced in
August 2007 as early signs of emerging global financial turmoil. Despite massive liquidity
injections and an increasingly loose monetary policy stance in the United States, Japan
and parts of Europe, the turmoil continued into 2008. Major warning signs came with
the collapse of Bear Stearns, the fifth-largest investment bank in the United States, which
had to be rescued by joint action of the United States Federal Reserve (Fed) and JPMorgan
Chase. In September 2008, the financial turmoil intensified once again, this time turning
into a global financial tsunami characterized by a severe credit freeze, a precipitous sell-off
in stock markets worldwide and the collapse or near collapse of major financial institu-
tions in the United States and Europe. Several developed countries, including Iceland and
Hungary, needed massive emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
to cope with their financial problems.


The continued housing slump in the United States triggered the collapse of
this financial house of cards. House prices continued to decline in 2008 at an annual
rate of about 17 per cent. Mortgage delinquency rates surged, particularly for sub-prime
loans. No less than 40 per cent of the sub-prime mortgage loans originated in 2006 were
delinquent by the second half of 2008. As a result, the value of mortgage-related assets
deteriorated significantly. By the third quarter of 2008, financial institutions worldwide
had written down a total value of about $700 billion worth of asset-backed securities,
of which more than $500 billion related to the commercial banking sector. Many more
write-downs are forthcoming as the prices of these securities continue to drop, leading to
an accelerated erosion of the capital base of financial institutions and severely constraining
their ability to lend.


Moreover, the complex way in which those asset-backed securities were con-
structed made it difficult to assess their value. Having been cavalier about risk during the
boom years, investors have become extremely risk averse along with the plummeting market
confidence, resulting in further declines in asset prices and a further drying up of liquidity
in a number of funding markets. Banks have become extremely reluctant to lend to each
other, losing confidence in the creditworthiness of counterparties. The credit market stress
was reflected in the surge of the spread between the interest rate on interbank lending and
the interest rate on Treasury bills. In late September and early October, this spread reached
its highest level in decades. It had soared to nearly 400 basis points, whereas under normal
market conditions, the spread would be about 20 to 30 basis points (figure I.4).


2 For example, as early as 2006, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2006 (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.07.II.C.2) warned of the “vulnerability of the global economy derived from
the possible burst of the house price bubble in some countries” (p. 23) and cautioned that the
related widening of the global imbalances posed a threat to the stability of the financial system.


The financial turmoil of
August 2007 was an early
sign of larger problems
ahead


Deregulation and financial
innovations led to excessive
risk-taking by financial
instititutions




10 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The credit crunch has become widespread, and even some large, financially
sound non-financial corporations were unable to roll over their commercial paper in the
money market to fund working capital needs.


Prices of financial companies’ stocks were under tremendous pressure even
before September, but a further erosion of investor confidence, combined with a signifi-
cant downgrading of the outlook for the real economic sector, triggered another round of
asset sell-offs worldwide in late September and October. Equity markets remained highly
volatile thereafter. In the first ten days of October alone, equity markets worldwide plum-
meted by about 20 per cent on average, losing roughly $10 trillion worth of equity. Many
markets, including those of the United States and some Asian countries, experienced the
worst sell-off recorded in a single week. For the year, global equity markets have declined
by about 40 per cent on average. In several emerging markets, the decline has been even
steeper, with stock exchanges dropping by more than 60 per cent in China and the Rus-
sian Federation, for example.


A number of large financial institutions came under severe financial stress and
were cut off from access to long-term capital and short-term funding markets. In the
United States, these included the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as Lehman Brothers, American International Group (AIG),
Inc. and Washington Mutual. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold about $5 trillion worth
of mortgage loans, about half of all the mortgage loans in the United States. They are
also the issuers of multi-trillion-dollar bonds bought by many other financial institutions
worldwide, including the central banks of many countries, as well as pension funds. The
failure of these two companies would inevitably have caused unacceptably large dislo-
cations in the global financial system. Therefore, the Federal Housing Finance Agency


A fire sale in asset markets
followed the collapse of


major financial institutions
in the United States


and Europe


Figure I.4
Daily spread between three-month LIBOR and three-month
United States Treasury bill interest rate, January 2006-November 2008


Ja
n-


06


M
ar


-0
6


M
ay


-0
6


Ju
l-0


6


Se
p-


06


N
ov


-0
6


Ja
n-


07


M
ar


-0
7


M
ay


-0
7


Ju
l-0


7


Se
p-


07


N
ov


-0
7


Ja
n-


08


M
ar


-0
8


M
ay


-0
8


Ju
l-0


8


Se
p-


08


N
ov


-0
8


Percentage


0.0


0.5


1.0


1.5


2.0


2.5


3.0


3.5


4.0


4.5


5.0


Sources: British Bankers’
Association and the United


States Federal Reserve Bank.




11Global outlook


(FHFA) put Fannie and Freddie under conservatorship of the United States Government,
and the Treasury provided financial support.


AIG is one of the largest insurance companies in the world. It has more than
one trillion dollars in assets and operates in more than 100 countries. AIG plays a central
role in a number of markets by insuring risks for many other companies. For example, it
holds a swap portfolio valued at about $500 billion for the insurance of the debts of many
other major financial institutions. Given the size and composition of its obligations, a
failure of AIG would also severely threaten global financial stability. To salvage AIG, the
United States Treasury provided an emergency credit line of $85 billion in exchange for
about 80 per cent equity ownership in AIG, after which further support was given, raising
the bailout to $150 billion in November of 2008.


Two more large financial institutions failed: Lehman Brothers and Washing-
ton Mutual had to file for bankruptcy, the former being the largest firm to do so in United
States history, while the latter is the largest bank ever to fail.


September 2008 marked a sea change in the international financial landscape,
including the end of independent investment banking in the United States and an end to
previous faith in the virtues of unfettered financial markets. Investment banks either went
bankrupt, merged with other commercial banks, or converted themselves into commer-
cial banks. Between September 2007 and October 2008, 16 banks in the United States
filed for bankruptcy, and more than 100 out of some 7,000 banks are on the Fed’s watch
list. While this proportion is still small compared with the Great Depression, when about
700 out of a total of 9,000 banks failed, its ramifications in an integrated financial world
are every bit as big. In November, the United States Government also had to come to the
rescue of Citigroup, backing about $306 billion in loans and securities and investing $20
billion directly in the financial institution considered “too big to fail”.


The credit crisis quickly spread to Europe, with a number of large European fi-
nancial institutions teetering on the edge of collapse, such as the Dutch-Belgian bank For-
tis, the French-Belgian Dexia, the British mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, Germany’s
Hypo Real Estate, as well as the Dutch bank and insurance company ING and the Dutch
insurance giant Aegon. In Iceland, three major banks collapsed, dragging the country to
the brink of bankruptcy as the total external liabilities of the three banks accounted for
five times Iceland’s annual GDP. The contagion effects of the crisis also spread rapidly to
emerging economies. Hungary was among the first of the emerging market countries to
suffer. Both Iceland and Hungary had to recur to the IMF (and other sources) to alleviate
the immediate financial market stress, becoming the first two European countries to do
so in over 30 years. Ukraine also ran into acute liquidity problems, as its access to interna-
tional capital markets was curtailed sharply, its currency was sold off and the credit-rating
agencies downgraded the country’s debt. Ukraine also had to recur to the IMF for a $16.4
billion loan. Belarus and Serbia also filed requests for substantial emergency support from
the IMF. Pakistan also entered into acute balance-of-payments’ problems and filed for IMF
support, as its foreign reserve level dropped to less than a few weeks worth of imports.


The intensification of the global financial crisis from late September-October
2008 onwards heightened the risk of a complete collapse of the global financial system. In
response, policymakers worldwide, particularly those in major developed countries, drasti-
cally scaled up their policy measures in October. Most importantly, they made two strate-
gic changes in the way they deal with the crisis. First, as noted above, the initial piecemeal
approach was abandoned and replaced with a more comprehensive one. Second, unilateral
national approaches have given way to more international cooperation and coordination.


The international financial
landscape changed
dramatically after
September 2008


The crisis quickly spread
around the globe


Fears of systemic failure
have led to massive
financial sector rescue
plans




12 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Totalling about $4 trillion, these policy measures aimed at unfreezing credit
and money markets by recapitalizing banks with public funds, guaranteeing bank lend-
ing and insuring bank deposits. Interbank lending rates retreated somewhat following the
start of the large-scale bailout. However, congestion and dysfunction remain in important
segments of the credit markets. Meanwhile, great uncertainty remains in credit deriva-
tives, with $400 trillion to $500 trillion in notional value of derivatives outstanding.


Given the stark erosion of confidence and massive destruction of financial
capital over the past year, it will take months, if not years, before beleaguered banks sig-
nificantly revive lending and fraught investors see confidence restored. It will take even
longer for these policy measures to show their effects in terms of a regaining of strength
in the real economy. Meanwhile, the crisis has already had a severe impact on global com-
modity markets and has led to reversals in private capital flows to emerging markets, with
far-reaching implications for the prospects of the developing world at large.


The deteriorating international economic
environment for developing countries


There had been complacency about the impact of the global financial crisis on developing
countries and the economies in transition. In fact, the broader international economic
environment for developing countries and the economies in transition has deteriorated
sharply, and since October 2008 the financial stresses have shifted rapidly towards these
economies. The cost of external borrowing has risen considerably and capital inflows are
reversing. Both currency and commodity markets have become extremely volatile, with
the exchange rate depreciating at an alarming pace in several countries and prices of pri-
mary commodities tumbling. Export growth in these economies is decelerating and the
current-account balances of many countries have shifted back into a rising deficit. These
economies are facing even bigger challenges in the outlook for 2009.


Tightening and more costly external financing


In the second half of 2007, external financing costs for emerging market economies started
to edge up from record lows, but remained within normal range until September 2008.
Costs surged thereafter with the tightening global credit market. Spreads, as measured
through the Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI), soared from 250 to about 550 basis
points within the space of a few weeks during the second half of September (figure I.5).
Unlike in recent years where the spread varied significantly across regions and countries as
an indication that investors were discriminating among country-specific risks, the latest
surge has been uniform, suggesting that contagion and generalized aversion to investing
in emerging markets has taken hold among investors. Spreads are expected to remain high
in 2009, as the strains in global credit markets linger, but some renewed differentiation
in the spreads across regions and countries may re-emerge once it becomes clearer which
individual countries are better able to cope with the crisis.


Private capital inflows to emerging market economies were relatively robust
in the first half of 2008, after peaking in 2007, but have dropped sharply since the third
quarter of 2008. Declines in bank lending and portfolio equity inflows explain most of
the drop. The volume of bank loans to emerging markets declined by about 40 per cent
from 2007 levels as a consequence of the freeze in interbank lending worldwide. The de-
cline further reflects an adjustment in the surge in lending seen in 2007, when the volume


The myth of a “decoupling”
of developing country


growth led to an
underestimation of the


global repercussions


Spreads on emerging
market bonds have
more than doubled




13Global outlook


of lending doubled the flows to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, for
instance. Portfolio equity inflows fell on average by about 30 per cent from the previous
year, also coinciding with the wave of sell-offs in emerging equity markets. In some emerg-
ing markets, equity prices dropped by as much as 60 per cent. By contrast, foreign direct
investment (FDI) inflows to these countries remained relatively stable; a decline of about
10 per cent is estimated for 2008 from the record highs of 2007.


In the outlook for 2009, capital inflows to emerging market economies are
projected to drop further. A continued deleveraging in the large financial institutions
of developed countries and the eroded confidence of international investors are likely to
limit portfolio inflows to emerging market economies, while the pro-cyclical nature of
FDI flows will also imply a slowdown in FDI along with weakening growth prospects for
emerging market economies. On the other hand, as emerging market economies are not
at the epicentre of this financial crisis and as growth in many of them remains stronger
in relation to that of developed economies, capital flows to these countries may gradually
regain impetus as global financial markets start to stabilize.


The outflow of capital from emerging to developed market economies continued to
be larger than the inflow. On balance, emerging market economies continue to be net lenders
to the rest of the world, financing the external deficits of the United States and other developed
economies. Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) of emerging market economies continued to grow
and totalled about $4 trillion at the end of 2008. During the early stage of the global financial
crisis, many SWFs injected sizeable amounts of money into the beleaguered financial institu-
tions of developed countries, but became more prudent after registering considerable losses.


Most of the net transfer of financial resources from developing to developed
countries is achieved through the accumulation of international reserves. The total value
of the official foreign-exchange reserves of developing countries reached about $3.1 trillion
in 2007, and that amount rose further in the first half of 2008. China’s foreign-exchange


Private capital flows to
developing countries will
weaken in 2009


Foreign reserves of
developing countries
increased further in 2008,
but may dwindle in 2009


Figure I.5
Daily yield spreads on emerging market bonds, January 2007-November 2008


Africa
Asia
Europe
Latin America


Ja
n-


07


M
ar


-0
7


M
ay


-0
7


Ju
l-0


7


Se
p-


07


N
ov


-0
7


Ja
n-


07


M
ar


-0
8


M
ay


-0
8


Ju
l-0


8


Se
p-


08


N
ov


-0
8


Percentage


0


2


4


6


8


10


Source: JPMorgan Chase.




14 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


reserves, for example, rose from $1.5 trillion at the end of 2007 to about $1.9 trillion in the
third quarter of 2008. Nevertheless, a significant deceleration in the pace of reserve accu-
mulation has been reported for many developing countries amid the intensification of the
global financial crisis (figure I.6). In the outlook, the foreign reserves of developing coun-
tries are expected to stagnate, or even decline in some countries, as more of these countries
are expected to experience either weakening current or capital accounts, or both.


Increased exchange-rate volatility
and the risk of a dollar collapse


Volatility in foreign-exchange markets has also increased substantially with the deepening
of the global financial crisis (figure I.7). The United States dollar depreciated substantially
vis-à-vis other major currencies, particularly the euro, in the first half of 2008, but has since
reversed direction even more sharply. Many currencies in developing countries have also
either reversed their earlier trend of appreciation vis-à-vis the dollar or slowed their appre-
ciation. Currencies in a number of developing countries, particularly those that are com-
modity exporters, have depreciated against the dollar substantially since mid-2008. The
heightened risk aversion of international investors has led to a “flight to safety”, as indicated
by the lowering of the yield of the short-term United States Treasury bill to almost zero.


However, it is expected that the recent strength of the dollar will be tempo-
rary and the risk of a hard landing of the dollar in 2009 or beyond remains, as stressed
in previous issues of the World Economic Situation and Prospects. As the global financial
crisis intensifies, the world economy is experiencing an abrupt adjustment of the global
imbalances. The current-account imbalances across the globe narrowed somewhat in 2008
and are expected to narrow further in 2009 (figure I.8). The deficit of the United States is


The dollar has appreciated
during the crisis …


… but persisting global
imbalances could
precipitate a hard


landing in 2009


Figure I.6
Foreign reserves of selected countries, January 2007-October 2008


50


100


150


200


250


300


350


0


10


20


30


40


50


60


Ja
n-


07


Fe
b-


07


M
ar


-0
7


Ap
r-


07


M
ay


-0
7


Ju
n-


07


Ju
l-0


7


Au
g-


07


Se
p-


07


O
ct


-0
7


N
ov


-0
7


D
ec


-0
7


Ja
n-


08


Fe
b-


08


M
ar


-0
8


Ap
r-


08


M
ay


-0
8


Ju
n-


08


Ju
l-0


8


Au
g-


08


Se
p-


08


O
ct


-0
8


Billions of dollars


Source: IMF and national
central bank websites.


Argentina
(right axis)


India
(left axis)


Pakistan
(right axis)


Brazil
(left axis)


Republic of Korea
(left axis)


Ukraine
(right axis)




15Global outlook


Figure I.7
Exchange-rate indices for the United States, 2002-2008a


Nominal broad dollar index


Nominal major currencies dollar index


Euro per US dollar


Ja
n-


02


Ja
n-


03


Ja
n-


04


Ja
n-


05


Ja
n-


06


Ja
n-


07


Ja
n-


08


2002 January = 100


50


60


70


80


90


100


110


Source: United States Federal
Reserve Board. Rebased by
UN/DESA.
Note: The major currencies
index contains currencies of
most developed countries;
the broad index incorporates
currencies of emerging
economies into the other
index. A decline in the index
represents a depreciation of
the dollar.
a Until November 2008.


Figure I.8
Current-account balances, 2003-2009


Billions of dollars


-1 000


-800


-600


-400


-200


0


200


400


600


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Sources: IMF, World Economic
Outlook database, October
2008; UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecast.


United States


Japan


European Union


Developing countries
and economies in
transition, excluding
China


China




16 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


estimated to be about $690 billion in 2008, down only slightly from the $732 billion gap
of 2007. Developed economies as a whole still registered a deficit of more than $600 bil-
lion in 2008. Most developing regions continued running savings’ surpluses.


The narrowing of the United States current-account deficit during 2008 oc-
curred in the wake of the financial crisis, which led to a downward adjustment in private
sector spending through weakening household consumption and business investment. In
the third quarter of 2008, household consumption expenditure dropped at an annualized
rate of more than 2 per cent, the largest decline in 28 years, as the large wealth losses
forced households to rebuild savings. This was only partially offset by rising government
spending, which increased notably following the emergency measures adopted in response
to the crisis. Declining import demand on the heels of further retrenchment in domestic
consumption and investment will probably also dominate external adjustment in 2009.


Despite its narrowing current-account deficit, the net international liability po-
sition of the United States has continued to increase. Over the past few years, the increase
in net external indebtedness has been smaller than the annual current-account deficit,
however, as a consequence of the dollar depreciation, which has facilitated an appreciation
of the value of United States-owned assets abroad and a depreciation in the value of United
States liabilities owed to the rest of the world. Being the issuer of the international reserve
currency, the United States might thus try to “inflate” its way out of its external indebted-
ness. However, the favourable revaluation effects are not nearly large enough to outweigh
the adverse trend associated with sustaining large current-account deficits. As equity mar-
kets worldwide plummeted during 2008, the value of both the United States-owned assets
abroad and the foreign-owned assets of the United States has dropped significantly. The
official estimate of the valuation adjustment for 2008 will be available in mid-2009, but a
rough estimate suggests a further increase in the net debt position of the United States to
about $2.7 trillion by the end of 2008, up from $2.5 trillion in 2007.


The large current-account deficit and perceptions that the United States debt
position is approaching unsustainable levels are important factors underlying the trend de-
preciation of the United States dollar since 2002. During 2008, the dollar became highly
volatile, driven by a number of factors related to the global financial crisis.


In the first half of 2008, when investors seemed to believe that the financial
problems were mainly confined to the United States, dollar depreciation accelerated, with
the dollar dropping from $1.45 to the euro at the beginning of the year to $1.60 to the
euro by mid-2008. Since then, however, the dollar has appreciated significantly vis-à-vis
most other major currencies (except the Japanese yen) and moved to about $1.25 to the
euro in the last quarter of 2008.


This sharp rebound of the dollar was mainly driven by the effects of a flight to
safety as the global financial crisis intensified in September-October and spread to Europe
and the rest of world. Many European financial institutions were suddenly found to be
on the verge of collapse, the growth prospects for emerging economies were downgraded
significantly, the prices of oil and other primary commodities tumbled, and many financial
institutions, including hedge funds and mutual funds, either started to deleverage or were
forced to redeem. All these factors, plus a heightened risk aversion in general, caused a
massive move of financial assets worldwide into United States Treasury bills, driving their


The rebound of the
dollar was driven by


a flight to safety




17Global outlook


yields to almost zero and pushing the dollar sharply higher.3 At the same time, however, the
situation is pushing the external indebtedness of the United States to new heights, possibly
precipitating a renewed slide of the dollar once the process of deleveraging has ended.


Consequently, the disorderly adjustment of the global imbalances and a hard
landing of the dollar remain major downside risks to the global economy, as an accelerated
fall of the dollar could cause renewed turmoil in financial markets. Investors might renew
their flight to safety, though this time away from dollar-denominated assets, thereby forc-
ing the United States economy into a hard landing and pulling the global economy into a
deeper recession.


Weakening world trade and commodity prices


Prices of oil and non-oil primary commodities have also shown strong fluctuations during
2008, largely driven by financial factors, as well as shifts in the balance between supply
and demand. The prices of most commodities rose sharply in the first half of 2008, con-
tinuing a multi-year upward trend that began in 2003. Food prices, especially the price of
rice, surged the most in early 2008, leading to a food crisis in some 40 developing coun-
tries. Oil prices also soared by about 50 per cent in the first half of the year. While some
commodity-specific factors on either the supply or demand side could explain part of the
surge in these prices, a common factor had been the relocation of funds by investors from
other financial assets towards commodity markets, along with the declining value of other
financial assets.


These trends reversed sharply in mid-2008, however (see chapter II for details).
Oil prices plummeted by more than 60 per cent from their peak levels of July to November.
The prices of other commodities, including basic grains, have also declined significantly. In
the outlook, most of these prices are expected to even out further along with the modera-
tion in the global demand, but a cut in the supply of oil, as already indicated by the Orga-
nization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), may keep oil prices from falling.


Growth of world trade decelerated to 4.4 per cent in early 2008, down from
6.3 per cent in 2007, mainly owing to a decline in imports of the United States. United
States imports, which account for about 15 per cent of the world total, have registered a
decline in each quarter since the fourth quarter of 2007 and dropped as steeply as 7 per
cent in the second quarter of 2008. Growth in the volume of world trade dropped to about
2 per cent by September 2008 to about one third of the rate of growth in the previous year
(figure I.9). In the outlook, import demand in most economies is expected to diminish
further, leading to a further weakening of growth in global trade in 2009 (see chapter II
for more details).


3 The strengthening of the Japanese yen vis-à-vis the dollar, as well as other major currencies
during the second half of 2008, can be explained mainly by two factors: the exposure of Japanese
financial institutions was very limited, and the “carry trade” in foreign-exchange markets reversed.
Over the past few years, traders in foreign-exchange markets had borrowed yen at very low
interest rates to invest in government bonds denominated in other currencies paying much higher
interest rates. Since mid-2008, however, as interest rates in other countries were also decreasing,
the traders reduced “carry-trade” positions and repaid the loans in yen they had borrowed earlier,
thus pushing up the exchange rate of the yen. Moreover, as the yen appreciated, the margin of
returns on the “carry trade” were squeezed, forcing more traders to liquidate their positions and
further pushing up the yen in an unstable spiral.


Commodity prices have
starkly declined from
mid-2008




18 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


A synchronized global downturn
Developed economies are leading the global downturn, the majority of them already ex-
periencing a recession in the second half of 2008. Meanwhile, through international trade
and finance channels, the weakness has spread rapidly to developing countries and the
economies in transition, causing a synchronized global downturn in the outlook for 2009.
Such a globally synchronized slowdown may be the first of its kind in the post-war era.


The employment situation is expected to deteriorate in most regions during
2009 and much of the employment gains could be lost because of the global economic
slowdown. Employment began to change course in many economies in the second half of
2008, with unemployment rising rapidly in some (the United States, for instance) as lower
consumption, production and trade started to have an adverse impact on the demand for
labour. The employment situation worldwide is expected to deteriorate more significantly
in 2009.


Global inflation is expected to decelerate significantly in the outlook for 2009,
with the risk for deflation increasing in some economies. Surging commodity prices, par-
ticularly those for oil and food, boosted global inflation in 2008, leaving consumer price
inflation at its highest level in a decade. Inflation was markedly higher in developing
economies and economies in transition than in the developed economies. In the second
half of 2008, however, inflationary pressures dissipated rapidly following the steep fall in
world commodity prices (despite the lag in the pass-through effect from international to
domestic prices) and weakening demand worldwide. The projected economic downturn is
expected to weaken inflationary pressures further in 2009, and the concern of policymak-
ers should focus on staving off sharp downfalls in economic growth (figure I.10).


The crisis is likely to undo
employment gains of


recent years


Inflationary pressures
are giving way to fears of


deflation worldwide


Figure I.9
Growth of world trade volume, January 2005-September 2008


Annual percentage change


Ja
n-


05


M
ar


-0
5


M
ay


-0
5


Ju
l-0


5


Se
p-


05


N
ov


-0
5


Ja
n-


06


M
ar


-0
6


M
ay


-0
6


Ju
l-0


6


Se
p-


06


N
ov


-0
6


Ja
n-


07


M
ar


-0
7


M
ay


-0
7


Ju
l-0


7


Se
p-


07


Ja
n-


08


M
ar


-0
8


M
ay


-0
8


Ju
l-0


8


Se
p-


08


N
ov


-0
7


0


2


4


6


8


10


12


Source: UN/DESA, based
on data from the CPB


Netherlands Bureau for
Economic Policy Analysis


online database, available
from http://www.cpb.nl/


eng/research/sector2/data/
trademonitor.html (accessed


on 21 November 2008).




19Global outlook


A. Selected developed countries


United Kingdom


Spain
Ireland


Germany


France


United States


Japan


United Kingdom


Spain


Ireland
Germany


France


United States
Japan


1


1.5


2


2.5


3


3.5


4


4.5


-3 -2.5 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2


GDP growth (percentage)


In
fla


tio
n


(p
er


ce
nt


ag
e)


B. Selected developing countries


South Africa Saudi Arabia


Mexico


India






China


Argentina


South Africa


Saudi Arabia


Mexico


India


China


Argentina




0


2


4


6


8


10


12


14


0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


GDP growth (percentage)


In
fla


tio
n


(p
er


ce
nt


ag
e)


2008


2009


Source: UN/DESA.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecast.


Figure I.10
Inflation versus growth in selected developed and developing countries, 2008a and 2009b




20 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Developed economies


Among developed economies, the economy of the United States is expected to decline by
1 per cent in the baseline scenario for 2009. The most severe credit crunch since the Great
Depression has turned a housing sector-led slowdown into a full-scale retrenchment of
households and businesses, affecting the economy at large. Even though effective imple-
mentation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), together with other
measures, may eventually stabilize financial markets, it came too late to prevent a reces-
sion in the real economy. The unemployment rate is expected to rise above 7 per cent as
job losses in almost all sectors of the economy increase sharply. Inflation, by contrast, is
expected to abate notably. Should all the policy measures fail to unclog the credit markets
soon, the United States most probably will suffer a much deeper and longer recession.


Japan’s economy is in a recession and is expected, at best, to stagnate in 2009.
While the direct losses from the global financial crisis have been contained so far, the indi-
rect effects are becoming increasingly significant, including those brought on by weaken-
ing external demand as well as the appreciation of the yen.


Since September 2008, the global credit crunch has transformed a sharp slow-
down in Western Europe into a full-fledged recession, and the major European economies
have technically entered into recession. Having lost all growth momentum, GDP is ex-
pected to contract further in the first half of 2009, with little likelihood of recovery in the
second half, leaving a negative growth rate for the year as a whole. After a long period of
improving labour market conditions, unemployment rates began to drift upwards from
mid-2008 and are expected to move up further by nearly a full percentage point on aver-
age for the region as a whole in 2009. With activity slowing, and commodity prices falling
well below their peaks of mid-2008, inflation is expected to decelerate significantly from
the highs experienced during 2008. Risks continue to be slanted towards the downside,
particularly as regards the effectiveness of current and anticipated policies in stabilizing
financial markets.


Following several years of buoyant economic expansion throughout the entire
region, the new EU member States exhibited divergent growth patterns in 2008. Domestic
demand is weakening in response to higher credit costs and accelerated inflation, and ex-
port growth is also likely to decline. Growth is expected to weaken and inflation to moder-
ate in 2009. While the new EU members are not directly exposed to the sub-prime loans
of the United States, the region’s banking system is subject to the shocks generated by the
troubles among financial institutions in the EU-15. The high stock of short-term private
debt in foreign currencies has already created a serious liquidity squeeze in Hungary. The
risks for the region include a protracted slowdown in the EU-15, as well as a sharp reversal
of capital flows.


In other developed economies, growth in both Australia and New Zealand are
slowing as consumer demand has weakened owing to tighter credit conditions, higher
inflation and falling asset prices. The Canadian economy will suffer from the economic
slowdown in the United States, especially in sectors such as the automotive industry.


Economies in transition


Among the economies in transition, growth of the members of the Commonwealth of In-
dependent States (CIS) is heading for a marked slowdown in 2009, largely dragged by the
impact of the global recession and falling commodity prices on the largest economies, such


The United States economy
is expected to


decline in 2009


Japan is in recession
and its economy will


stagnate in 2009


Major European countries
are in recession


Economies in transition will
suffer a marked slow down




21Global outlook


as Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. A slowdown in business investment,
and, to a lesser degree, in household consumption will be felt throughout the region. The
smaller CIS economies will likely be affected by declining worker remittances and FDI
inflows. The adverse effects of a domestic credit squeeze and increased costs of external
financing will be significant on the real economy of the region, despite some recently ad-
opted offsetting policy measures. The unemployment rate will increase in some countries,
while inflation is set to moderate, although it could remain at elevated levels. Among the
downside risks, a worse-than-expected growth in the Russian Federation would have re-
cessionary effects on other members.


In South-eastern Europe, growth in 2008 continued to be largely driven by do-
mestic demand, underpinned by rising real wages and the lasting credit boom, as well as
by strong FDI inflows. With the global financial crisis, these growth factors have started
to lose momentum. In view of the weak demand in their main export markets, it is also
unlikely that the region would be able to switch to a more export-oriented pattern of eco-
nomic growth in the short run. Therefore, a further moderation of economic growth is
expected in 2009.


Developing countries


Developing countries will be hurt by the crisis through international trade and finance
channels. The drop in commodity prices will hurt primary exporters in particular, but
lower demand in the developed countries will affect export growth throughout the devel-
oping world. Some emerging market economies, such as Brazil, are already facing severe
curtailments in access to trade credit, while the threat of a sudden reversal in private capi-
tal flows has heightened. The vast amounts of foreign reserves accumulated by developing
countries still provide a buffer and allow some space for counter-cyclical measures, but
these reserves could well dwindle rapidly as the global crisis deepens further. A growing
number of developing countries have already witnessed a significant deceleration in eco-
nomic growth. This, no doubt, is diminishing the prospects of achieving the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs).


Growth in Africa is expected to decelerate to 4.1 per cent in 2009 from 5.1 per
cent in 2008, as the contagion effects of the global economic slowdown spread through-
out the region, while inflationary pressures continue to dampen consumer demand. Africa
would be impacted through weakened export demand, lower commodity prices and a de-
cline in investment flows to the region. Consequently, employment growth in Africa is an-
ticipated to weaken, pushing unemployment rates higher and forcing more workers into the
already large informal economy. Inflation is expected to subside from 2008 levels. Risks for
greater growth retardation exist if donor countries do not live up to their aid commitments,
threatening not only the achievement of the MDGs, but also undermining past progress.


Growth in East Asia is expected to decline notably in 2009, as exports will de-
celerate significantly. Some economies in the region will also experience sizeable financial
losses as a result of their relatively high exposure to global financial markets. An outflow
of capital from this region will further intensify the difficulties experienced by the local
financial institutions. Inflation in the region is expected to moderate, and the employment
situation will start to deteriorate. Further monetary easing is expected in the region, and
most countries have enough policy space to adopt more expansionary fiscal policy neces-
sary for stimulating domestic demand. Some countries, such as China and the Republic of
Korea, have already taken action in that direction.


The crisis will hit growth
prospects of developing
countries hard


Growth in Africa will suffer
from lower commodity
prices and weakening
export demand


Growth in East Asia is
affected by the weakening
of global demand and the
global credit crunch




22 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


South Asia is experiencing an overall slowdown in economic growth from the
industrial sector to the service sector as a result of the negative impact of higher costs and
the global financial turmoil. Inflation is forecast to moderate in view of the retreat in en-
ergy and food prices, resulting in lower pressure on government budgets related to price
subsidies. During 2008, external balances suffered from higher import prices for fuel oil,
food and other commodities, although continued solid remittances exerted a certain sta-
bilizing effect in this regard. The financial sector in the region has had only very limited
direct exposure to the global financial crisis, but the tightening in liquidity emerged as a
major indirect impact. In parallel to this, waning investor confidence has led to capital
outflows and shrinking foreign-exchange reserves. A number of downside risks include
a more prolonged slowdown in global growth, unsustainable fiscal balances and current
accounts, natural disasters and political instability. Pakistan is a case in point where all of
these factors have already come to a head.


Growth in Western Asia is anticipated to slow down significantly in 2009, to
the lowest rate in seven years. The region will register a sharp decline in export revenues
as average annual oil prices are expected to drop. Lower oil revenues and deteriorating
credit conditions in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are likely to
trigger a delay of large investment projects throughout the region. Facing large current-
account deficits, the economies of Jordan, Lebanon and, in particular, Turkey appear to
be the most vulnerable to a drop in FDI inflows and tighter financing conditions. By
contrast, strong fiscal and external positions will allow authorities in GCC countries to
maintain an expansionary fiscal policy stance in order to weather the economic downturn.
While labour markets have already started to deteriorate in a number of countries, most
pronouncedly in Turkey, the high inflation rates throughout the region are expected to
decline moderately.


Economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to slow
markedly in 2009. The key drag is the fall in commodity prices. In addition, domestic
credit is expected to tighten in many economies. Inflationary pressures, which surged dur-
ing 2008 owing to the increasing costs of energy, transportation and food, should deceler-
ate in 2009, but Governments of the region may not be able to ease monetary policy in the
face of currency depreciation. Stimulus will have to come through counter-cyclical fiscal
policies, for which most countries have some room to manoeuvre given improvements in
external and fiscal positions in preceding years. However, the region remains very vulner-
able to an intensification of the global credit crunch, particularly a sharper reversal of
capital inflows and a further decline of external demand.


Macroeconomic policies to
stimulate the global economy


In general, policymakers worldwide have underestimated the depth and breadth of this
financial crisis. As a result, policy actions by and large fell behind the curve, and early on
policy stances were grossly inadequate for handling the scale and the nature of the crisis.
In Europe and the United States, policies initially focused almost exclusively on providing
additional liquidity to financial markets and were myopic to the greater underlying risk of
insolvency of large financial institutions. Later, in September 2008, when policy measures
moved towards the bailout and recapitalization of those important financial institutions
seen to pose systemic risks, the economies of most developed countries had already


Capital outflows and
waning investor confidence


dim growth prospects in
South Asia


Lower oil prices and the
global slowdown affect


growth prospects in
Western Asia


Latin American and
Caribbean economies will


slow markedly in 2009


Policy responses have fallen
well behind the curve




23Global outlook


entered into recession. Policymakers in emerging economies were in turn complacent
about the resilience of their economies, believing they would be sufficiently insulated from
the financial sector woes of the United States and Europe. Until the fourth quarter of
2008, containing inflation was their main concern in setting macroeconomic policy, and
they were caught by surprise when the crisis rapidly spread to hit their economies also in
October 2008.


In the first half of 2008, monetary policy in the United States was aggressively
expansive in attempts to stave off a recession, while central banks in Europe maintained
a tightening stance over inflationary concerns. Only after the risk of a systemic failure
in global financial markets became manifest, did six major central banks—the Fed, the
ECB, the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada, the Swiss National Bank and the Sveriges
Riksbank—decide to move in a more coordinated fashion and agree to cut their respec-
tive official target rates simultaneously by 50 basis points (bps). At the same time, the Fed
and other major central banks also scaled up their unorthodox measures to inject liquidity
more directly into financial markets, particularly credit markets. Since then, more central
banks have followed suit, some of them reducing interest rates drastically (figure I.11).
Further monetary easing is expected in the world economy in the outlook for 2009.


During October 2008, some retreat in the spread between the interbank lend-
ing rate and the return on Treasury bills was observed in the United States. Yet, tighter-
than-normal credit conditions continued to strain markets into the fourth quarter. The
macroeconomic situation now resembles the liquidity trap in which Japan found itself
during the 1990s and into the 2000s, rendering monetary policy ineffective as nominal
interest rates near zero. With consumer and business confidence seriously depressed and
banks reluctant to lend, further lowering of interest rates by central banks would do little
to stimulate credit supplies to the non-financial sector or encourage private spending.


Monetary policies became
aggressively expansive …


… but a liquidity trap
is now looming


Figure I.11
Policy interest rates of major economies, January 2004-November 2008


Percentage


Ja
n-


04


Ap
r-0


4


Ju
l-0


4


O
ct


-0
4


Ja
n-


05


Ap
r-0


5


Ju
l-0


5


O
ct


-0
5


Ja
n-


06


Ap
r-0


6


Ju
l-0


6


O
ct


-0
6


Ja
n-


07


Ap
r-0


7


Ju
l-0


7


O
ct


-0
7


Ja
n-


08


Ap
r-0


8


Ju
l-0


8


O
ct


-0
8


0


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


Source: National central bank
websites.


China: One-year
loan rate


Japan: Discount rate


United States: Federal
funds rate (target)


Euro zone: Marginal
lending facility rate




24 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Rather, it would end up expanding base money within the banking system. With limited
space for monetary stimulus, fiscal policy options will need to be examined as ways to
reactivate the global economy.


Many developed economies have a certain built-in counter-cyclical budgetary
stance by virtue of so-called “automatic stabilizers”. For instance, during a recession, tax
revenue tends to fall while unemployment benefits and welfare transfers increase, leading
to a more expansionary fiscal stance. These automatic stabilizers may well be too weak to
counteract the recessionary effects of the large-scale financial crisis that is currently raging.
Additional discretionary fiscal measures will be needed. The United States adopted a fiscal
stimulus package in early 2008, totalling some $168 billion, or about 1.1 per cent of an-
nual GDP, mainly in the form of a tax rebate for households. While some analysts believed
the package had worked well to keep the economy buoyant for at least one quarter, oth-
ers doubted its effects would be more permanent. It is now clear that the size of the fiscal
package was too small in comparison with the seriousness of the situation, and it failed
to sustain its effects. A second fiscal stimulus package is under discussion in the United
States, as well as in some European economies.


Governments are hesitant to move quickly on such stimulus packages, fear-
ing possible negative repercussions in the medium run from a further widening of fiscal
deficits, which are already ballooning as a result of the emergency fiscal measures to re-
capitalize the financial institutions and the workings of automatic stabilizers. These are not
normal times, however. The severity of the financial crisis calls for policy actions that are
commensurate with the scale of the problem and should thus go well beyond any normal
range of budgetary considerations.


A large number of developing countries and the economies in transition have
not been easing monetary policy so far over concerns of inflationary pressures and cur-
rency depreciation. Most Latin American economies and many economies in transition,
as well as several Asian developing countries, have either further increased policy interest
rates or kept them constant in late 2008. Inflation has remained high in these countries in
part because of the lags in the pass-through effect of the rise in energy and food prices dur-
ing the first half of 2008. Inflation also remained a concern during the third and fourth
quarters of 2008 following the strong depreciation of the countries’ currencies on the heels
of a strengthening dollar, as discussed above. Inflationary pressures should taper off during
2009, however, as world food and energy prices are retreating and global demand is weak-
ening. This should provide some space for monetary easing, as well as for fiscal stimulus, at
least in those countries still possessing ample foreign-exchange reserves. Most developing
countries and the economies in transition have weak automatic stabilizers; hence, much of
the stimulus would depend on discretionary fiscal measures.


The scope for a counter-cyclical stance will vary greatly across developing
countries. First, many countries have a history of pro-cyclical macroeconomic policy ad-
justment, partly driven by policy rules (such as inflation targeting). Providing greater
monetary and fiscal stimuli will thus require a departure from existing policy practice
and policy rules in such cases. Second, not all countries possess equally sufficient foreign-
exchange reserves, and some are likely to suffer stronger balance-of-payments shocks.
Some countries still have ample policy space for acting more aggressively to stave off crisis.
China has already begun to use its policy space and has designed a large-scale plan of fiscal
stimulus which could potentially contribute to reinvigorating global demand. The fiscal
stimulus package of $586 billion (or 15 per cent of China’s GDP), to be implemented dur-
ing 2009 and 2010, is aimed at strengthening domestic demand through investment in


Fiscal stabilizers in
developed countries are


too weak


Strong additional fiscal
stimulus is needed


Counter-cyclical fiscal
policy is also needed in


developing countries




25Global outlook


public infrastructure and social transfers, and would rebalance an economy that is facing
a likely increase in excess capacity of manufacturing export production in the wake of a
declining external demand.4 The Republic of Korea has also announced a fiscal stimulus
package equivalent to 1 per cent of its GDP.


For many middle- and low-income countries, the scope for conducting such
policies will be even more limited as they may see their foreign-exchange reserves evaporate
quickly, to the extent that they are hurt by either sharp capital reversals or strong reductions
in the demand for their exports, or both. In order to enhance their scope for counter-cyclical
responses in the short run, further enhancement of compensatory financing and additional
and reliable foreign aid flows will be needed to cope with the drops in export earnings and
reduced access to private capital flows as a result of the global financial crisis.


Over the longer run, however, a broadening of the development policy frame-
work is needed to conduct active investment and technology policies so as to diversify
these countries’ economies and reduce their dependence on a few commodity exports and
thereby help them to meet key development goals, including reaching greater food security,
addressing climate change and meeting the MDGs. This will require massive resources for
public investments in infrastructure, food production, education and health, and renewable
energy sources. Box I.3 exemplifies this challenge as it relates to the investment require-
ments for dealing with the global food crisis. In the case of energy and climate change, it
should be expected that with the global downturn, demand for oil (and energy in general)
will fall in the short run, likely leading to a drop in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (see
appendix table A.22). Since this would simply be the result of a cyclical downturn, however,
it should not provide a deterrent to making the necessary long-term investments to reduce
the energy intensity of production worldwide and shift radically away from the use of fossil
fuels towards sustainable energy sources. The crisis presents a unique opportunity to align
fiscal stimulus packages with long-term goals in favour of sustainable development.


Furthermore, to ensure sufficient stimulus at the global level, it will be desir-
able to coordinate the fiscal stimulus packages internationally. In a strongly integrated
world economy, fiscal stimulus in one country tends to be less effective because of high
import leakage effects. By coordinating fiscal stimulus internationally, the positive multi-
plier effects can be amplified through international economic linkages, thereby providing
greater stimuli to both the global economy and the economies of individual countries.5
As in the case of coordinated monetary easing, internationally coordinated fiscal stimuli
can also limit unnecessary fluctuation in cross-country interest-rate differentials and in
exchange rates among major currencies. Compared with coordinated interest-rate policies,
fiscal policy coordination tends to be more difficult to achieve, both technically and politi-
cally, and hence may be difficult to settle through ad hoc agreements, requiring instead a
more institutionalized platform (see below). As a consequence, the baseline forecast does
not foresee the emergence of fully coordinated fiscal stimuli any time soon. Should this
come about more quickly, however, as in the more optimistic scenario (see box I.1), the


4 Policy directions of that nature were also suggested for China in World Economic Situation and
Prospects 2007 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.07.II.C.2) and World Economic Situation
and Prospects 2008 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.08.II.C.2). For a more detailed
discussion of fiscal stimulus in China to redress the global imbalances, see Pingfan Hong, Rob
Vos and Keping Yao, “How China could contribute to a benign global rebalancing”, China and the
World Economy, vol. 16, No. 5, September-October 2008, pp. 35-50.


5 For an example of the output effects of coordinated fiscal policies, see National Institute Economic
Review, vol. 206, No. 1, October 2008, which suggests that coordinated policies could increase the
multiplier effects of fiscal stimulus by at least 30 per cent.


Fiscal stimulus in response
to the crisis should be
aligned with long-term
development goals


Internationally coordinated
fiscal stimulus will be more
effective




26 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Don’t forget the food crisis


In spite of falling international commodity prices, the food crisis still exists and high price levels will
remain, at least in the short term. In addition, the global financial crisis threatens to worsen the situa-
tion. The present food crisis, which started in early 2008, was triggered by rapidly rising international
prices of grains, propelled by a series of short-term factors forming a “perfect storm”; more impor-
tantly, however, many underlying longer-term factors had been brewing in the market for some time,
making the crisis inevitable (see chapter II).


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), there
are currently still 36 countries in critical situations owing to exceptional supply shortfalls, general
lack of access or severe localized food insecurity of displaced populations requiring immediate food
assistance.a Most of these countries have not seen their situation improve, and in some cases the
situation has worsened because of persistent high prices, as food prices have been sticky on the
downside and the dollar appreciation has offset some of the price effects of falling commodity pric-
es. Adverse weather conditions, political strife and worsening economic conditions in the face of
a global economic slowdown are also prevalent. Between 109 million and 126 million people may
have fallen below the $1 per day poverty line since 2006 owing to the increase in food prices, with
the vulnerable populations located in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.b All else being equal, the
incidence of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa may have risen by almost 8 percentage points,
implying that the recent food price increases have more than offset the poverty reduction achieved
between 1990 and 2004.


On the macroeconomic side, about 50 low- and middle-income countries are experi-
encing a weakening of their balance of payments and are expected to remain vulnerable through
2009.


Inflationary pressures, which had been present prior to the food price surge because of
higher oil and non-food commodity prices, as well as rising domestic demand in the oil-exporting
economies, were exacerbated by the rising food prices. The surge in world market prices for grains
had immediate pass-through effects on domestic food prices. Given the large weight of food in the
consumer price index (CPI) in most developing economies, this sent headline inflation soaring. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has noted that annual food price inflation for 120 low-income and
emerging market economies had risen by 12 per cent at the end of March 2008, up from 10 per cent
three months earlier.c


Net food importers were the most affected by the rising prices, causing deterioration
in their terms-of-trade and current-account balances. Africa saw its net food imports increase to 1.6
per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South
Africa) imported 1.9 per cent of GDP worth of net food imports. Latin America and the Caribbean
as a whole had net food exports owing to South American exporters, but food imports of Central
America and Mexico accounted for 0.6 per cent of GDP, while the Caribbean imported 3.7 per cent of
its GDP in food. Relatively, Western Asia’s net food imports were the highest in the Asian region.


Prices of grains started to decrease starkly from mid-year 2008. The emerging financial
crisis has been one factor in this regard, as speculators started to retreat from commodity markets
to salvage asset positions in the financial system. The related dollar appreciation (see main text) and
the falling price of oil have compounded the drop in international grain prices. Shifts in the supply
and demand for grains have also pushed prices downwards. These could continue to decline now
that the production of cereals has recovered, caused in part by better weather conditions and also
since the global demand for grains is weakening with the worldwide economic slowdown. The sharp
decrease in the price of oil may weaken incentives to further increase biofuel production, which had
been an important factor in pushing up the demand for grains in recent years. However, the average
price levels of rice, corn and wheat, the three most-consumed grains, will still be substantially higher
in 2008 compared to 2007, but are expected to decline in 2009. The observed high price volatility,
however, may be detrimental to long-term investment in the production of grains and could sustain
conditions of food insecurity for some time to come, unless counteractive measures are taken.


Box I.3


a Food and Agriculture
Organization of the


United Nations, Crop
Prospects and Food


Situation, No. 4, October
2008.


b Based on UN/DESA
estimates.


c International Monetary
Fund, “Food and


Fuel Prices—Recent
Developments,


Macroeconomic Impact,
and Policy Responses”,


report prepared by
the Fiscal Affairs, Policy


Development and
Review and Research


Departments, 30 June
2008.




27Global outlook


recessionary effects of the financial crisis could be contained to a considerable degree dur-
ing 2009 (see table I.1 and figure I.1).


Internationally coordinated policy action among both the deficit and the sur-
plus countries is also critical for achieving a benign adjustment of the global imbalances
and avoiding a disruptive hard landing of the dollar (see above). Now that the financial
crisis has already triggered a disorderly adjustment in a synchronized global downturn, the
need for international policy coordination and cooperation is more pressing than ever.


The need for reform of the
international financial system


Systemic failures


Even in the most optimistic scenario, it will take time before confidence is restored in
financial markets and recovery can take place. As immediate solutions are being worked
out, it remains important to understand the systemic causes of the present crisis, which—
in a nutshell—relate to weaknesses in global economic governance, excessive financial
deregulation, the problem of global (current- and capital-account) imbalances and related
systemic shortcomings in the international reserve system and the lack of an international
lender of last resort. Understanding these deeper causes makes it clear that much more


The massive underinvestment suffered by the agricultural sector over the past two de-
cades must be compensated for. In order to return to the levels of three decades ago, government
spending in agriculture would need to double or triple in most developing countries. The United Na-
tions, through its High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, has proposed a Common
Framework of Action (CFA)d as a comprehensive strategy for tackling the crisis. The CFA estimates
that an additional $25 billion to $40 billion will have to be invested every year, financed through
domestic resource mobilization and official development assistance, for food and nutrition security,
social protection, agricultural development and a better functioning of food markets. According to
CFA estimates, approximately one third of the resources would be needed for immediate food as-
sistance and short-term budgetary and balance-of-payments support, and the rest for investments
in rural infrastructure, education, clean water and agricultural research. The largest sums need to be
invested in South Asia, followed by Latin America, although on a per capita basis, Africa will require
the greatest investment push.


The present commitments by the international community still fall short of bridging
the gap identified in the CFA. In order to regain lost ground in reducing rural poverty, initial support
and reform programmes should be targeted at small producers of food, especially those in sub-
Saharan Africa, since they are the most vulnerable and least-productive group. It has been estimated,
for instance, that if all Asian countries could manage to lift agricultural productivity to the present
yield levels of Thailand, one third of the region’s mostly rural poor—or about 220 million people—
could be lifted out of poverty.e


In view of the present global financial crisis, it is more important than ever to strengthen
the development finance architecture, not only to limit the negative effects of such crises and to en-
able countries to respond effectively, but also to ensure that the internationally agreed development
goals can be met without diverting either external or domestic resources away from ensuring food
security. The key challenge is to secure adequate resources for the necessary long-term investments
in agriculture and rural development through better coordinated support from the international
community which can be sustained over an extended period of time.


Box I.3 (cont’d)


d See http://www.un.org/
issues/food/taskforce/
Documentation/CFA%20
Web.pdf.


e United Nations Economic
and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific,
Economic and Social
Survey of Asia and the
Pacific 2008: Sustaining
Growth and Sharing
Prosperity (United
Nations publication,
Sales No. E.08.II.F.7).




28 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


fundamental change is needed to reform the international financial system in order to
provide better safeguards for preventing a recurrence of the present crisis and to create a
framework for global economic governance in line with twenty-first century realities.


World leaders have acknowledged this need for reform. Proposals for reform-
ing the economic governance architecture should be addressed, through, among other
things, the appropriate organs of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods
institutions. The reform discussion on new rules for governing the global economy needs
to be embedded in the wider United Nations system so as to ensure that a more inclusive
and open exchange of ideas, in line with democratic governance principles, informs the de-
bate and that any reforms adopted are owned by the full membership of the international
community. The same kind of visionary multilateral spirit that informed the discussion in
Bretton Woods in 1944 and San Francisco in 1945 is needed today, one which recognizes
that peace, stability and prosperity are indivisible and that delivering these goals requires
fundamental reforms of the international financial architecture.


Lack of credible mechanisms for international policy coordination


The immediate priority in today’s context is to prevent the global financial crisis from
turning into a 1930s-style Great Depression. As discussed in the previous section, and as
recognized by most parties, this requires internationally concerted policy actions. The first
of these major systemic failures is the lack of an institutionalized and credible mechanism
for such policy coordination. The depression of the 1930s had been aggravated by “beggar-
thy-neighbour” policies, disintegration of the global economy and resurgent protection-
ism. More than a decade later, under the promise “never again”, it led to the design of the
Bretton Woods system, including the creation of the IMF and the World Bank as institu-
tions to safeguard the stability of the global economy and to promote growth, employment
and development. But over time, the ability of the IMF to safeguard the stability of the
global economy has been hampered by, among other things, limited resources and increas-
ingly undermined by the vastly greater (and more volatile) resources of private actors with
global reach. More exclusive and ad hoc country groups, such as the Group of Seven (G7)
and the Group of Eight (G8), have become the platforms where international policy coor-
dination has taken place in practice.


As a consequence, the IMF has, by and large, been sidelined in handling the
present crisis. The apparent irrelevance of the Bretton Woods institutions in today’s crisis
also stems from their skewed voting structures and governance, which are more reflec-
tive of the distribution of economic power in the world that prevailed in 1944 than of
the present day, where developing countries carry much larger weight. Also, developing
countries as a group are net creditors to the rest of the world, and their savings will quite
likely provide, directly or indirectly, a major source of funding to cover the costs of the
multi-trillion-dollar bailouts of financial institutions in the United States and Europe.
Quite apart from this, they clearly have an abiding interest in taking an active part in any
concerted solution. The lack of a credible mechanism with broad representation for inter-
national policy coordination reflects an urgently felt lacuna which is limiting swift and
effective responses to the present crisis.


The need for systemic
reforms is now widely


recognized


“Beggar-thy-neighbour”
policies in the 1930s


aggravated the depression
of the 1930s


The lack of a credible
mechanism for policy


coordination is limiting
adequate responses


to the crisis




29Global outlook


Inadequate financial regulation


Second, this crisis is systemic in nature both because it has affected all financial institutions
and markets simultaneously and because it has spread to the real economy. To a significant
degree, this has been a result of the dismantling of firewalls within and across financial
sectors over the past two decades. This was part of a relentless drive to promote efficient
and innovative financial markets which were expected to better manage risk (“securitiza-
tion”); instead—as it has turned out—the deregulation added to global financial fragility.
Particularly critical has been the pace and reach of new financial instruments which were
encouraged despite the glaring absence of international surveillance and regulations.


It is generally the case that international regulation lags behind domestic regu-
lation because of the inherent difficulties in designing standardized “rules of the game”
across a large number of countries. But the problem has been amplified for four main
reasons:


a) The new approach to the regulation of finance, including under the New Basel
Capital Accord (Basel II) rules, places the burden of regulation on the finan-
cial institutions themselves. This has generalized the problem of moral hazard,
caused by a belief that as long as financial institutions are expanding their
international operations they would be deemed too big to fail by (national)
central banks, and has encouraged the proliferation of irresponsible behaviour
across a range of financial institutions. The hypertrophying of Iceland’s finan-
cial system to ten times the size of its national GDP is an extreme example of
this trend.


b) The more complex the trade in securities and other financial instruments, the
greater the reliance on rating agencies who proved inadequate for the task at
hand, in part because of conflicts of interest over their own sources of earnings,
which are proportional to the trade volume of the instruments they rate. In con-
sequence, risk assessments by rating agencies tend to be highly pro-cyclical as
they react to the materialization of risks rather than to their build-up. The lack
of supervision and regulation of the quality of rating agencies, as much as of
the operations of most non-bank financial institutions and of the transactions
through offshore financial centres, has further encouraged reckless risk-taking.


c) Existing approaches to financial regulation tend to act pro-cyclically, hence
exacerbating a credit crunch during a crisis. This also applies to the interna-
tional standards set by Basel I and Basel II rules and is most clearly the case
for loan-loss provisions based on current rates of loan delinquency. At times
of boom, when asset prices and collateral values are rising, loan delinquency
falls and results in inadequate provisioning and overexpansion of credit. When
the downturn comes, loan delinquency rises rapidly and standard rules on
provisions can lead to a credit crunch. Similar difficulties also apply to capital
charges. Banks typically lose equity when an economy is hit by a massive exit
of capital, hikes in interest rates and declines in the currency. Enforcing capital
charges under such conditions would only serve to deepen the credit crunch
and a recession. This was the case in Asia during the 1997-1998 financial crisis,
as a result of extensive efforts to strengthen regulatory regimes as part of the
IMF packages of financial support.


Deregulation has induced
greater global financial
fragility


Four key areas of
deficiencies in the
international financial
regulatory framework
need to be addressed




30 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


d) The spread of financial networks across the world, and the character of securi-
tization itself, has made practically all financial operations hinge on the “confi-
dence” that each institution in isolation is capable of backing up its operations.
But as insolvencies emerge, such confidence is weakened and may quickly van-
ish, generating a credit freeze that spreads to the business sector, which in turn
makes that sector increasingly vulnerable. The risk models applied by regula-
tory agencies typically disregard such “contagion” effects and, consequently,
may fail to foresee the systemic risks posed by the failure of one or the other
financial institution. The growing interaction among markets implies, in fact,
that correlation of market swings has increased, limiting the room for effective
risk diversification.


The regulatory deficit has made all these problems more severe. The basic impli-
cation for prudential regulation, which has been largely ignored in the past, is simple: since
the basic problem of financial markets lies in strong cyclical swings, the basic objective of
prudential regulation and supervision should be to introduce strong counter-cyclical rules
to complement and fortify counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies.


The dollar as the reserve currency


The third systemic failure is the world’s reliance on one single national currency—the
United States dollar—as the major reserve currency. The Bretton Woods system originally
gave the dollar this central role as part of a system of fixed exchange rates. The new system
was put to a major test in the late 1960s when the United States was running large budget
and current-account deficits, caused to a significant extent by the escalating costs of the
Vietnam War and an increasingly overvalued dollar. The deficits were financed by the
large current-account surpluses leading to high dollar reserve accumulation in Germany
and most of the rest of Europe, and Japan. The ensuing monetary growth led to a rise in
inflation and a rise in commodity prices worldwide, making the holding of low-yielding
dollar assets less attractive and making the “dollar standard” of fixed exchange rates un-
tenable. In 1971, the growing imbalances led to the collapse of the Bretton Woods “dollar
standard” regime and a shift to flexible exchange rates for major currencies, followed by
almost a decade of stagflation and a weakening dollar.


The dollar remained as the de facto world reserve currency and, as indicated,
a similar pattern has been building up over the past decade: the United States has run up
rising budget and external deficits stimulated by far-reaching financial deregulation, and
these deficits were conveniently covered through loose monetary policy and mounting
reserve accumulation in surplus countries, this time not just in Europe and Japan, but
most importantly also in China and other parts of developing Asia as well as in major oil-
exporting countries, many of which have in practice managed exchange-rate regimes with
their currencies pegged to the dollar.6 Strong export-led economic growth, especially in
Asia, has fed renewed commodity price inflation and loose monetary policy in the United
States and has elsewhere cheapened the cost of borrowing, leading to accelerated credit
growth and feeding an asset price bubble worldwide. The risks of this global growth pat-


6 This is officially the case in China and with most of the oil exporters in the Middle East. Many
Asian countries formally moved to a flexible exchange-rate regime after the 1997-1998 financial
crisis. In practice, however, in attempts to avoid a strong appreciation of those currencies that had
collapsed during the crisis as part of export-led growth strategies, most countries have managed
their currencies.


Improved financial
regulation needs to


be complemented
with counter-cyclical


macroeconomic policies


The use of the dollar as the
global reserve currency
is an intrinsic source of


instability




31Global outlook


tern were conveniently ignored. Moving forward, the same problems will persist if not
adequately addressed. Also, as argued above, the risk of a hard landing of the dollar will
remain high even after confidence in financial markets has been restored, as the problem
of the global imbalances will not automatically disappear as a result.


Inadequate liquidity provisioning


The tendency of accumulating vast amounts of foreign currency reserves in developing
countries has its roots in more fundamental deficiencies of the international monetary and
reserve system. Improved prudential capital-account regulation can help reduce the need
for and the cost of self-insurance via reserve accumulation. The need for self-insurance can
be further reduced with more effective mechanisms for liquidity provisioning and reserve
management at the international level, both regionally and multilaterally (see below).


Current mechanisms are limited in coverage, too narrowly defined, or subject
to unduly strict conditionality.7 The establishment in 1997 of the Supplemental Reserve
Facility provided some collective insurance to countries hit by capital-account crises, but
the Facility did not provide enough protection in the case of a typical sudden reversal in
capital flows; when it was first used in the Republic of Korea, it did not prevent an economic
implosion there, possibly because it was accompanied by pro-cyclical policy conditionality.
The Contingent Credit Line (established in 1999) remained unused and expired in 2003,
and little has been done to revitalize the Compensatory Financing Facility (established in
1963), which provided liquidity to developing countries to manage terms-of-trade shocks.


In October, the IMF proposed establishing a Reserve Augmentation Line as
part of the Supplemental Reserve Facility to provide emergency liquidity to members who
have strong macroeconomic policies, a sustainable debt situation and proven credibility in
policy implementation, but who are still faced with shocks through the capital account. To
overcome the potential stigma associated with the Facility, there is a need to enhance the
reliability of access to financial resources and reinforce positive signalling to markets. A
significant number of emerging market members should qualify based on the information
available from past IMF Article IV consultation reports. Allowing automatic front-loaded
drawing of up to 500 per cent of quota for eligible members, based on simple and transpar-
ent guidelines, would send a clear signal to private markets that the line is an insurance
facility. If such a mechanism could emulate the lender-of-last-resort functions of central
banks, it could reduce the demand for high reserve build-up in developing countries. This
in turn could create more policy space in developing countries by offloading pressures
towards exchange-rate appreciation.


More generally, all IMF facilities should be significantly simplified and include
more automatic and quicker disbursements proportionate to the scale of the external shocks,
without onerous policy conditionality attached to them. Recent action has been undertaken
in this direction with the reform of the IMF Exogenous Shocks Facility. But total resources
remain limited and more is needed to provide collective safeguards for large-scale crises.


7 See, for example, Stephany Griffith-Jones and José Antonio Ocampo, “Compensatory financing
for shocks: what changes are needed?”, background paper prepared for the tenth session of the
Committee and Development Policy, March 2008, available from http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/
ipd/pub/CompensatoryFinancing_24apr_sgj_topost.pdf; and World Economic and Social Survey
2008: Overcoming Economic Insecurity (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.08.II.C.1), chapter II.


Existing mechanisms for
liquidity provisioning are
inadequate




32 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The way forward


In today’s world of increased economic and political interdependence, achieving a broad-
based, rapid and sustained growth in incomes and employment involves even more com-
plex policy challenges than in the past. Certainly, the external environment of devel-
oping countries has undergone a number of fundamental changes that are unlikely to
be reversed in the foreseeable future. The multilateral arrangements designed at Bretton
Woods in 1944 did not include a global regime for capital movements, given that capital
mobility was expected to be limited. However, no such regime has emerged even after the
breakdown of these arrangements, and despite the surge in private capital flows. In the
aftermath of the Asian crisis, various codes and standards were established through inter-
national institutions, not just with respect to the financial sector, but also with regard to
auditing and accounting, data collection and so on. While these could have benefits over
the longer term, they will not necessarily contribute to financial stability, and in many
cases they will involve substantial costs.


Another major outstanding challenge for the international financial institu-
tions is to help developing countries mitigate the damaging effects of volatile capital flows
and commodity prices and provide counter-cyclical financing mechanisms to compensate
for the inherently pro-cyclical movement of private capital flows. A number of options are
available to dampen the pro-cyclicality of capital flows through better macroprudential
regulation and the provisioning of counter-cyclical multilateral financing, and thereby
help create a better environment for sustainable growth and poverty reduction.


The failure to create a truly inclusive system of global economic governance—
for adequate counter-cyclical policies in the short term and appropriate regulatory reform
in the medium term—has frustrated a coordinated, comprehensive and inclusive interna-
tional response to the current crisis. These flaws were also recognized during the financial
crises in emerging markets in the 1990s, but relevant proposals for reform did not lead to
much change in actual practice.8 The failure of the international community to draw les-
sons from the financial crises of the 1990s is now proving to be highly costly.


There is no legitimate forum, other than the United Nations itself, in which the
interests of all countries can be articulated, considered and reconsidered to ensure more
inclusive and equitable—and thus credible and effective—global economic governance. A
decade after the collapse of the inter-war international financial system, the 1944 Bretton
Woods Conference, which created the IMF and the World Bank, formed part of the new
post-war system of inclusive multilateralism, led by the United Nations.


This is not the place to provide a blueprint but given the existing systemic
flaws, it seems paramount that deliberations on a new international financial architecture
should address at least four core areas of reform:


a) The establishment of a credible and effective mechanism for international pol-
icy coordination.9 To guide a more inclusive process, adequate participation
and representation of developing countries in the process of policy coordina-


8 For one of many elaborate reform proposals, see, for instance, José de Gregorio, Barry Eichengreen,
Takatoshi Ito and Charles Wyplosz, An Independent and Accountable IMF, Geneva Report on
the World Economy No. 1 (Geneva: International Center for Monetary and Banking Studies, and
London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, September 1999).


9 This could be carried out along the lines suggested in World Economic Situation and Prospects
2007 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.07.II.C.2), pp. 24-34.


An inclusive, multilateral
system of global economic


governance is needed


Systemic reforms need to
focus on four core areas




33Global outlook


tion and in the institutions of global governance is required, implying the need
for a fundamental revision of the governance structure and functions of the
IMF and the World Bank;


b) Fundamental reforms of existing systems of financial regulation and supervi-
sion leading to a new internationally coordinated framework that can avoid
the excesses of the past;


c) Reform of the present international reserve system, away from the almost ex-
clusive reliance on the United States dollar and towards a multilaterally backed
multi-currency system which, perhaps, over time could evolve into a single,
world currency-backed system;


d) Reforms of liquidity provisioning and compensatory financing mechanisms—
backed through, among other things, better multilateral and regional pooling
of national foreign-exchange reserves—which avoid the onerous policy condi-
tionality attached to existing mechanisms.


Such reforms will not easily find consensus among all stakeholders, but the risk
of endangering global peace and prosperity by failing to address the systemic problems
underlying the present crisis are simply too high. This awareness should be the common
ground for seeking common solutions.






35


Chapter II
International trade


Trade flows


Merchandise trade: growth
deceleration and potential revenue falls


World trade has started to decelerate sharply, weakening its role as a major engine of global
economic growth in recent years. Growth in the volume of trade is estimated to have
slowed to 4.4 per cent in 2008, nearly half of the average annual growth of 8.6 per cent
during the period 2004-2007. This trend is expected to continue in 2009, with the volume
of world exports anticipated to slow further to about 2 per cent on the heels of the global
economic recession. In a more pessimistic scenario of a deeper and prolonged financial cri-
sis, however, the recession will be more profound, causing world trade activity actually to
decline by 3 per cent (see the pessimistic scenario outlined in chapter I), something which
has not happened since the Second World War. During 2008, the signs of significantly
weakening world trade were already visible in the Baltic Dry Index, a leading indicator of
global trade activity measuring the demand for shipping capacity to transport commodi-
ties versus the supply of dry bulk carriers. In the six months between May and November
2008, the Index experienced an unprecedented continuous decline of 85 per cent. Because
dry bulk primarily consists of materials that function as raw-material inputs into the pro-
duction of intermediate or finished goods, such as concrete, electricity, steel and food, the
Index can also be seen as an efficient indicator of future economic growth and production
and is hence not signalling a promising outlook.


Meanwhile, the value of trade flows has increased significantly over 2008, but
unlike a similar rise in 2004 which took place because of robust volume growth, this in-
crease is largely due to extraordinary rises in the prices of oil and most commodities during
the first half of the year. As noted in figure II.1, the declining trend of volume and the
dramatic gyration of the prices of most commodities in the second half of 2008 will lead
to a fall in the value of global trade in the baseline estimate for 2009.


The costs of falling trade and commodity prices tend to be distributed un-
evenly across countries. In 2008, the clear winners were those who benefited from the
sharp rise in oil and commodity prices. At an aggregate level, oil producers in North Af-
rica, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Western Asia doubled their rate
of nominal export revenue growth in 2008, to 53 per cent, 48 per cent and 38 per cent,
respectively. In addition, countries in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Nigeria and South
Africa) and the least developed countries (LDCs) as a group achieved remarkable rates of
growth of export revenue following the primary commodity boom, averaging about 42 per
cent in 2008. Latin America, which has a somewhat more diversified trade structure, saw
the doubling of its rate of export revenue growth being offset by a more rapidly increasing
import bill. Manufactured goods’ exporters in East and South Asia were affected by the
rise in commodity prices. In 2008, their import bills increased at almost twice the pace of
2007. In Europe, although import growth was less dramatic, it outpaced export growth
(see tables II.1 and II.2).


World trade volume is
growing at only half the
pace of recent years


The value of trade has
increased mainly on
account of dramatic price
increases




36 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Figure II.1
Growth of global trade, 2002-2009


-5


0


5


10


15


20


2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Pe
rc


en
ta


ge


0


2


4


6


8


10


12


14


16


18


Tr
ill


io
ns


o
f d


ol
la


rs


Source: UN/DESA and
Project LINK.


a Partly estimated.
b Projections, based


on Project LINK.


Value of world exports
(right axis)


Growth of trade value
(left axis)


Growth of trade volume
(left axis)


Fortunes reversed following the dramatic fall in the prices of oil and primary
commodities in the second half of 2008, a trend which is likely to continue in 2009 as
the global economy enters into recession. Countries in North Africa, the CIS and West-
ern Asia that had gained from high commodity prices are expected to experience falling
export revenues at rates ranging from between 4 and 19 per cent in 2009. Most alarming
are the losses in export earnings in sub-Saharan African countries and among the LDCs,
which are expected to fall by about 22 per cent on average on account of declining com-
modity prices. At the same time, these economies will see modest increases in their import
bills in 2009, to the extent that their trade deficits are expected to widen.


The turnaround in the prospects for world trade will have an impact on the
global imbalances. As emphasized in previous issues of the World Economic Situation and
Prospects, the United States of America has, for the past decade, played a critical role as
the world consumer of last resort. With the recession and the drop in consumer confi-
dence in the United States, this is now changing and the trade deficit of the world’s major
economy has narrowed, mainly because of weakening domestic demand. As the United
States accounts for about 12 per cent of other developed country exports on average, trade
surpluses in Europe and Japan will be trimmed, and export growth in China and other
developing countries will also be directly and indirectly affected by the recession in the
United States. Income growth in the United States started to slow in 2007 (showing a
negative growth rate in the fourth quarter) which, together with the cumulative dollar
depreciation over recent years, resulted in shrinking import demand. Except for a small
positive rate of growth in imports in the second quarter of 2007, weakening demand in
the United States has been a main cause in the deceleration of global trade in 2007-2008.
Consequently, export volume growth in developed Asia and Oceania fell from 7.6 per
cent in 2006 to an average of 2.7 per cent during 2007-2008. Similarly, in Europe, export


Collapsing commodity
prices have led to severe


trade shocks in many
parts of the world


The global imbalances have
narrowed as a result of the
recession in the developed


countries




37International trade


Table II.1
Value growth of exports and imports, 2002-2009


Annual percentage change


Flow 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


World Exports 4.8 16.4 21.5 13.8 14.9 15.6 18.9 -4.4


Developed economies
Exports 3.6 15.1 18.5 8.3 11.9 14.4 13.9 -7.3


Imports 3.0 16.0 19.3 11.8 13.2 13.6 14.7 -10.4


North America
Exports -4.2 5.0 15.1 10.8 11.3 9.7 12.8 2.0
Imports 1.5 7.9 16.4 13.9 10.5 5.9 11.4 -7.1


Asia and Oceania
Exports 3.1 13.1 20.2 7.0 9.3 11.2 15.4 4.3
Imports -0.3 15.6 19.8 15.9 11.2 11.0 24.7 -1.6


Europe
Exports 6.7 19.0 19.3 7.7 12.5 16.3 13.9 -11.7
Imports 4.3 20.4 20.6 10.2 14.8 17.5 14.7 -12.9


Economies in transition


South-eastern Europe
Exports 6.5 20.6 30.8 24.4 17.5 27.4 26.1 0.8
Imports 20.2 19.1 21.9 17.4 15.2 30.7 24.5 3.5


Commonwealth of
Independent States


Exports 6.3 26.8 36.7 36.9 28.1 25.0 47.9 -4.2
Imports 10.3 27.1 30.0 28.0 32.4 40.4 38.2 13.4


Developing countries
Exports 7.2 18.2 26.1 21.9 18.4 16.3 23.2 -0.5
Imports 5.0 16.4 27.9 17.4 16.9 17.5 25.3 5.7


Africa
Exports 3.4 23.4 29.3 37.1 18.6 20.1 38.3 -7.1
Imports 3.4 20.3 26.3 22.5 19.5 25.5 29.1 6.6


North Africa
Exports 0.1 29.6 23.5 37.2 33.1 19.4 52.7 -5.4
Imports 11.4 6.8 22.4 24.6 20.8 33.7 50.8 15.2


Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding
Nigeria and South Africa)


Exports 15.1 14.9 28.0 36.8 20.7 21.2 42.1 -22.5
Imports 4.6 19.6 26.7 19.3 12.0 18.7 18.2 2.8


East and South Asia
Exports 9.9 19.4 25.6 18.1 18.3 16.4 18.2 6.0
Imports 8.7 19.5 28.1 16.9 16.5 14.4 24.8 8.1


East Asia
Exports 9.7 19.4 25.5 17.2 18.3 16.3 18.0 6.5
Imports 8.8 19.2 27.4 15.5 15.8 14.8 24.1 7.5


South Asia
Exports 12.2 18.9 26.3 29.2 17.9 17.6 20.2 0.0
Imports 7.5 22.6 35.3 30.6 22.3 10.8 31.0 13.6


Western Asia
Exports 5.0 22.5 31.0 33.1 19.1 17.3 37.7 -18.7
Imports 7.2 17.4 36.5 15.2 14.7 28.1 23.2 -0.1


Latin America and the Caribbean
Exports 1.0 8.5 23.0 20.8 18.2 12.5 21.3 -2.5
Imports -7.0 3.4 22.0 18.7 19.4 19.0 26.8 0.2


Memorandum item:
Least developed countries


Exports 9.5 16.0 35.8 35.6 23.2 25.6 42.8 -22.6
Imports 3.5 18.8 25.5 14.7 14.9 18.2 22.3 6.4


Source: UN/DESA and Project LINK.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.


volume growth slowed from 8.2 per cent in 2006 to 3.8 per cent per year on average in
2007-2008. This, in turn, suggests that the typically robust intraregional European trade
is also experiencing negative feedbacks from export revenue to income, and from there to
imports from other countries in the region. In the outlook, export growth of developed
Asia and Oceania is likely to be negative and that of Europe to be flat, at best.




38 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table II.2
Volume change of exports and imports, 2002-2009


Annual percentage change


Flow 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


World Exports 4.4 5.6 11.2 8.0 8.8 6.3 4.4 2.1


Developed economies
Exports 2.2 2.5 8.9 5.6 7.5 4.5 3.1 0.0
Imports 2.5 4.6 9.5 6.5 7.0 3.9 1.1 -1.1


North America
Exports -2.4 0.5 9.0 6.3 5.5 4.8 4.6 1.3
Imports 3.2 4.7 10.8 6.8 5.0 1.4 -4.1 -4.1


Asia and Oceania
Exports 6.6 8.1 12.1 5.5 7.6 6.8 -1.4 -4.0
Imports 3.1 7.1 8.2 5.7 5.5 3.7 5.8 -5.5


Europe
Exports 3.1 2.1 8.2 5.4 8.2 3.9 3.6 0.4
Imports 2.0 4.1 9.0 6.5 8.3 5.2 3.2 1.2


Economies in transition


South-eastern Europe
Exports 5.2 7.5 17.6 18.1 8.9 13.7 9.2 6.6
Imports 17.0 3.6 9.6 12.2 9.8 17.0 12.1 8.0


Commonwealth of
Independent States


Exports 8.0 13.6 15.4 -0.2 6.4 8.6 4.7 4.4
Imports 10.7 19.1 21.2 8.2 20.1 26.3 18.3 16.7


Developing countries
Exports 8.6 10.8 15.0 12.5 10.9 8.8 6.2 4.8
Imports 7.4 10.3 16.3 11.7 12.0 9.8 9.8 6.3


Africa
Exports 4.7 10.0 9.0 17.9 0.2 10.1 10.6 3.6
Imports 5.0 10.5 10.7 17.5 11.6 17.6 15.2 10.5


North Africa
Exports 1.2 16.0 1.1 12.0 16.5 10.4 14.3 6.6
Imports 11.8 5.7 8.7 18.1 16.0 24.9 24.3 17.9


Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding
Nigeria and South Africa)


Exports 11.0 2.7 10.5 13.8 4.7 8.1 6.1 4.9
Imports 3.9 6.7 14.5 13.9 5.9 9.8 6.7 7.6


East and South Asia
Exports 12.0 13.0 17.8 14.0 13.6 10.5 7.4 5.2
Imports 11.4 11.9 18.0 12.0 12.1 8.3 9.4 6.0


East Asia
Exports 12.0 13.5 18.5 14.2 13.8 10.7 7.4 5.3
Imports 11.8 11.9 17.6 11.0 11.8 8.8 8.7 4.4


South Asia
Exports 11.8 6.0 9.2 11.5 10.7 7.8 7.1 3.9
Imports 7.5 11.2 22.1 22.4 15.7 2.9 16.6 21.3


Western Asia
Exports 4.5 8.9 8.0 6.0 5.6 6.2 5.8 3.9
Imports 7.3 7.7 23.5 8.8 9.8 15.6 9.8 8.5


Latin America and the Caribbean
Exports 1.7 4.4 11.3 8.9 7.3 1.9 -2.0 4.1
Imports -4.1 6.2 7.5 10.4 13.0 9.1 8.6 3.6


Memorandum item:
Least developed countries


Exports 9.7 2.5 14.1 10.7 7.7 12.5 5.8 8.1
Imports 3.1 7.3 13.9 8.9 9.1 9.7 9.9 10.5


Source: UN/DESA and Project LINK.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.


While the widening of the global imbalances during the past decade has been
posing an increasing threat to global financial stability, the present trend of a recessionary
unwinding could affect development prospects in the medium run. As noted in chapter I,
the outlook of a global recession and falling commodity prices will have an adverse impact
on growth and domestic resource mobilization in most developing countries. Net food
and energy importers already suffered serious setbacks in early 2008 owing to the extraor-


Weaker global trade will
severely affect developing


countries




39International trade


dinary surges in prices of oil and food. The reversal in commodity prices in the second half
of 2008 may be of little comfort to these countries, as the global recession will significantly
weaken demand for their exports. Financing ensuing trade deficits will be increasingly
difficult and costly in the context of great uncertainty in financial markets. In contrast,
countries that had benefited from the commodity boom but did not invest in diversifying
their economy in a timely fashion will be doubly hit as they will see both the prices and
the volume of their exports decline.


Regional trends in trade


As mentioned above, import demand in the United States has been weakening since 2007
and has fallen further in every quarter of 2008. Demand for imports of automobiles and
car parts has been particularly affected. High oil prices and the slowdown in activity led
to a drop in the volume of imports of fossil fuels. Export growth, in contrast, has strength-
ened over the past two years, driven by increased global demand for cheaper United States-
made goods (in particular industrial inputs, computer-related commodities and consumer
goods) after a prolonged period of dollar depreciation. Weakening demand worldwide and
the rebound of the United States dollar (see chapter I) have reversed this trend, and United
States exports have been falling since August 2008.


Trade growth in Western Europe has been affected by the United States slow-
down. Growth of the total European export volume slowed from 3.9 to 3.6 per cent in
the course of 2008. Export performance in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland deviated from this trend, showing a recovery from the contraction in
trade observed in 2007. European exports are expected to grow by a meagre 0.4 per cent in
2009, reflecting the global slowdown as well as the appreciation of the euro and the pound
sterling against other major currencies from mid-2008. The weakening of global demand
dominates prospects for import demand in Europe, which slowed from 5.2 per cent in
2007 to 3.2 per cent in 2008 and is expected to slow further, to 1.2 per cent in 2009.


The softening of import demand in the United States and elsewhere is also
slowing export growth in developed Asia (Japan and Australia in particular). Falling oil
prices are reversing the trend in preceding years of a rising import bill in Japan and have
helped preserve the country’s trade surplus, despite the poorer export performance. Aus-
tralia managed to reduce its trade deficit, thanks to sharp increases in the negotiated price
for its iron ore and coal exports, underpinning an increase in the country’s total export
revenues by more than 20 per cent in 2008. Canada’s external sector is suffering from the
weak United States economy, especially in the automobile industry, and, from mid-2008,
also from the drop in oil prices and the appreciation of the Canadian dollar.


Among the new European Union (EU) member States, Estonia and Latvia have
seen their imports decline in real terms as a consequence of the bursting housing and credit
bubbles and their impact on private consumption and investment. In other new EU member
countries, most notably Bulgaria and Romania, strong private consumption, continued for-
eign direct investment (FDI) inflows and continuing strong domestic investment have been
driving import growth at a pace of about 12 per cent. Export performance of the new EU
members has not been immediately hurt by the sluggishness in demand from major trading
partners, possibly because many export contracts were component-based. The export con-
tracts, on average, stretch over three quarters of the year, causing export growth to respond
to slower foreign demand with a similar time lag. A significant deceleration of exports is
therefore likely to be felt during the first half of 2009. During 2008, though, exports by the
new EU members continued to expand at an annualized rate of 11 per cent in real terms.


Both imports and exports
of the United States are
declining


The rest of the developed
world sees its income
directly affected by
sluggish United States
trade growth


Export growth in new
EU member States was
strong in 2008, but it will
be affected by the global
slowdown with a time lag




40 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Increases in production capacity of automotive plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in
operation this year have helped to sustain a rapid growth of exports in 2008 despite declining
sales of transport equipment in the EU, but prospects for 2009 will be less glowing.


In the economies of South-eastern Europe, buoyant private consumption, con-
tinuing FDI and, in some cases, heavy infrastructure spending resulted in strong import
growth of about 8 per cent in 2008, amplified in nominal terms by higher food and en-
ergy prices. Exports of the region kept growing at a pace of about 9 per cent in 2008. It
is expected, however, that the slower growth in the EU-15 may hold back further export
expansion in the subregion.


Growth of export revenues of the countries of the CIS was strong in 2008
and outpaced import value growth. The surge in oil and gas prices in the first half of
2008 helped boost trade surpluses in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation,
despite the rise in import demand based on growth in domestic consumption and invest-
ment. Growth in the volume of exports from the Russian Federation remained weak, and
could decline significantly in the outlook. Imports of the Russian Federation increased by
more than 20 per cent in 2008, but owing to the strong rise in hydrocarbon prices in the
first six months of 2008, the economy was nonetheless able to increase its trade surplus.
In some other parts of the CIS, however, import growth outpaced export growth in value
terms, and trade deficits widened, especially in the smaller economies such as Armenia,
Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan. Ukraine suffered most from the
rising costs of imported food, oil and gas. Its trade deficit surged during 2008 as import
demand was further fuelled by strong domestic demand.


Trends in trade differ strongly between the oil and the non-oil exporters in
Western Asia. In 2008, despite strong import growth, trade surpluses in the major oil-
exporting countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iraq increased sub-
stantially from their already high levels of 2007. Saudi Arabia’s trade surplus reached an
estimated 65 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and that of Kuwait was no less
than 72 per cent of GDP. In non-oil economies of the region such as Jordan, Lebanon and
Turkey, in contrast, rising import costs outpaced increased export revenues, resulting in a
further widening of trade and current-account deficits.


Until recently, import demand from oil exporters in Western Asia and from
the fast-growing economies of East Asia had provided a buffer in Western Europe to the
fallout in demand from the United States. This cushion is now deflating. East Asian econ-
omies are increasingly feeling the impact of the slowdown of developed economies in
terms of a substantial deceleration in the demand for their exports. Export volume growth
for the region as a whole is estimated to have weakened from an annual average of 13.7
per cent during 2001-2007 to about 8 per cent in 2008, and is likely to experience much
weaker growth in the outlook for 2009. Nonetheless, China’s trade balance has continued
to widen in dollar terms during 2008, despite the appreciation of the renminbi that has
taken place over the past three years. The Republic of Korea, the second largest exporter
in the region, managed to sustain high rates of export growth until the third quarter of
2008. The economy’s trade balance moved into deficit in 2008, however, as a consequence
of strongly increasing import costs for energy and materials. Singapore and Taiwan Prov-
ince of China suffered from considerably lower demand for information technology (IT)
products, consistent with the weak demand in industrial countries.


The developing countries most vulnerable to a global economic downturn and
volatile commodity prices are primarily found in Africa and Latin America. The good
performance of commodity exporters in Africa, owing to the rise in commodity prices
in the first part of the year, is expected to give way to a much less favourable outcome, as


The trade boom in South-
eastern Europe may not last


Trade prospects in the CIS
remain closely linked to oil


and commodity prices


The fall in exports in
Western Asia may cause


worsening trade
prospects in Europe


Developing countries
remain highly vulnerable


to trade shocks




41International trade


the demand and prices of their exports will decline further. A similar reversal of trends
will also affect those African countries heavily reliant on agricultural exports and tourism.
Oil exporters in the region will see significantly lower current-account surpluses in 2008
compared with previous years. Oil importers, in contrast, are expected to experience wid-
ening current-account deficits over 2008. South Africa is an exception to this trend, as its
current-account deficit narrowed substantially in 2008 following the country’s recovery
from the electricity crisis that had stalled mining exports the year before. The outlook for
2009 will be much bleaker for both groups of economies, however, as export revenues are
expected to collapse.


Meanwhile, the aggregate current-account balance of Latin America and the
Caribbean is estimated to move into a small deficit in 2008, after registering a surplus of
about 0.5 per cent of aggregate GDP in 2007. The declining trend is caused by a combina-
tion of the economic slowdown in the industrialized world, the drastic drop in commodity
prices in the second half of 2008, which affected primary commodity exporters, and the
erosion of competitiveness caused by strong currency appreciation in the region over the
past few years (even though this trend has reversed in the second part of 2008). Going
forward, the gains in competitive edge from the recent currency depreciation are likely
to be more than offset by lower demand for exports because of the global slowdown and
continued tight trade-credit constraints. Limited access to trade credit has already affected
exports and production in Brazil. The recession in the United States will be felt most im-
mediately in Mexico and Central America, which rely on United States markets for the
lion’s share of their exports. Countries in South America rely on a more diverse group of
trading partners and will feel the consequences once demand for their exports slows in
Europe and in Asia’s emerging market economies.


Trade in services: growth to slow with global downturn


World trade in services has expanded dramatically in recent decades. In 2007, it reached
a total value of $3.1 trillion, more than triple the size of 1990. This trend has been con-
sistent with the worldwide trend of an increasing share of services in total output. During
1990-2007, the share increased from 65 to 72 per cent in developed countries and from 45
to 52 per cent in developing countries. Services today account for over 70 per cent of em-
ployment in developed countries and about 35 per cent in developing countries. In recent
years, however, the fastest growth has taken place in merchandise trade, and it seems that
this was a factor in the sustained growth of trade in services. Since the growth of mer-
chandise trade has been particularly robust in the developing world, the share of services
in total trade has decreased (see table II.3).


Business services, including information and communication technologies
(ICT), as well as financial and insurance services, are on the rise, and in 2007 made up
about one third of the services trade of developing countries. However, a prolonged finan-
cial crisis is likely to affect the trade and production of such services. Trade in financial ser-
vices will be affected directly, but the effects will probably spill over into merchandise trade
through tightening access to trade credit. Experts at a high-level World Trade Organization
(WTO) meeting have suggested that the shortage of liquidity for financing trade credit
worldwide amounts to $25 billion as of November 2008.1 This, on top of the contraction of
demand, will constrain export opportunities, especially in developing countries.


1 See “Experts discuss problems of trade finance”, World Trade Organization, WTO: 2008 News
Items, 12 November 2008, available from http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news08_e/trade_
finance_12nov08_e.htm (accessed on 15 November 2008).


Trade in financial and
transportation services,
which has become
increasingly important
in developing countries,
is likely to weaken as the
financial crisis unfolds




42 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Most of the services trade of developing countries takes place in a limited num-
ber of countries, and its concentration has increased further over the past decade. Some 25
countries accounted for 86 per cent of total developing country services trade in 2007. Five
of these alone accounted for 50 per cent of the total volume, up from 43 per cent in 2000
(table II.4). In less than two decades, China and India have become the largest developing
country exporters of services, leaving behind other Asian countries that had dominated
the services trade in the 1990s.


For developing countries in general, trade in services is particularly important
in the areas of movement of natural persons supplying services (Mode 4 of the General
Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)) and outsourcing (included in Mode 1), but is
also important in commercial presence (Mode 3), and is mostly carried out through FDI.
Worldwide, the services sector accounts for the largest share of global FDI stocks and
flows, while the share of manufacturing has continued to decline.2 The services sector ac-
counted for 62 per cent of estimated world inward FDI stock in 2006, up from 49 per cent
in 1990. The share in the world total of FDI inflows to the services sectors in developing
countries climbed from 35 per cent in 1990 to more than 50 per cent in 2007.


While trade, financial services and business activities continue to account for
the lion’s share of FDI in the sector, other services, including infrastructure, have begun
to attract FDI since the 1990s. For example, the value of cross-border mergers and acquisi-
tions (M&As) worldwide in electricity, gas and water rose from $63 billion (about 6 per
cent of total sales) in 2006 to $130 billion (nearly 8 per cent of the total) in 2007.


In Africa, Western Asia, East and South Asia, and Latin America and the
Caribbean, FDI inflows grew to nearly record levels in 2007, the finance sector being
the largest FDI recipient, while activity in infrastructure services such as electricity, tele-
communications and water was on the rise. In view of the current turmoil in financial
markets, and considering the mixed results of privatized public services in the developing


2 See United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2008:
Transnational Corporations and the Infrastructure Challenge (United Nations publication, Sales No.
E.08.II.D.23).


FDI is a major vehicle for
the expansion of trade


in services in developing
countries


FDI flows may weaken as
the economic slowdown
takes hold in developing


countries


Table II.3
Exports of services: share in total trade in goods and services, 2003-2007


Percentage


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


World 20.1 19.9 19.5 18.9 19.4


Developed economies 22.5 22.7 22.7 22.2 22.8
Economies in transition 15.9 14.9 13.8 13.3 14.5
Developing economies 15.0 14.7 14.1 13.7 14.0


Africa 20.3 19.0 16.9 16.4 17.5
Latin America and the Caribbean 14.3 13.4 13.2 12.4 12.5
Asia 14.5 14.5 14.0 13.7 13.9
Oceania 35.4 34.2 33.7 30.4 28.5


Memorandum items:


Least developed countries 15.9 14.7 12.4 12.5 11.6
Landlocked developing countries 17.3 15.9 14.6 13.0 13.4
Small island developing States 45.4 44.3 39.7 34.7 38.2


Source: UNCTAD GlobStat.




43International trade


world, these trends seem worrisome. Governments have often found themselves absorbing
the costs of failures or shifting strategies of transnational corporations (TNCs) in basic
services. Bailouts of large foreign financial corporations may give rise to an even heavier
burden. Some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean adopted a number of policy
measures related to FDI that range from reducing incentives to restricting or prohibiting
such investment. As several factors have been influencing recent trends, the precise impact
of the financial crisis on FDI flows is difficult to measure.3


Offshore services represent only a relatively small component of the world’s
outsourcing market. Offshore service activities mainly comprise IT services and IT-


3 See United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Prospects Survey
2008-2010 (New York and Geneva: United Nations, September 2008).


Table II.4
Exports of services among developing economies, 1990, 2000 and 2007


Values in billions of dollars, share in per cent


1990 2000 2007


Value of
exports Share Rank


Value of
exports Share Rank


Value of
exports Share Rank


Developing economies 150.2 100.0 348.1 100.0 848.1 100.0


China, excluding Hong Kong
SARa, Macao SARa and Taiwan
Province of China 5.9 4.0 9 30.4 9.0 3 117.2 14.0 1
India 4.6 3.0 10 16.7 5.0 7 84.8 10.0 2
Hong Kong SARa 18.1 12.0 1 40.4 12.0 1 82.7 10.0 3
Singapore 12.8 9.0 2 28.2 8.0 4 69.7 8.0 4
Korea, Republic of 9.6 6.0 3 30.5 9.0 2 63.2 7.0 5
Taiwan Province of China 7.0 5.0 6 20.0 6.0 5 30.6 4.0 6
Thailand 6.4 4.0 7 13.9 4.0 9 30.0 4.0 7
Turkey 8.0 5.0 5 19.5 6.0 6 28.7 3.0 8
Malaysia 3.9 3.0 11 13.9 4.0 8 27.6 3.0 9
Brazil 3.8 3.0 12 9.5 3.0 12 23.8 3.0 10
Egypt 6.0 4.0 8 9.8 3.0 11 20.0 2.0 11
Mexico 8.1 5.0 4 13.8 4.0 10 17.3 2.0 12
South Africa 3.4 2.0 13 5.0 1.0 14 13.5 2.0 13
Morocco 2.0 1.0 18 3.0 1.0 22 13.4 2.0 14
Macao SARa 1.5 1.0 23 3.6 1.0 18 12.3 1.0 15
Indonesia 2.5 2.0 16 5.2 1.0 13 12.1 1.0 16
Lebanon 0.1 1.0 76 1.2 1.0 40 11.4 1.0 17
United Arab Emirates 1.1 2.0 32 2.2 1.0 25 10.7 1.0 18
Argentina 2.4 0.0 17 4.9 0.0 15 9.8 1.0 19
Iran, Islamic Republic of 0.4 1.0 48 1.4 1.0 37 9.3 1.0 20
Chile 1.8 1.0 19 4.1 1.0 17 8.8 1.0 21
Kuwait 1.3 2.0 26 1.8 1.0 32 8.6 1.0 22
Philippines 3.2 2.0 14 3.4 1.0 19 8.4 1.0 23
Saudi Arabia 3.0 0.0 15 4.8 1.0 16 7.7 1.0 24
Cuba 0.5 0.0 42 3.1 1.0 21 6.6 1.0 25


Source: UNCTAD GlobStat.
a Special Administrative Region of China.




44 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


enabled business services, as well as pharmaceutical and research and development (R&D)
services. Developing countries have captured a sizeable and growing share of this market.
The potential impact of the current financial and economic crisis on this incipient market
remains uncertain, since offshore activity may either increase in pursuit of cost-saving
strategies or fall as global demand recedes.


World primary commodities and prices


Non-oil commodities: dramatic price swings


During 2008, the upward trend in commodity prices, which had put its stamp on com-
modity markets since the early 2000s, reached its peak and was followed by a dramatic fall.
Long- and short-term factors had combined in an unprecedented manner to create a broad
rise in commodity prices with characteristics unlike those of previous commodity price
booms, such as the one in the early 1950s or those following the two oil-price shocks of
the 1970s. These earlier booms resulted from supply bottlenecks and were broken by a rise
in global inflation followed by monetary tightening. The most recent boom was different,
however. Rather than experiencing a shock, supply was rising consistently in response to
price increases, but apparently not as fast as the rise of demand fuelled by speculation in the
futures markets. The expectations and exchange-rate volatility which triggered speculation,
driving stocks down, also contributed to the surge in prices. Hence, rather than balancing
supply and demand, rising prices fed speculation and further price increases. The tide was
turned by a change of sentiment among financial investors in commodity markets.


From June 2008, commodity prices have generally been decreasing, as shown
by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) commodity
price index, which lost 11.5 per cent in dollar terms between June and September 2008.
This trend holds for all commodity groups, though specific commodities or commodity
groups have been more affected than others (see table II.5). The change in trends can be
partially explained by high price incentives and favourable weather conditions that are
contributing to increased planting and harvesting of cereals, which may hit a new record
in 2008. World production of wheat, maize and rice is expected to exceed demand and
contribute to a partial replenishment of stocks. In addition, the recent appreciation of the
United States dollar may also explain part of the price decline in nominal terms. While
the replenishment of stocks and lower prices is a welcome turn of events for consumers, the
sharp rise in price volatility during 2008 has hurt both consumers and producers.


Commodity price
fluctuations in 2008 were


caused by new factors


Growing supply in some
commodity markets is
facing fading demand


Table II.5
Commodity price indices in nominal terms, 2008


Base year 2000 = 100


Jan-08 Jun-08 Sep-08


All non-oil commodities 239.4 289.8 256.4


Food 200.0 262.6 232.3
Tropical beverages 167.1 192.8 186.7
Vegetable oilseeds and oils 318.8 370.5 266.9
Agricultural raw materials 196.6 228.6 212.7
Minerals, ores and metals 329.1 371.3 334.7


Source: UNCTAD Commodity Price Statistics.




45International trade


Figure II.2
Monthly averages of free-market price indices of non-oil commodities,
January 1997-September 2008


Base year 2000 = 100


0


50


100


150


250


200


300


350


400


450


Ja
n-


97


Ju
l-9


7


Ja
n-


98


Ju
l-9


8


Ja
n-


99


Ju
l-9


9


Ja
n-


00


Ju
l-0


0


Ja
n-


01


Ju
l-0


1


Ja
n-


02


Ju
l-0


2


Ja
n-


03


Ju
l-0


3


Ja
n-


04


Ju
l-0


4


Ja
n-


05


Ju
l-0


5


Ja
n-


06


Ju
l-0


6


Ja
n-


07


Ju
l-0


7


Ja
n-


08


Ju
l-0


8


Price Index – All groups (current dollar terms)
Tropical beverages
Vegetable oilseeds and oils
Food
Agricultural raw materials
Minerals, ores and metals


Source: UNCTAD Commodity
Price Statistics.


Between 1997 and 2002, commodity prices followed a downward trend in
both nominal and real dollar terms. The commodity price boom, which resulted in record
prices in nominal dollar terms for several commodities, also allowed real prices to recover
for some commodity groups. Nonetheless, most commodity prices, corrected for dollar
inflation, remained well below previous peaks (see figure II.2 and table II.6).


Exceptional conditions caused the rise and fall of prices in world markets for
basic grains, food and minerals. One of the unique features of the 2008 boom was the long
and steady growth in commodity market trading, during which unused capacity was put
into operation. Capacity utilization peaked in the production of most commodities belong-
ing to the categories of basic grains, food and minerals, as new investments to increase sup-


Despite sharp rises, real
prices of most commodities
have remained below
previous peaks


Table II. 6
Commodity price indices in real dollar terms, 1974-2008


Base year 2000 = 100


1st half 1974 1st half 1997 1st half 2008
1997-2008 change


(percentage)
1974-2008 change


(percentage)


All non-oil commodities 317.8 121.9 197.3 61.9 -37.9


Food 386.7 126.2 175.8 39.2 -54.5
Tropical beveragesa 617.7 161.9 129.8 -19.8 -79.0
Vegetable oilseeds and oils 433.9 144.3 248.6 72.3 -42.7
Agricultural raw materials 203.1 115.0 151.3 31.5 -25.5
Minerals, ores and metals 239.7 103.8 262.0 152.5 9.3


Source: UNCTAD, Commodity Price Statistics and Infocomm.
a The highest prices for tropical beverages were recorded in 1977, which for this group of commodities is used as the year of reference instead of


1974.




46 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


ply fell short of what was needed to match the increase in demand, and inventories became
depleted. At that point, the financial crisis had arrived, rendering the question of how long
the demand momentum could be maintained irrelevant. For other commodities such as
agricultural raw materials, the supply response had been sufficiently large early on.


It is also likely that the depreciation of the dollar since 2002 fuelled expecta-
tions of further price increases as investors tried to preserve international purchasing power
by raising prices in dollar terms. Although difficult to ascertain with precision, the influ-
ence of speculation by financial investors has been considerable. Speculation in the actual,
physical exchange of commodities certainly influenced prices as speculators bought and
stored commodities, betting on price increases. Such positions have temporarily reduced
the supply of goods and have no doubt affected price movements directly. The impact of
speculation in futures markets (that is to say, where speculators do not physically trade
any commodities) on price trends is much more difficult to determine, however. Futures
trades are bets on buying or selling goods entitlements which are continuously rolled over.
It is therefore not clear whether such trading does more to commodity prices other than
increase their volatility. It could, however, be argued that increased global liquidity and
financial innovation has also led to increased speculation in commodity markets. Con-
versely, the financial crisis contributed to the slide in commodity prices from mid-2008 as
financial investors withdrew from commodity markets and, in addition, the United States
dollar appreciated as part of the process of the deleveraging of financial institutions in the
major economies (see chapter I).


As explained in Box II.1, the turmoil experienced in stock markets owing to
the global financial crisis initially shifted speculative investments towards markets for basic
grains, for example. But as the financial vulnerability of large investors surfaced later in the
year, the need for liquidity to refinance bad debts and recapitalize ailing financial institutions
seems to have abruptly stopped financial investments in commodity and futures markets.
The credit crunch is also expected to have a negative impact on international commodity
trade by raising import financing costs. This will reduce import demand and contribute to
further declines in commodity prices. As economic actors expect a further downturn of the
global economy, this may already have been translated into lower futures market prices.4


Trends in commodity stocks have signalled impending shortages. Production
conditions of many commodities were characterized by excess capacity in the 1990s. The
resulting excess supply suppressed prices and provided little incentive to new investment. As
demand gradually rose, spare capacity declined. Similarly, inventories, which in many cases
had been built up to very high levels, started falling. Eventually, supply responded, but in
many cases only after prices had reached unprecedented levels. Figure II.3 shows the surplus
of supply over demand for lead and zinc, which in many ways are typical of the minerals
and metals industry. A surplus of both metals in the early years of the twenty-first century
turned into a widening deficit around 2004, and the industry did not return to surplus until
2008. Figure II.4 shows London Metal Exchange (LME) stocks for the same two metals.


4 See, for example, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Trade and Development
Report 2008: Commodity prices, capital flows and the financing of investment (United Nations
publications, Sales No. E.08.II.D.21), chapter 2, p. 24; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy,
“Commodities market speculation: The risk to food security and agriculture”, IATP Report, November
2008; W. Meyers and S. Meyer, “Causes and implications of a food price surge”, background
paper for the present report, available from http://www.un.org/esa/policy/publications/wesp_
background_papers.htm; and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Trade
and Agriculture Directorate, Committee for Agriculture, “The relative impact on world commodity
prices of temporal and longer term structural changes in agricultural markets: A note on the role
of investment capital in the US agricultural futures markets and the possible effect on cash prices”,
Document No. TAD/CA/APM/CFS/MD(2008)6, 28 February 2008.


Exchange-rate fluctuations
and speculative activity,


among other factors, have
increased commodity


price volatility


Trends in commodity stocks
provided an early signal


of price gyrations




47International trade


The making of the food crisis


In the years leading up to the food crisis of early 2008, demand for basic grains (rice, wheat, barley,
maize and soybeans) exceeded production. As a result, stocks fell to 40 per cent of their levels in
1998/99, and the stocks-to-use ratio reached record lows for total grains and multi-year lows for
maize and vegetable oils. Given such tight conditions, the market could not absorb the events that
occurred on the demand and supply side, culminating in a “perfect storm”, and leading to soaring
prices and rampant food shortages in many developing economies.


There are differences in how prices evolved among food commodities, as well as in the
triggers that sparked the price surges. Some grain prices began an upsurge as early as the end of
2006; nevertheless, by September of 2007, all international grains prices had doubled from their 2003
price levels (see figure A below). The apparent common factor that affected all price dynamics was
the comovement of the depreciation of the United States dollar and the rise in crude oil prices.


The United States dollar began to depreciate more steeply in 2006, and crude oil prices
rose simultaneously. This not only increased production and transport costs for commodities but
also stimulated an increase in biofuel production, increasing the demand for, and the price of, maize
and vegetable oils. It has also been argued that biofuel production has increased the demand for ag-
ricultural inputs, energy and labour, thereby having the impact of increasing food prices in general.
Increasing maize prices induced crop substitution towards more profitable maize production and led
to the substitution on the demand side for feed and food, thereby increasing prices of other crops.
Subsequently, higher crude prices raised the production costs of all crops, livestock and dairy, and
these effects permeated throughout the agricultural sector raising the farm-to-retail margins and
increasing the cost of food.


Shortfalls in grain production also emerged because of bad harvests, most notably in
Australia and Europe. While these events would normally not have been such large market movers,
in this case the effect on prices was dramatic given the record-low level of cereal stocks and the
continuing strong global demand.


Box II.1


Figure A
Patterns of price developments among food commodities, 2003-July 2008


Ratio to January 2003 prices


0.00


1.00


2.00


3.00


4.00


5.00


6.00


Ja
n-


03


Ap
r-


03


Ju
l-0


3


O
ct


-0
3


Ja
n-


04


Ap
r-


04


Ju
l-0


4


O
ct


-0
4


Ja
n-


05


Ap
r-


05


Ju
l-0


5


O
ct


-0
5


Ja
n-


06


Ap
r-


06


Ju
l-0


6


O
ct


-0
6


Ja
n-


07


Ap
r-


07


Ju
l-0


7


O
ct


-0
7


Ja
n-


08


Ap
r-


08


Ju
l-0


8


Barley
Wheat
Rice
Soybeans
Maize
Palm oil


Source: W. Meyers and
S. Meyer, “ Causes and
implications of a food price
surge”, background paper for
the present report, available
from http://www.un.org/esa/
policy/publications/wesp_
background_papers.htm.




48 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The reaction to rising international food prices at the domestic level only served to
exacerbate an already tenuous situation. Numerous exporting countries either banned, taxed or
otherwise limited exports of grains and oilseeds, while importing countries reduced import tariffs,
subsidized consumers or increased imports as precautionary measures. The most dramatic impact
was on the price of rice, but wheat was also affected. Rice exports were banned in Cambodia, Egypt,
India (except basmati), Indonesia and Viet Nam, and China introduced a 5 per cent export tax. Since
the international market for rice is very thin (amassing no more than between 6 and 7.5 per cent of
rice consumption), the trade restrictions generated market panic resulting in private hoarding and
the delay of emergency food deliveries.


Increased consumption, most notably in China and India, is frequently seen as another
factor in the price surges. While part of a longer-term trend, counterfactual evidence suggests that in-
creased food demand in these emerging markets only played a role coming as it did on top of already
emerging supply shortages. In general, growth in the demand for corn for food and feed has not been
above trend over the past 10 years. It was the steep rise in the demand for maize for ethanol produc-
tion in the United States (which, in turn, was driven by subsidies and the surge in fossil fuel prices)
which—along with emerging supply shortages in China—contributed to the surge in the world price
of corn in late 2006. This spilled over into other markets. The price of soybeans increased steeply fol-
lowing the shift of 5.5 million hectares of arable land from soybean to maize production in the United
States in response to the rising maize prices. This further led to a decline in world oilseed production.
As demand for oilseeds remained strong, especially in China, prices of other oilseeds surged as well.


Increased activity in futures markets by financial investors also had an impact on short-
term price movements, as explained in the main text. This increased price volatility pushed up com-
modity prices in futures contracts well beyond what they would otherwise have been during the
boom. Similarly, the withdrawal of financial investors at the emergence of the financial crisis exac-
erbated their decline. While clearly affecting price volatility, it is less evident whether speculation in
futures markets is also having any lasting effect on seasonal average prices or long-term conditions
affecting demand and supply.a


Next to this storm of short-term factors pushing up food prices were longstanding
policy failures that weakened the agricultural sector in many developing countries, making it harder
for them to cope with market shocks and avoid a major-scale crisis. Thanks to the Green Revolution
and development policies that spanned from the sixties through the eighties, world food prices
decreased persistently from the late 1980s until 2002, providing self-sufficiency to many developing
countries and helping to reduce poverty. However, the policy shift towards more confidence in price
signals to stimulate production and less attention to government support for infrastructure invest-
ment and research and development for agricultural technology, together with lower official devel-
opment assistance (ODA), has been most detrimental to agricultural productivity growth. In particu-
lar, sub-Saharan Africa has suffered the most from the present food crisis because of poorer social
and physical infrastructure, making it harder to assimilate new technologies triggered by the Green
Revolution. In 2003, African Governments committed themselves to raising their share of spending
on agriculture to 10 per cent by 2008 in support of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Develop-
ment Programme (the Maputo Declaration goal). In reality, however, such spending has dropped
dramatically in recent decades and the target is far from being met (see figure B).


Donors have also neglected agriculture. The share of total ODA for agriculture declined
from 13 per cent in the early 1980s to 2.9 per cent in 2005-2006. In addition, ODA allocated to
other productive activities and economic infrastructure, which can have positive externalities for
agriculture, also suffered from a significant drop in international support during the same period.


The downside of weakening investment and agricultural support measures in develop-
ing countries is that productivity growth for major food crops has stalled, and there has been no
significant increase in the use of cultivated land. Thus, production has fallen woefully short of growth
in food demand. Unless the problem of underinvestment in agriculture is addressed, beyond the
short-term swings, food prices may remain on a longer-term upward trend.


Box II.1 (cont’d)


a See, for example,
Commodity Futures Trading


Commission, Written
testimony of Jeffrey Harris,


Chief Economist before
the Senate Committee
on Homeland Security


and Governmental Affairs,
United States Senate, 20
May 2008, available from


http://www.cftc.gov/
stellent/groups/public/@
newsroom/documents/


speechandtestimony/
eajeffharristestimony052008.


pdf (accessed on 10
November 2008); Scott H.
Irwin, Philip Garcia, Darrel


L. Good and Eugene L.
Kunda, “Recent convergence


performance of CBOT corn,
soybean and wheat futures


contracts”, Choices, vol. 23,
No.2, 2nd quarter 2008, pp.


16-21, available from http://
www.choicesmagazine.org/


magazine/pdf/issue_4.pdf
(accessed on 11


November 2008).




49International trade


Box II.1 (cont’d)
Figure B
Public agricultural expenditures in developing countries, 1980-2005


Percentage


14.9


12.3


6.4 6.5


11.2


7.9


5.3 5.5


6.4


5.4
4.6


5.3


8.1


2.1
2.5 2.6


0


2


4


6


8


10


12


14


16


1980 1990 2000 2005


Maputo Declaration


Asia


Africa


Developing countries


Latin America and the Caribbean


Source: International Lead
and Zinc Study Group,
available from www.ilzsg.org/
static/statistic.aspx?from=1
(accessed on 15
November 2008).


Source: Based on data
from Shenggen Fan and
Anuja Saurkar, “Tracking
agricultural spending for
agricultural growth and
poverty reduction in Africa”,
Regional Strategic Analysis
and Knowledge Support
System, Issue Brief No. 5,
available from http://www.
resakss.org/publications/
Expenditure% 20trends%20
brief.pdf.


Figure II.3
Surplus or deficit of global production over usage for lead and zinc, 1996-2007


Percentage


-5


-4


-3


-2


-1


0


1


2


3


4


5


1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Lead


Zinc




50 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Since LME inventories are stocks of last resort, a severe decline in these stocks is possibly the
best indicator of an acute physical shortage. Other metals have followed similar paths, com-
monly with a price peak around the time when inventories were at their lowest, followed by
declines in prices as production caught up and inventories started to accumulate.


Developments regarding agricultural products have been roughly similar, al-
though, after speculative forces, the explanation of price fluctuations lies in large part in
supply-side factors. Among these are weather conditions—in the short term—and policy
neglect, lack of long-term infrastructure and capacity investment, and insufficient techno-
logical innovation, in the longer term. An apparently relevant factor affecting both the de-
mand and supply of agricultural products was the continuous rise of the dollar price of oil,
which raised costs of production and transportation, on the one hand, and influenced sub-
stitution for biofuels on the other. It is not coincidental that some countries have resorted
to export controls or bans to ensure adequate food supplies for their own populations, and
this may have exacerbated price pressures. Such export restrictions were a response to the
ongoing surge in prices rather than the initial cause.


According to data from the International Grains Council,5 after two years of
production deficits and a year of relative balance between supply and demand in 2007/08,
global grains stocks should remain unchanged in 2008/09, at 281 million tons, owing
mainly to good harvests. At the same time, world trade in grains is expected to fall as the
global economy slows. It is likely, therefore, that the decline in prices observed in the sec-
ond half of 2008 will continue in the near future.


5 International Grains Council, Grain Market Report, GMR No. 383, 30 October 2008; and, GMR
No. 380, 31 July 2008.


The decline in the prices of
most grains, beverages and


vegetable oils will continue as
the global economy slows


Figure II.4
Inventories and prices of lead and zinc,a fourth quarter of 2003-second quarter of 2008


0


50


100


150


200


250


300


350


400


450


500


Lead stocks


Zinc stocks


Zinc prices
Lead prices


Fo
ur


th
q


ua
rt


er
20


03


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


04


Fo
ur


th
q


ua
rt


er
20


04


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


05


Fo
ur


th
q


ua
rt


er
20


05


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


06


Fo
ur


th
q


ua
rt


er
20


06


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


07


Fo
ur


th
q


ua
rt


er
20


07


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


08


Source: London Metal
Exchange.


a Average quarterly cash
prices (percentage of fourth


quarter 2003 prices) and end
of quarter inventories of lead


and zinc (per cent of end
2003 inventories).




51International trade


The tropical beverage price index, which had increased steadily until mid-2008,
declined thereafter (figure II. 2). In real terms, present price levels will remain well below
the pre-crisis level in the immediate outlook. This will have severe implications for coffee
growers, for example, prompting calls for the putting in place of compensatory mecha-
nisms in Colombia and Brazil, which will perhaps be followed elsewhere.


The vegetable oils and oilseeds price index rose by almost 174 per cent between
January 2006 and June 2008, partly owing to the indirect effect of increased production
of biofuels which competed for agricultural inputs and capital utilization. However, prices
fell by 30 per cent between June and September 2008, along with falling prices of fossil
fuels and most basic grains.


Developments in agricultural raw material prices were dominated by price in-
creases for cotton. With a price average of $75.8 per pound over the first six months of
2008, the Cotlook ‘A’ index increased by 30 per cent compared with its level in Janu-
ary 2006. Nominal prices surged to levels not recorded since 1997. Between June and
September 2008, however, cotton prices fell by 4.5 per cent, following the trend in other
commodity prices, albeit less dramatically. World production contracted by 5 per cent in
2008 compared with the preceding year, in particular on account of a sharp decline (of
25 per cent) in production in the United States. Global demand for cotton increased by 1
per cent, leading to a tightening of the market. The price of natural rubber rose by 73 per
cent from January 2006 to June 2008, mainly influenced by rising petroleum prices which
drive the price of synthetic rubber. Declining oil prices pushed down the prices of natural
and synthetic rubber by 10 per cent between June and September.


The prices of most minerals, ores and metals increased during the commodity
price boom, although they peaked at different times. The prospect of a worldwide recession
depressed prices in the second half of 2008 as projections for demand fell well short of cur-
rent capacity. This does not take into account the capacity that is scheduled to enter opera-
tion in response to recent high prices. The outlook for next year for most minerals is that
supply will exceed demand, allowing a build-up of inventories from present low levels and
contributing to a fall in prices. The situation with regard to gold may perhaps be different.
Prices in 2008 remained at historically very high levels, about $800 per ounce, owing in part
to its use as a safe storage of wealth in times of economic and currency turmoil. A decline
in the course of the second semester of 2008 may be mainly explained by a contraction in
consumption demand, especially in the jewellery market, where demand fell by 24 per cent
year over year in the second quarter of 2008. In addition, China became the largest gold-
producing country in 2007 with a total production of 276 tons, outstripping South Africa’s
272 tons. The extent to which the decline in the price of gold was also triggered by “margin
calls” is uncertain, however, and thus it remains unclear whether, in the near future, gold
will regain its privileged character of wealth storage as the financial crisis deepens.


Crude oil: the turnaround that was
to be expected in a global slowdown


Oil prices were on a roller coaster ride throughout 2008 until the global commodity boom
came to an abrupt end in the summer. The price of Brent crude, which stood at about $100
per barrel (pb) in early January, rose to an all-time high of $145 pb in July before dropping
sharply to $60 pb in November (see figure II.5). As was the case with other commodities,
the surge in oil prices during the first half of 2008 reflected both a tight balance between
supply and demand and increased speculation and herding behaviour.


Cheaper derivatives of
petroleum will win over
natural fibres


Prices of most metals
peaked between 2007
and mid-2008




52 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Fundamental conditions included fast-growing oil demand in transition and
developing countries, weak supply from oil-producing countries that are not members of
the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and geopolitical con-
cerns. The upward price movement was reinforced by speculative activities, mostly in fu-
ture markets, as investors built positions in anticipation of further price increases. In addi-
tion, speculative buyers used oil and other commodities as a hedge against inflation and a
weakening United States dollar, pushing prices further in a self-propelling upward spiral.


This process went into reverse around the middle of July 2008 when concerns
about slowing demand from developed countries coincided with rising supply in a larger
number of oil-producing countries (more than offsetting declines in some others) and
the depreciation of the dollar ended abruptly, for the reasons explained in chapter I. As
the financial crisis in the United States deepened in September 2008 and increasingly
spread across the globe, the oil-price decline accelerated, while daily prices became increas-
ingly volatile. In October, international crude oil prices registered their biggest monthly
drop ever as expectations mounted that a severe global economic downturn would sharply
reduce demand for oil in 2009. Prices continued to slide even when OPEC decided to
lower production considerably in late October and announced further cuts in subsequent
months. Despite the steep decline in the second half of 2008, the price of Brent crude av-
eraged $101 pb for the year as a whole, almost 40 per cent above the average annual price
of $72.5 pb in 2007.


The high average price of oil and the significant slowdown in global economic
growth kept world oil demand flat in 2008, averaging 86.1 million barrels per day (mbd).
Robust growth in demand by developing and transition economies offset a substantial
contraction in the developed countries, particularly in the United States, where yearly oil
demand saw its biggest fall since 1982.


Demand conditions explain
to a great extent the


fluctuations in the
price of oil price


World demand for oil
stagnated in 2008, caused


by offsetting trends: falling
demand in developed


countries and rising demand
in developing countries


Figure II.5
Nominal and real Brent crude oil prices, 1980-2008


Dollars per barrel


0


20


40


60


80


100


120


140


160


19
80


19
81


19
82


19
83


19
84


19
85


19
86


19
87


19
88


19
89


19
90


19
91


19
92


19
93


19
94


19
95


19
96


19
97


19
98


19
99


20
00


20
01


20
02


20
03


20
04


20
05


20
06


20
07


20
08


a


Real price


Nominal price


Source: UN/DESA, based on
IMF International Financial


Statistics CD-ROM,
November 2008.


Note: United States consumer
price index was used as


the deflator for the nominal
price of Brent oil.


a Partly estimated.




53International trade


Oil demand in the developed countries fell by approximately 3 per cent in
2008 as consumers faced sharply higher energy bills in the first half of the year and a severe
economic downturn in the second. The United States, which currently accounts for 22 per
cent of total world demand, registered the largest decline among developed economies,
with demand for crude oil dropping by about 5 per cent as gasoline prices rose, increasing
by 35 per cent between January and July. Oil demand in Europe continued its downward
trend in 2008, mostly owing to shrinking demand for transportation fuels in the large
economies of the EU. Demand for gasoline dropped sharply during the summer months
in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, as very high retail prices and
slowing economic growth reinforced the structural decline. Oil demand in the Pacific
region decreased in 2008 for the third consecutive year as a result of weak gasoline and
diesel demand in Japan.


However, in developing and transition economies, oil demand continued to
expand significantly in 2008, growing on average by 3.8 per cent. All regions registered
increasing demand owing to continuing robust, albeit slowing, economic growth. As in
previous years, demand for transportation fuels rose sharply in China, India and West-
ern Asia. Total oil demand increased by about 6 per cent in China and Western Asia,
by almost 5 per cent in India, and by approximately 4.5 per cent in Latin America and
the Caribbean. Soaring international fuel prices had only a limited effect on demand as
price controls and subsidies in many developing countries continued to shield consumers
partially from the cost increases. However, a number of South and East Asian countries,
including China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan Province of China, cut fuel subsidies
during 2008 to reduce the burden on the fiscal budget.


Global oil supply averaged 86.4 mbd in 2008, representing an increase of 0.9
per cent over average supply in 2007. This increase was entirely due to higher production
by OPEC member countries during the first three quarters of the year (and despite more
recent supply reductions). Non-OPEC supply, by contrast, remained virtually unchanged
in 2008 as declining output in Mexico and Europe was compensated by higher production
(which included liquid gas and biofuels as well as crude oil) in Brazil, China and the United
States.6 Overall, weakness in non-OPEC supply could have been a key factor behind the
surge in prices during the first half of 2008. Given rapidly growing demand in develop-
ing countries and constrained non-OPEC production, OPEC increasingly gained control
over marginal supply. This sparked fears among market participants that future supply
shortfalls would lead to further price hikes. However, as the financial crisis hit developed
economies, these fears gave way to more short-term concerns of faltering demand.


After increasing quotas in the last quarter of 2007, OPEC left them unchanged
during the period in which oil prices surged between January and July 2008, despite
mounting pressure from major oil-importing countries to increase them. New members,
Angola and Ecuador, which joined OPEC in 2006 and 2007, respectively, had formal quo-
tas assigned to them from January 2008 onwards, whereas Iraq continued to be exempted
from the quota system.7 Actual production—including all three of these countries—fluc-
tuated somewhat during the first part of the year, primarily as a result of production out-
ages in Iraq and Nigeria. From May onwards, as oil prices spiralled upwards, the largest
producer in OPEC, Saudi Arabia, raised its output steadily. In July 2008, Saudi Arabian
production increased by 0.6 mbd since April to 9.7 mbd, its highest level since 1981, and


6 In assessing the supply and demand for oil to illustrate price fluctuations, the convention of the
International Energy Association is to include both natural gas liquids and biofuels.


7 Ecuador had previously been an OPEC member, having become an oil exporter in the early 1970s,
but it left the cartel in 1985 and rejoined in 2007.


Increases of supply by
OPEC countries in 2008
compensated shortfalls by
non-OPEC oil exporters




54 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


about 8 per cent above its quota. As a result, total OPEC production reached a high of
37.7 mbd in July, when oil prices peaked. As the global economic outlook increasingly de-
teriorated and oil prices fell rapidly, OPEC members decided in September 2008 to return
to the agreed quotas, mainly putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to lower output. However,
prices continued to decline sharply in October, forcing OPEC to reduce quotas and cut
production by a total of 1.5 mbd as of November 2007.


The oil market outlook for 2009 essentially depends on how deep and long the
economic slowdown in major oil-consuming countries will be. The developed economies in
particular, which account for the lion’s share of global demand for energy, will be facing re-
cession. Net oil-importers among emerging economies will experience a marked slowdown.
In the baseline scenario, total oil demand in developed economies is expected to decline by
about 3 per cent in 2009, similar to the rate in 2008. Since Japan, the United States and
all large European economies have entered into recession, oil demand will remain subdued
even though consumers face significantly lower prices for retail gasoline, diesel and heating
oil. Meanwhile, oil demand growth in developing and transition countries is anticipated to
slow down to about 3 per cent owing to decelerating economic growth in all regions.


With global demand slowing and oil prices continuing to fall despite lower pro-
duction, OPEC is likely to reduce supply further in 2009. Average OPEC output in 2009,
including natural gas liquids (NGLs), is forecast at 36.1 mbd, almost 3 per cent below the av-
erage in 2008. This compares to expectations of slightly increased production in non-OPEC
countries, where several new project start-ups are expected to bring total average output to
50.2 mbd. Based on experience in previous years, downward risks to production remain in a
number of OPEC and non-OPEC countries. Actual output may fall short of target levels ow-
ing to accidents, technical problems, political unrest, security challenges or weather-related
outages. It is plausible that increasingly low international oil prices may come close to or
below marginal costs of production for many new projects, thus placing supply in jeopardy
in the medium term. Output from existing fields is declining at a rapid pace; hence, global
oil supply will depend fundamentally on exploration and production from new fields. This
will require massive investments by private and public oil companies over the coming years
and is likely to lead to upward pressure on prices in the medium- and long-run.


Given these expected shifts in demand and supply, during 2009 the price of
oil is expected to fall back to levels seen in 2006. In the baseline scenario, oil demand is
anticipated to decline slightly to 85.8 mbd and the average price of Brent crude is fore-
cast at $64 pb on average for the year 2009. If a more pessimistic global growth scenario
plays out, prices could fall well below that level. On the other hand, if the world economy
bounces back in the second half of 2009, oil prices will likely start rising again. Much
uncertainty surrounds these prospects and, consequently, the price of oil is expected to
remain highly volatile in the outlook.


Terms of trade for developing
countries and economies in transition


As discussed above, during 2008, most commodity prices experienced sharp changes, with
abrupt rises in the first part of the year followed by falls in the second half. By the end of
2008, world market prices of most primary products had dropped below levels posted at
the beginning of the year. In the case of oil and most mining and food products, however,
average prices for 2008 remained above those of 2007. Because of the importance of these


The upward price spiral has
ended with the financial


crisis and may be on a
further downward path


with the global slowdown


Price falls and defensive
supply cuts will act as


disincentives to long-term
investments


Main energy and primary
exporters benefited from net
terms-of-trade gains in 2008




55International trade


commodities in their trade, many primary exporters experienced, on balance, terms-of-
trade gains in 2008, with significant gains for net oil exporters in particular (figure II.6).


Regions with a large weight of oil in total exports recorded sizeable gains in
their terms of trade in 2008, as was the case in Western Asia, the economies in transition
and Africa (figure II.7). Exporters of agricultural products also saw their terms of trade
improve as the skyrocketing food prices in the first half of the year were not fully offset
by the subsequent fall. Most exporters of mineral and mining products, in contrast, saw
their terms of trade decline somewhat on average for the year as a consequence of the sharp
reversal in the prices of metals and minerals and because many of these economies are also
net importers of oil and food.


Developing countries relying on exports of manufactures, particularly those in
East and South Asia, registered a further deterioration in their terms of trade, as they were
affected by higher prices of oil, food and some industrial raw materials of which they are
net importers. The low-income countries that are net importers of food and do not export
oil or mining products also experienced a significant deterioration in their terms of trade
in 2008. The terms of trade of the developed countries, in contrast, are not greatly affected
by the sharp swings in commodity prices and have undergone only very small changes in
recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that the bulk of both their imports and exports
comprise manufactured goods.


Most of these trends in the terms of trade are likely to be reversed in 2009, as
the sharp correction in commodity prices resulting from the global financial crisis and the
economic slowdown become fully reflected in annual data. Price declines for oil and min-
erals and metals should lead to a reduction in the terms of trade of developing countries
which export these products, while food- and fuel-importing countries should find some
relief from the softening in agricultural and energy prices.


Exporters of manufactures
in East and South Asia
faced further deteriorating
terms of trade


Figure II.6
Terms of trade by trade structure, 2000-2008


Index 2000 = 100


60


80


100


120


140


160


180


200


220


240


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


Petroleum exportersb


Exporters of minerals and mining productsb


Exporters of agricultural productsb


Manufactured goods’ exportersb


Low-income food-decit countriesb, c


Source: UNCTAD, Trade and
Development Report 2008 and
UNCTAD Commodity Price
Statistics.
a Partly estimated.
b Selection of developing
and transition economies
(see UNCTAD, Trade and
Development Report 2008,
chapter 2, section 2).
c Excluding fuel, minerals
and mining exporters.




56 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Terms of trade can be very volatile in countries where the structure of exports
differs considerably from that of imports. Fluctuations are especially strong in countries
with high export concentration in a few primary products as this causes large swings
in their external balances, income growth and employment. Commodity price volatility
tends to affect investment and production planning of both sellers and buyers adversely
and complicates the macroeconomic management of economies that are highly vulnerable
to such instability. Renewed efforts at the domestic and international levels to mitigate the
pass-through effects of world market volatility onto the domestic economy can therefore
contribute to long-term growth and development, especially in low-income countries.


In the past, attempts have been made to support producers in coping with global
price fluctuations through price stabilization funds. In the present-day context, securing
new international price stabilization mechanisms has low political feasibility. Stricter regu-
latory measures that help prevent excessive speculation on commodity markets could be a
more feasible step in the short run for stemming price volatility. As discussed in chapter I,
improvements in available compensatory financing mechanisms are also needed to help low-
income countries cope with commodity price shocks, provided such mechanisms allow for
swift disbursements and are free of the sometimes onerous policy conditionality attached to
existing mechanisms. Such mechanisms could also contribute to the creation of more space
for national Governments to implement counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies. Coun-
tries should consider further strengthening institutional arrangements, such as stabilization
funds, in order to smooth domestic development spending from export gains over time.8


8 For a more detailed discussion of the problem of instability in commodity markets, see United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Trade and Development Report 2008, op.cit.,
chapter 2.


Volatile terms of trade are
damaging to long-term


growth and development


Improved compensatory
financing mechanisms
are needed to support


countries coping with large
terms-of-trade shocks


Figure II.7
Terms of trade by region, 2000-2008


Index 2000 = 100


Developing economies: Africa
Developing economies: Latin America and the Caribbean
East, South and South-East Asia
Developing economies: Western Asia
Economies in transition
Developed economies


60


80


100


120


140


160


180


200


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


Source: UNCTAD, Trade and
Development Report 2008 and


UNCTAD Commodity Price
Statistics.


a Partly estimated.




57International trade


Trade policy developments: dealing with
multilateral negotiations in the midst of
financial and food crises


After nine days of intense negotiations at the ministerial level, the Doha Round broke
down once again at the end of July. Some measure of convergence had been achieved
with respect to both the agricultural and the non-agricultural market access (NAMA)
components of the negotiations, but the remaining differences proved unbridgeable. In
the crucial area of agriculture, of a “to-do list” of 20 issues, 18 had seen some narrowing
of positions. On one issue, the special safeguard mechanism (SSM)—which would allow
developing countries to raise tariffs on agricultural products temporarily in order to deal
with import surges and price falls—there was a clear divergence between developed coun-
tries (led by the United States) and others (led by India) on the so-called “trigger” (the size
of the import surge needed to trigger the tariff increase). Developing countries expected a
low trigger (above the base import volume) in order to safeguard their domestic producers,
while developed countries wanted the trigger to be as high as possible to avoid abuse of
the safeguard.


The difficulty in dealing with the special safeguard scheme was, however,
not the sole reason negotiations collapsed;9 rather, the breakdown appears to have re-
flected more deep-seated policy concerns among developing countries about the direc-
tion the Doha Round had taken, as well as fresh worries related to the state of the world
economy.


The structural weaknesses, evident in the stop-and-start history of the Doha
Round since its inception in 2001, refer to persistent concerns among developing countries
related to their not being allowed to define the Round’s development content, as originally
envisaged in the Doha Ministerial Declaration and subsequently agreed ministerial texts.
This revived memories of the Uruguay Round negotiations which, despite the promises at
the time, finally came to be viewed as a lopsided bargain. Such unease surfaced relatively
early on in the process, particularly in academic and civil society circles, leading to politi-
cal controversy over the treatment of such issues as cotton subsidies as well as over the per-
ceived neglect of a series of development-related issues which were either left outstanding
at the end of the Uruguay Round or became apparent during its implementation.10 More
recently, in July 2007, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD proposed five key objectives


9 This was the conclusion of Ambassador Crawford Falconer, Chairman of the Agricultural Committee
of the WTO, in his assessment of the breakdown of the WTO Trade Negotiating Committee. In
particular, he noted that in any subsequent effort to revisit the SSM, “we must recognize that it
was not, for any of the participants involved (and those participants include Members that were
not in the G7, it should be added), a purely technical breakdown. It was a political divide. In fact
there was progress made on it politically, and technically, during that week. But it was simply
not sufficient to bridge a political divide that had been enduring since at least Hong Kong. So,
illusion number one to guard against is that it can be resolved essentially technically”. See “Report
to the Trade Negotiations Committee by the Chairman of the Special Session of the Committee
on Agriculture, Ambassador Crawford Falconer”, WTO Committee on Agriculture Special Session,
JOB(08)/95, 11 August 2008.


10 For example, at the 2004 Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics of the World Bank,
Professor Gerry Helleiner argued that “it is more important for the WTO and other rules systems
to be broadly fair and acceptable, however long it may take to get them right, than to rush to
further liberalization as interpreted by major economic powers. If the current round of WTO
negotiations fails it will not necessarily be, as some suggest, a disaster for development”, as cited
in C. Raghavan, “Even patched-up, procedural deal in Hong Kong will be worse than failure”, South-
North Development Monitor, No. 5935, 13 December 2005.


The failure to complete
the Doha Round reflects
deep-seated differences in
policy concerns between
developing and developed
countries


Key concerns are to
preserve the intended
development content of
the Doha Round




58 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


that needed to be attained for the Doha Round to realize its development promise. As re-
ported in World Economic Situation and Prospects 2008, these objectives embraced critical
issues such as real market access for developing countries’ exports of goods and services;
improvements in multilateral trade rules to address existing asymmetries between devel-
oped and developing countries; adequate policy space for developing countries to align
trade agreements with national development strategies and to allow a more effective special
and differential treatment of developing countries; “development solidarity” in meeting
the implementation costs implied in the adjustments that developing countries would be
required to undertake; and coherence between regional and multilateral trade agreements.
Failure to make real headway on these counts would appear to go a long way in explaining
why the negotiations could not reach a successful and balanced conclusion.11


In addition, the critical situation of the world economy at the time of the July
2008 ministerial meetings may also have acted as a further constraint. There were already
clear signs, particularly in the United States, that financial markets had become fragile,
with potentially catastrophic consequences for all countries if a crisis were to break and
spread to the real economy. The July ministerial meetings also coincided with growing
concerns in many developing countries about their food and energy security. In address-
ing them, some net importers of grains were overwhelmed by the skyrocketing costs of
food subsidies, while many food producers introduced new export restrictions to enhance
national food security. It hardly seems surprising, therefore, that one of the stumbling
blocks leading to the halt of negotiations related to provisions allowing developing coun-
tries to temporarily increase tariffs on agricultural products in times of economic and
social difficulty.12 It is also not surprising, therefore, that the WTO ministerial meeting
scheduled for December 2008 was cancelled, as positions had not changed and no prog-
ress in the negotiations was to be expected.


Now, the overriding issue for trade negotiators is the financial crisis that has
already caused economic problems in advanced countries and is rapidly spreading to de-
veloping countries. There is growing recognition that global financial conditions weigh
heavily in shaping trade patterns. Therefore, the financial architecture should not be set
aside from trade negotiations. In particular, it has become evident, as discussed earlier,
that unregulated finance in a global setting has also expressed itself through commodity
and currency speculation, leaving countries totally unprotected in a largely liberalized
trading system.


Hence, the present circumstances call not only for meaningful reforms of the
institutional arrangements that emerged from Bretton Woods to address new threats to
global economic stability but also for a more integrated perspective on the reform agenda
which would move beyond the false dichotomy between trade and finance issues. Regu-
lating trade and finance should be considered jointly. Moreover, a proper, fair and well-
regulated system of global finance and currency exchanges has to be in place for develop-


11 Again, the remarks of Ambassador Crawford Falconer are telling: “But our task does not begin and
end with SSM. I need only mention Cotton—one of the other three or four potential deal-breakers,
which was not at all seriously addressed before things broke down with SSM. There is tariff quota
creation. There is tariff simplification. Yes, one might well take the view that these can fall into
place. But we also have to actually make that happen. And, while one might well rightly have held
the view that key elements elsewhere were essentially on the brink of resolution, not all of those
affected were in the room, and that would have needed further effort to ensure finalisation.” See
WTO Committee on Agriculture Special Session, op. cit.


12 For a detailed review of the WTO negotiations, see, for example, International Centre for Trade and
Sustainable Development, Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, vol. 12, No. 27, 7 August 2008.


The food crisis and the
global financial crisis have
increased concerns about


appropriate trade policy
strategies for developing


countries


The current context calls for
a more integrated approach


to regulating both trade
and finance




59International trade


ment concerns truly to become the centre of multilateral trade negotiations. This was well
understood by the original architects of the Bretton Woods system. John Maynard Keynes
explicitly argued for such a comprehensive approach: “Whilst other schemes are not es-
sential as prior proposals to the monetary scheme, it may well be argued, I think, that a
monetary scheme gives a firm foundation on which the others can be built. It is very dif-
ficult while you have monetary chaos to have order of any kind in other directions… [I]f
we are less successful than we hope for in other directions, monetary proposals instead of
being less necessary will be all the more necessary. If there is going to be great difficulty
in planning trade owing to tariff obstacles, that makes it all the more important that there
should be an agreed orderly procedure for altering exchanges… [S]o far from monetary
proposals depending on the rest of the programme, they should be the more necessary if
that programme is less successful than we all hope it is going to be”.13


At this critical juncture, as policymakers seek a stable and efficient system for
global finance, it is important that it not be separated from the goal of a fair and inclusive
system for international trade which allows for the full participation of developing coun-
tries in line with their development objectives and potential. Devising a coherent, rule-
based and authentically multilateral international system requires an integrated approach.
Given the open channels between the international trade, financial and banking systems, a
truly global, cooperative and non-partisan approach to tackling the most important issues,
such as commodity and currency speculation, must be found. But developing countries
have only a limited voice in international financial institutions. The global institution
that possesses the most credibility for implementing such an approach is therefore, more
than ever, the United Nations. The Member States of the United Nations recognized the
need for a more integrated approach of that nature and for better coordination among the
institutions on global economic governance at the Follow-up International Conference on
Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus,
held in Doha from 28 November to 2 December 2008. The outcome document calls for
a “review of the international financial and monetary architecture and global economic
governance structures in order to ensure a more effective and coordinated management
of global issues. Such a debate should associate the United Nations, the World Bank,
IMF and the World Trade Organization, should involve regional financial institutions
and other relevant bodies and should take place in the context of the current initiatives
aimed at improving the inclusiveness, legitimacy and effectiveness of the global economic
governance structures”.


13 J. M. Keynes, “Letter to Lord Addison, May 1944” in The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes,
Volume XXVI: Activities 1941-1946, Shaping the Post-War World, Bretton Woods and Reparations,
ed. Donald Moggridge (London: The MacMillan Press. Ltd., 1980), pp. 5-6.


The United Nations is
in a privileged position
to support an inclusive
process for revisiting the
state of global trade and
finance issues






61


Chapter III
Financing for development
Net resource flows from poor to rich countries


Amidst the unfolding global financial crisis, developing countries continued to make increas-
ing substantial net outward transfers of financial resources to developed countries, reaching
an all-time high of $933 billion in 2008 (see figure III.1 and table III.1). After a moderation
in the rate of increase in 2007, outward transfers increased more rapidly again in 2008. Net
financial transfers are defined as net financial inflows less net factor and investment income
payments to abroad which have become increasingly negative, implying resource flow out of
developing economies. This trend has been continuing for over a decade.


Much of the increase in the outflow during 2008 was concentrated in Western
Asia and Africa, as the economies in these regions generated increasing trade surpluses,
largely owing to the surge in oil and commodity prices in the first half of the year. As capital
inflows also remained relatively strong up until the third quarter of the year, these regions
were able to further increase international reserve positions in the aggregate. Net transfers
from countries with economies in transition also increased, from $101 billion in 2007 to
$171 billion in 2008, owing mainly to the strong increase in the trade surplus of the Rus-
sian Federation. In contrast, in Latin America and the Caribbean and East and South Asia,
net outward transfers declined in 2008 as a consequence of the financial turmoil, leading to
a significant reduction in private capital flows from the third quarter of the year onwards.


Net resource outflows from
poor to rich developing
countries reached an all-
time high in 2008


Figure III.1
Net financial transfers to developing countries
and economies in transition, 1997-2008


Billions of dollars


-1 000


-900


-800


-700


-600


-500


-400


-300


-200


-100


0


100


1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


Developing economies


Economies in transition


Source: Table III.1.
Note: Net financial transfers
are defined as net capital
inflows less net interest and
other investment income
payments abroad.
a Partly estimated.




62 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The effects of the financial turmoil are expected to be felt even more strongly
and more widely in 2009, not only through withdrawals of capital from emerging markets,
but also through a significant slowing of export prospects as the global economy deceler-
ates. Countries will face lower external surpluses in some cases or wider external deficits
in others and will increasingly draw on international reserves. The emerging markets will
be hit most directly through financial channels, propelled by declining investor senti-
ment, which has already led to an unwinding of carry trades. The sell-off in high-yielding
currencies and emerging market equities is evidence not only of a broad-based risk aver-
sion among investors but also of weakening growth prospects in the emerging economies.
Low-income countries will feel the consequences of the crisis more significantly through
trade channels. How strongly this will influence the pattern of net financial transfers will
depend on the prospects for private capital flows, official development assistance (ODA)
and debt relief, as discussed in the following sections.


Private capital flows to developing countries


Developing countries have been attracting high and growing levels of private capital flows
(see table III.2) since 2002, and this trend continued until the end of the second quarter
of 2008. With the exception of net portfolio investments, all components registered sig-
nificant gains.


Given the significant change in financial conditions facing developing coun-
tries since the beginning of the third quarter of 2008, the ability of a number of them to
raise capital has become severely compromised. The current financial turmoil is unlike
any other in over three decades. In distinct contrast to the Latin American debt crises of
the 1980s and the East Asian financial crises in the late 1990s, financial distress has been


The unwinding of
imbalances will affect net


flows of financial resources


Developing countries
continued to attract private


capital flows until the
second quarter of 2008


Table III.1
Net transfer of financial resources to developing economies and economies in transition, 1996-2008


Billions of dollars


1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


Developing economies 20.6 -4.1 -37.6 -118.9 -185.4 -154.5 -200.3 -295.8 -365.4 -545.4 -720.8 -773.3 -933.4


Africa -8.4 -7.0 13.0 2.5 -31.4 -16.6 -5.1 -19.6 -36.4 -64.7 -78.8 -67.0 -125.9
Sub-Saharan Africa
(excluding Nigeria
and South Africa) 5.2 7.0 11.9 9.1 3.0 7.2 4.5 5.8 2.5 0.3 -8.4 -6.0 -28.6


East and South Asia 18.9 -31.1 -128.0 -137.2 -119.8 -116.5 -145.0 -170.4 -177.7 -254.7 -375.2 -485.9 -431.9
Western Asia 10.6 11.5 34.2 6.7 -31.4 -24.4 -19.7 -44.0 -70.7 -136.7 -158.0 -144.9 -315.6


Latin America
and the Caribbean -0.5 22.4 43.1 9.1 -2.8 3.0 -30.4 -61.8 -80.6 -89.4 -108.8 -75.5 -60.0


Economies in transition -8.7 1.6 0.7 -25.1 -51.5 -33.2 -28.6 -39.2 -63.3 -100.7 -124.6 -101.1 -171.2


Memorandum item:


Heavily indebted poor
countries (HIPCs) 6.7 7.1 8.5 10.5 8.2 8.9 12.4 10.1 12.8 14.4 12.8 21.6 26.1
Least developed countries 11.5 10.1 13.5 11.5 6.6 9.7 9.6 8.9 8.1 3.3 -5.4 -4.3 -22.3


Sources: UN/DESA, based on IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, October 2008; and IMF, Balance of Payments Statistics.
Note: The developing countries’ category does not include economies in transition; hence, data in this table may differ from those reported for country
groupings reported in the IMF sources.
a Partly estimated.




63Financing for development


Table III.2
Net financial flows to developing countries and economies in transition, 1995-2009


Billions of dollars


Average annual flow


2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b1995-1998 1999-2004


Developing Countries


Net private capital flows 148.3 79.6 141.7 86.0 379.1 391.1 135.3
Net direct investment 113.0 145.8 207.6 179.7 298.4 350.6 312.7
Net portfolio investmentc 51.5 -20.3 -23.6 -122.6 47.4 -11.9 -100.7
Other net investmentd -16.1 -45.9 -42.2 29.1 33.5 52.6 -76.4


Net official flows 10.7 -15.4 -87.4 -125.1 -133.5 -149.1 -129.5
Total net flows 159.0 64.1 54.3 -39.1 245.7 242.0 5.7
Change in reservese -70.4 -206.0 -490.6 -609.1 -1054.3 -1123.7 -809.4


Africa


Net private capital flows 7.5 5.4 29.2 36.8 42.6 52.3 70.0
Net direct investment 5.1 16.7 29.1 29.2 43.9 45.9 47.2
Net portfolio investmentc 4.7 0.0 4.6 18.6 15.0 5.1 9.5
Other net investmentd -2.3 -11.3 -4.5 -10.9 -16.1 1.6 13.5


Net official flows 2.3 0.6 -6.1 -17.8 -2.1 5.0 2.6
Total net flows 9.8 6.1 23.2 19.0 40.5 57.4 72.6
Change in reservese -7.0 -14.9 -63.2 -76.8 -85.9 -145.1 -116.3


East and South Asia


Net private capital flows 54.5 45.5 90.8 43.8 155.5 277.6 8.6
Net direct investment 55.8 64.1 105.0 96.2 159.7 223.9 180.5
Net portfolio investmentc 17.8 -2.3 -9.3 -110.7 13.9 -25.3 -108.4
Other net investmentd -19.1 -16.3 -4.9 58.3 -18.1 79.1 -63.5


Net official flows 1.5 -6.7 -20.9 -21.8 -37.4 -10.2 -19.4
Total net flows 55.9 38.8 69.8 22.0 118.1 267.4 -10.8
Change in reservese -44.9 -165.7 -301.8 -386.9 -684.0 -780.7 -562.1


Western Asia


Net private capital flows 18.4 -3.4 -16.4 -4.1 83.6 -32.0 -24.2
Net direct investment 6.1 7.7 21.2 26.9 15.3 7.1 14.2
Net portfolio investmentc 2.2 -10.3 -24.1 -17.1 -14.0 -14.7 -20.4
Other net investmentd 10.1 -0.8 -13.5 -13.9 82.3 -24.4 -17.9


Net official flows -0.8 -16.0 -29.5 -66.9 -94.0 -146.3 -114.9
Total net flows 17.6 -19.4 -45.9 -71.0 -10.4 -178.3 -139.1
Change in reservese -9.1 -16.5 -91.8 -95.9 -153.5 -123.9 -110.7


Latin America and the Caribbean


Net private capital flows 67.9 32.0 38.1 9.5 97.4 93.2 80.8
Net direct investment 46.0 57.4 52.3 27.3 79.5 73.7 70.8
Net portfolio investmentc 26.8 -7.8 5.1 -13.4 32.6 23.1 18.6
Other net investmentd -4.9 -17.6 -19.3 -4.4 -14.6 -3.6 -8.6


Net official flows 7.8 6.6 -30.8 -18.6 0.0 2.3 2.2
Total net flows 75.6 38.7 7.2 -9.1 97.4 95.5 83.0
Change in reservese -9.4 -8.9 -33.8 -49.5 -130.8 -74.0 -20.3




64 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


exported from the United States to Western Europe, and then to the developing world.
While at the onset of the financial crisis net commercial bank lending to emerging market
economies was quite stable, despite the weakness in mature credit markets, heightened
concerns about the quality of global credit have now affected most developing markets.
The deterioration in investor confidence was mainly triggered by the impact of the United
States sub-prime mortgage crisis on balance sheets of banks across the global economy, but
especially on those in the United States and Europe. With the failure of major financial
institutions in developed countries, global interbank funding conditions have deteriorated
significantly. As a direct result, emerging market sovereign bond spreads widened dramati-
cally (see chapter I, figure I.5).


The spread on JPMorgan’s emerging market bond index (EMBI) broke 800
basis points in October 2008. This spread, which reflects how much more yield investors
demand to hold emerging market debt compared to safe haven United States Treasury
bills, was the highest since November 2002. Consequently, the cost and availability of
financing have become more difficult in emerging economies and asset prices in equity
markets in these nations have declined sharply. The latter development is derived in partic-
ular from the fact that institutional investors have withdrawn investments from emerging
economies to cover margin and redemption calls at home or in other developed country
markets (figure III.2).


In times of distress, when a country loses access to markets, there is evidence
that credit default swap (CDS) spreads are a better indicator of sovereign risk than the
EMBI.1 CDS spreads represent the marginal cost of debt, while a country’s EMBI is more
representative of the average cost of traded debt. During distress, it is the marginal cost that
is often more relevant: although CDS spreads are a derivative of the cash bond market, their
volatility and absolute levels may lead to a sell-off in the underlying bonds. This distinction
is important since the EMBI has a much greater duration owing to the weighted average of
all cash bonds. The CDS spreads for a sovereign bond are usually quoted for no longer than
a five-year maturity; hence, their duration is much shorter than for cash bonds.


1 Manmohan Singh, “Are credit default swap spreads high in emerging markets? An alternative
methodology for proxying recovery value”, IMF Working Paper, No. 03/242, December 2003.


The interest-rate spread on
emerging market debt has


increased sharply


Credit default swap spreads
are a better sovereign risk


indicator in times
of distress


Table III.2 (cont’d)


Average annual flow


2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b1995-1998 1999-2004


Economies in transition


Net private capital flows -1.1 5.6 42.9 73.1 141.6 41.2 51.5
Net direct investment 5.4 8.2 15.3 29.6 35.8 37.2 47.0
Net portfolio investmentc 1.4 -0.8 -6.0 12.7 16.5 -0.2 5.7
Other net investmentd -7.9 -1.8 33.6 30.8 89.2 4.2 -1.2


Net official flows 0.1 -6.2 -20.0 -29.2 -4.7 -7.0 -3.6
Total net flows -1.0 -0.7 22.9 43.9 136.9 34.2 47.9
Change in reservese 1.8 -25.5 -80.9 -138.2 -171.7 -131.7 -96.8


Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, October 2008.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecasts.
c Including portfolio debt and equity investment.
d Including short- and long-term bank lending, and possibly including some official flows to data limitations.
e Negative values denote increases in reserves.




65Financing for development


As can be seen from table III.3, at the end of October 2008, the bankruptcy
risk of emerging market Governments had increased substantially, compared with very
low default probabilities for most of 2007. In our sample, Ukraine has the highest CDS
premium (16.3 per cent), followed by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (15.5 per cent)
and the Russian Federation (10.1 per cent). These premiums compare with Iceland, for
instance, whose Government was the first victim of financial market turmoil in 2008 and


Higher bankruptcy risk in
emerging markets …


Figure III.2
Portfolio investment inflows to selected countries, 2007-2008


Billions of dollars


-20


-15


-10


-5


0


5


10


15


20
Fi


rs
t q


ua
rt


er
20


07


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


07


Th
ird


q
ua


rt
er


20
07


Fo
ur


th
q


ua
rt


er
20


07


Fi
rs


t q
ua


rt
er


20
08


Se
co


nd
q


ua
rt


er
20


08


Th
ird


q
ua


rt
er


20
08


Financial turmoil
2007


Global nancial
crisis 2008


India
Republic of Korea
Taiwan Province of China


Sources: Balance-of-payment
data from national central
bank websites.


Table III.3
Credit default swap spreads and annual probabilities of default in
selected emerging market countries, 31 December 2007 and 23 October 2008a


Credit default swap
(annual probabilities of default)


31 December 2007 23 October 2008


Brazil 103 (1.3) 571 (6.3)
Hungary 57 (0.7) 574 (6.4)
Korea, Republic of 47 (0.6) 620 (6.8)
Mexico 70 (0.9) 580 (6.4)
Russian Federation 86 (1.1) 1 056 (10.1)
Turkey 168 (2.1) 777 (8.1)
Ukraine 238 (2.9) 2 535 (16.3)
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 455 (5.2) 2 224 (15.5)


Sources: Deutsche Bank Research, available from http://www.dbresearch.com for 2007 data and Bloomberg for
2008 data.
a Credit default swap spreads in basis points and annual probabilities of default in percentage.




66 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


is rumored to be on the verge of insolvency, with a default probability trading at 25 per
cent in October 2008.


As a result, capital outflows from developing countries have intensified, leading
to tighter international and, in some cases, domestic liquidity conditions. The pronounced
reduction in investors’ appetite for risk has resulted in a retrenchment in short-term capital
flows to emerging markets, exerting pressure on local markets, and sharply raising costs of
credit.2 Together with slowing global growth, this results in a very challenging environment
for several developing countries. The Institute of International Finance (IIF) estimates that
for a group of 30 emerging markets, net short-term lending (by both banks and non-banks)
was $253 billion in 2007 and $141 billion in 2008, compared to average annual net inflows
of just $25 billion for the period 1997-2006.3 This is a clear indication that this leaves some
emerging markets more vulnerable to a reversal of short-term flows than at any time since
1996. The reversal of short-term interbank flows to both the Republic of Korea and the Rus-
sian Federation has been a key source of stress in these two economies.


Another group of countries is facing solvency risks, as they are not only relying
heavily on short-term foreign financing to meet large current-account deficits but are also
compromised in their policy options, owing to low international reserves and a substantial
stock of external debt. At the time of writing, Belarus, Hungary, Pakistan and Ukraine
have recurred to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency loans as they are
facing increased debt-servicing problems.


The unwinding of carry trades, which has led to a massive reversal of currency
positions out of high-yielding assets in emerging markets back into currencies of devel-
oped countries, in particular the Japanese yen, is another indicator that enormous liqui-
dations by international investors have had a widespread impact in the developing world.
An enduring credit crunch and a declining global economy have clearly affected several
emerging market currencies, even those that are running a large aggregate current-account
surplus. A broader group of currencies is suffering as investors have withdrawn money
from their markets. Moreover, plunging raw-material prices are weighing on currencies
in commodity-producing nations from Latin America and the Caribbean to sub-Saharan
Africa to the Russian Federation.


Amidst the current turmoil, any forecast of net private flows in 2009 will in-
volve a delicate balancing act, as it will not only be necessary to consider the current stop
and reversal in net private flows, but also to make assumptions about a possible recovery
in flows that might be expected as the year progresses. The fact that key economic indica-
tors in several developing countries (economic growth, prospective returns and nominal
interest-rate spreads) continue to appear more attractive than in mature markets suggests
a rebound of the current trend in private flows during 2009. At present, the correction
in world markets is characterized by a general flight from risk rather than by economic
fundamentals, with equity markets and interbank flows experiencing some of the biggest
declines. Farther down the road, the focus of international investors on economic growth
differentials between developed and developing countries may reverse this trend, although
this will depend on how developing countries are able to stimulate domestic demand to
offset weakening foreign demand. In this regard, those developing countries that have
large current-account deficits and are financed by short-term financial flows will be the


2 International Monetary Fund, Global Financial Stability Report—Financial Stress and Deleveraging:
Macrofinancial Implications and Policy (Washington D.C.: IMF, October 2008).


3 Institute of International Finance, report on “Capital flows to emerging market economies”, 12
October 2008.


… has led to additional
capital outflows


A number of countries face
multiple solvency risks


Emerging market
currencies have come
under pressure from a


number of sources


Capital flow reversals make
net private capital flows


difficult to forecast




67Financing for development


most vulnerable, and investors will differentiate among emerging markets by paying more
attention to economic fundamentals.


From a regional perspective, the impact of the global financial turmoil on Af-
rica has thus far been limited, as the risks of the majority of financial markets in the region
are not correlated with those in mature economies. However, during the course of 2008,
portfolio inflows have come under some pressure as global liquidity has tightened (see
table III.2). According to the IMF, issuances of foreign currency-denominated bonds by
African countries ceased in the first half of 2008, after doubling yearly from $1.5 billion
in 2005 to $6.5 billion in 2007.4 An additional con cern in Africa is the indirect effect of
volatile and falling commodity prices, particularly that of crude oil, on export revenue and
the inflow of capital into the region. In the short term, countries such as South Africa are
financing a very large current-account deficit, about 8 per cent of gross domestic product
(GDP),5 with private capital flows. If the capital flows dry up, South Africa will have to
contract this deficit.


In East and South Asia, Governments are more adversely affected by the global
financial crisis. The dramatic reversal in portfolio equity flows (see table III.2) reflects the
net selling of equities by foreign investors. This selling pressure has been both a cause and
an effect of sustained weakness in emerging equity markets through 2008. The equity
sales have been particularly pronounced in the Republic of Korea, where investors have
withdrawn a massive net $45 billion in 2008.6 Despite the enormous accumulation of
foreign-currency reserves in all major East and South Asian countries over the past few
years, the widespread wave of currency weakness experienced in the region and the rise in
dollar-funding pressures for banks show that vulnerabilities remain. These developments
are also an important indicator of the high degree of interconnectedness within the global
financial system. While the recent fall in oil and food prices has reduced the upward pres-
sure on inflation in many Asian countries, food prices remain at a very high level relative
to last year’s record.


The largest expansion of credit flows to Western Asian borrowers on record in
20077 was sharply reversed in 2008 (see table III.2). Along with the global credit crunch,
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in particular, have experi enced a
severe contraction of interbank liquidity and rising spreads on corporate debt. While for-
eign-asset growth of oil-exporting countries in the first half of 2008 was well above 2007
levels, oil prices are no longer rising faster than domestic spending and investment, thus
lowering the accumulation of international reserves. However, as both the Governments
and the central banks remain in strong financial positions, tighter credit conditions are
likely to have only a limited effect on investment activities in the region. Governments
have started to stimulate domestic credit flows and investment.


While economic growth prospects remain positive for Latin America and the
Caribbean, the economic and financial crisis in the United States has clearly heightened
uncertainties in the region. The region has witnessed a slowdown in portfolio flows (see


4 International Monetary Fund, World Economic and Financial Surveys—Regional Economic Outlook:
Sub-Saharan Africa (Washington D.C.: IMF, October 2008).


5 See “South Africa releases the 2008 International Monetary Fund’s Article IV Report and
Financial System Stability Assessment Report”, National Treasury of the Republic of South
Africa, press release, 22 October 2008, available from http://www.finance.gov.za/comm_media/
press/2008/2008102201.pdf.


6 Institute of International Finance, op. cit.


7 Bank for International Settlements, “International banking and financial market developments”,
BIS Quarterly Review, June 2008.


Africa’s exposure to the
crisis has thus far been
limited …


… while East and South
Asia have experienced
more direct effects


Strong financial positions
help Western Asian
economies weather
the storm


Latin America is facing
an increasing number
of downside risks




68 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


table III.2), large declines in stock price indices and significant currency adjustments.
While financial conditions have not deteriorated more than in other regions in the current
global economy, Latin America and the Caribbean’s surplus is waning and will most likely
turn into a modest deficit in 2009.8 The stagnation in economic growth of mature econo-
mies will affect Latin America and the Caribbean through several channels: a decline in
the world’s demand for the region’s exports, falling remittances, weakening commodity
prices, higher borrowing costs and the impact of tight monetary policies that the region
has been pursuing to tame inflation. Thus, the cyclical downturn in Latin America and the
Caribbean is now envisaged to be more pronounced and subject to a widening of downside
risks in comparison to other regions.9 In Mexico, for example, remittances fell by 6.9 per
cent year on year in July.10 Of further concern are oil prices, as oil exporters such as Ec-
uador, Mexico and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are exposed to the effect of any
further retreat of crude prices on fiscal balances.


Falling oil prices, selling pressure in equity markets and a major pullback in
net bank lending (see table III.2) provide a combination of factors affecting economies
in transition. As a result, economic growth is set to slow in these countries, in particular
in the Russian Federation. Most significantly, the sharp reversal of short-term interbank
flows to the Russian Federation has been a key source of stress, and they are predicted to
stay at low levels in 2009.


In summary, the flow of foreign capital in recent years has become the main
driver of the business cycle in quite a number of emerging market and other developing
economies. That the process is driven primarily by variations in the availability of foreign
capital rather than by developments in the host countries is strongly indicated by the sig-
nificant size of variations in the overall flow of capital. When foreign investors develop an
appetite for risk, there is a boom in capital flows; the bust is marked by a “flight to qual-
ity” (or risk aversion). Despite the fact that key economic indicators in several developing
countries continue to appear more attractive than in mature markets, the sharp reversal
in capital flows is now putting an end to a period of strong global economic growth and
ample availability of liquidity in these countries. This development is already posing severe
credit restraints, in particular in developing economies that are running current-account
deficits. While the development of local-currency debt markets has led to progress in
the reduction of currency mismatches in many developing countries, these markets are
nevertheless characterized by short-term biases and have not solved problems of market
liquidity. Most developing countries still lack sufficiently developed markets for corporate
and government bonds, which further limits their scope for conducting counter-cyclical
marcoeconomic policies.


Foreign direct investment


Foreign direct investment (FDI) has historically been the more stable component of cross-
border private capital flows over the past few years, buoyed by strong economic growth
and improvements in the investment climate in a number of countries. While many devel-


8 Institute of International Finance, op. cit.


9 See Chapter IV of the present report, as well as World Bank, “Latin America and the Global Crisis”,
report prepared by the Office of the Chief Economist for the Latin America and the Caribbean
region, 8 October 2008, available from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/LACEXT/Resources/
GlobalEconomy.pdf.


10 Data from Banco de México, the central bank of Mexico.


The Russian Federation has
seen a sharp reversal in


short-term interbank flows


The sharp reversal in capital
flows is putting an end to a


phase of strong growth


More cautious business
sentiment is leading to


slowing FDI flows …




69Financing for development


oping countries have attracted FDI through privatizations and mergers and acquisitions
(M&As), funding for these activities will become harder to obtain in the coming months.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Invest-
ment Report 2007 predicts that FDI flows to emerging markets in 2008 will decline by
10 per cent.11 Since global business sentiment will become far more cautious in the com-
ing months, FDI flows may slow even further in 2009. The Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated that outflows of FDI from OECD
countries in 2008 could fall by about $680 billion, or 37 per cent, from their 2007 levels.12
Based on the historical relationship between developing country inflows and changes in
OECD outflows, the OECD estimates that this could result in a decline in 2008 of about
40 per cent for developing country inflows from 2007 levels.


Worldwide, FDI inflows reached an estimated $1.6 trillion in 2008 (figure
III.3). In the three major groups of economies (developed countries, developing countries
and economies in transition), the global economic slowdown and intensifying financial
turmoil have had different impacts on FDI inflows. While the decline is more distinct in
developed countries, several developing markets are still continuing to experience increas-
ing FDI inflows (table III.4). Net FDI inflows are forecast to accelerate slightly to emerg-
ing European markets, the Middle East and Africa in the coming quarters. An increasing
proportion of these flows takes the form of reinvested earnings.13 Up until the first half


11 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2007: Transnational
Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.07.
II.D.9).


12 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Investment News: Results of the work of
the OECD Investment Committee, issue 7, June 2008.


13 Institute of International Finance, loc. cit.


… but the effects vary
by region


Figure III.3
Inflows of foreign direct investment,
global and by groups of economies, 1980-2008


Billions of dollars


0


200


400


600


800


1 000


1 200


1 400


1 600


1 800


2 000


1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008


World


Developing
economies


Economies
in transition


Developed
economies


Source: UNCTAD FDI/TNC
database and UNCTAD
estimates for 2008.




70 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


of 2008, FDI was bolstered by buoyant profits of transnational corporations (TNCs) and
high commodity prices. Now that commodity prices have started to decline, commodity-
related sectors will be somewhat less attractive. This could hurt Latin America and the
Caribbean and Africa in particular in the months ahead.


Private equity firms, which account for one fifth of global cross-border M&As,
are highly dependent on bank loans and will be severely limited in their financing op-
tions in the months to come. While the global outlook for the international expansion
of TNCs still looks positive, particularly given the higher prospective economic growth
rates in developing countries, a lower level of investor confidence and more prudence may
influence investment plans in forthcoming quarters. As in previous financial crises, falling
asset prices and the tightening of credit conditions will lead to insolvency problems for
corporations and thereby to further asset deflation.


East, South and South-East Asia remain the most preferred regions for for-
eign investment, followed by the European Union (EU), North America and emerging
European markets. China is the most preferred investment location, according to a recent
UNCTAD survey.14 Although, the overall environment for FDI remains positive, the Chi-
nese Government has become more selective with respect to approving foreign involve-


14 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2008: Transnational
Corporations and the Infrastructure Challenge (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.08.II.D.23).


Investors are facing limited
financing options


East, South and South-East
Asia remain the preferred


regions for FDI


Table III.4
Inflows of foreign direct investment and cross-border mergers and acquisitions,
by region and major economy, 2007-2008


Billions of dollars


Region/Economy


Foreign direct investment inflows Cross-border mergers and acquisitions


2007 2008a
Growth rate
(percentage) 2007 2008


Growth rate
(percentage)


First
10 months Full year


First
10 months


First 10
months only


World 1 833.3 1 594.4 - 13.0 1 297.2 1 637.1 1 081.1 - 16.7


Developed economies 1 247.6 959.8 - 23.1 1 147.4 1 454.1 896.2 - 21.9
Europe 848.5 693.0 - 18.3 633.3 825.0 475.6 - 24.9
United States 232.8 175.6 - 24.6 313.7 379.4 328.4 4.7
Japan 22.5 15.0 - 33.6 20.9 21.4 14.9 - 28.6


Developing economies 499.7 540.9 8.2 124.2 152.9 161.4 29.9
Africa 53.0 62.3 17.5 7.9 10.2 25.8 226.6
Latin America
and the Caribbean 126.3 147.5 16.8 25.9 30.7 26.0 0.6
Asia and Oceania 320.5 331.1 3.3 90.4 112.0 109.5 21.1


Western Asia 71.5 57.6 - 19.5 23.7 30.3 30.6 28.8
South, East and
South-East Asia 247.8 272.5 9.9 66.7 81.5 78.6 17.9


Economies in transition 85.9 93.7 9.0 25.7 30.1 23.6 - 8.1


Source: UNCTAD.
Note: World FDI inflows are projected on the basis of 103 economies for which data are available for part of 2008, as of 10 November 2008. Data are
estimated by annualizing their available data, in most cases the first two quarters of 2008.
a Preliminary estimates.




71Financing for development


ment in investment projects.15 The Chinese authorities are giving priority to projects in the
interior of the country and those that promise a high degree of technology transfer.


While the services sector still accounts for the largest share of global FDI
flows, there has been a significant increase in FDI flows to the primary sector, mainly in
the extractive industries. The share of manufacturing in global FDI flows has continued
to decline. The share of TNC investments in extractive industries has more than doubled
since the 1990s. These industries account for a significant share of total FDI inflows in
some economies, and for the bulk of inward FDI in a number of low-income mineral-
rich countries. One of the challenges facing commodity-exporting countries, in particular
those in Africa, is how to channel revenues obtained from commodity exports towards the
areas of education, human resource development and infrastructure development, which
are essential for productivity improvements and for industrialization in general, as well as
for attracting FDI to the manufacturing sector.16 The current reversal in commodity prices
will magnify these challenges.


International financial cooperation


Official development assistance


There has been a significant turnaround since the United Nations International Confer-
ence on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico, from 18-22 March 2002,
when total net ODA was $57.3 billion, or $54 billion excluding debt-relief grants. The im-
pulse for a revival in assistance from OECD countries provided by the Monterrey Consen-
sus has weakened significantly in recent years. Net ODA has in fact declined in absolute
terms from $107.1 billion in 2005, to $104.4 billion in 2006, and further to $103.7 billion
in 2007, representing a fall of 8.4 per cent in real terms. Excluding debt-relief grants, ODA
to developing countries totalled $95 billion in 2007, compared with $82 billion in 2005
(figure III.4).


As a share of gross national income (GNI) of the member countries of the De-
velopment Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, ODA remained unchanged com-
pared with 2006, at 0.25 per cent; this share is only slightly higher than the pre-Monterrey
share of 0.23 per cent, but is well below the 0.33 per cent level of the early 1990s, and well
short of the intermediate target of 0.35 per cent set for 2010, to which DAC members have
committed themselves.17


Only five countries—Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and
Sweden—have met the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GNI, reaffirmed through
the Monterrey Consensus. ODA provided by the Group of Seven (G7) countries, in con-
trast, averages no more than 0.23 per cent of their combined GNI, with the United States
and Japan (despite being the largest donors in absolute amounts) providing the least ODA
in relative terms (0.16 per cent and 0.17 per cent of GNI, respectively).


Japan’s share in global ODA had declined from 14 per cent in 2002 to just 8
per cent by 2007, and the United States share is projected to fall from the current 23.5 per


15 World Bank, Global Development Finance 2008: The Role of International Banking (Washington, D.C.:
The World Bank, June 2008).


16 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Directory, Volume X:
Africa 2008 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.08.II.D.3).


17 See United Nations, MDG Gap Task Force Report 2008, Delivering on the Global Partnership for
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.08.I.17).


Manufacturing represents
a declining share in
global FDI flows


Net ODA has declined in
absolute terms since 2005


Only five countries have
met the United Nations
target for ODA




72 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


cent to below 19 per cent by 2010, compared with a forecast increase of the EU share to
64 per cent, up from 55.6 per cent in 2007. ODA by the EU-15 countries, which accounts
for 60 per cent of the total, currently amounts to 0.40 per cent of their GNI, with a com-
mitment to reach the 0.7 per cent target by 2015.


Landlocked and small island developing countries, whose special needs were
recognized in the Monterrey Consensus, received about $2.5 billion and $12 billion of ODA
in 2007, respectively. The 49 least developed countries (LDCs) continue to receive about one
third of all aid. Although their share of ODA, excluding debt relief, had increased from a low
of 15 per cent in 1998 to 38.5 per cent by 2006, the total DAC aid of $29.4 billion to these
countries constitutes only 0.09 per cent of their GNI, far short of the target of 0.15-0.20 per
cent of GNI to be achieved by 2010 in accordance with the Brussels Programme of Action
for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010. By 2006, only 8 countries had
met this target: Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Swe-
den and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Achieving the target of
0.16 per cent of GNI, on average, for DAC donors would require increasing the aid volume
to LDCs to about $62 billion per annum, that is to say, double the current level.


The rate of growth of ODA will have to increase markedly if the international
community is to meet the targets that they set for financing the internationally agreed
development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). If the com-
mitments at the 2002 Monterrey Conference and the 2005 Group of Eight (G8) Summit at
Gleneagles are taken as the benchmark, ODA (at constant prices) from major donors would
have increased by more than 60 per cent over the six years from 2004 to 2010. However,
halfway through this period, ODA from OECD donors has risen by only 15 per cent.


In order to meet the overall target of $130 billion by 2010 confirmed at the
2005 Gleneagles Summit, net ODA needs to increase by nearly $13 billion in constant


The least developed
countries receive about


one third of all aid


ODA needs to be stepped
up to meet agreed targets


Figure III.4
DAC members’ net ODA, 1990-2007, and DAC secretariat simulations to 2010


Billions of dollars Percentage of donor GNI


0


15


30


45


60


75


90


105


120


135


150


1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010


0.00


0.05


0.10


0.15


0.20


0.25


0.30


0.35


0.40


ODA as percentage
of GNI (right scale)


Total ODA
(billions of dollars)


0.33


0.22


0.33
0.28


0.35
Increase required to


meet current 2010 targets


Source: OECD/DAC database
and United Nations, MDG Gap


Task Force Report 2008.
Note: Figures are in 2004


prices. Data for 2008-2010
are based on DAC Secretariat


simulations.




73Financing for development


2004 dollars, or about $18 billion per year between 2008 and 2010 at July 2008 exchange
rates.18 Aid to sub-Saharan Africa has increased at a faster rate, but still not fast enough to
double to the $50 billion in real terms by 2010 pledged at Gleneagles. Net ODA to Africa
needs to increase by over $6 billion per year in 2005 prices to reach the targeted increase
of at least $25 billion a year by 2010. So far, only about $4 billion of this has been pro-
grammed into donors’ spending plans.


Some developing countries have become important sources of aid for other de-
veloping countries in recent years. Development cooperation provided by such donors has
grown strongly, even though the total volume is still small. Disbursements by non-DAC
donors have reached an estimated $8.5 billion, or 7.5 per cent of total aid flows in 2006, of
which about $7.1 billion came from other developing countries. Recent studies, however,
put the latter’s disbursements between $9.2 billion and $11.8 billion, which means their
share in total aid flows would have increased to between 7.6 and 9.6 per cent as of 2006.


Currently, the largest donors from the South, each providing at least $1 billion
per year, are China, India, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and if
recent large pledges materialize, the total flows might grow to about $15 billion by 2010.
Saudi Arabia and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela have achieved the target of 0.7
per cent, and the average grant element of all loan commitments by China, Brazil and
India was about the same as other countries, one third in 2005-2006. In addition, some
non-DAC countries have made substantial progress in 2007, although the increases have
come from a relatively small base; for instance, Lithuania raised its aid by 74 per cent, the
Republic of Korea by 43 per cent, and Latvia by 23 per cent.


Overall, most donors are not on track to meet their commitments to scale up
aid unless they make unprecedented increases in their aid budgets. This implies an average
annual growth rate of ODA of over 14 per cent in real terms over the remaining part of
the decade, compared with the 4.6 per cent observed since the 2002 Monterrey Confer-
ence. ODA to sub-Saharan Africa will have to increase by an average annual rate of 18
per cent, compared with 9 per cent in 2002-2006, if donors are to honour their pledges
to Africa. These pledges were reconfirmed at the Follow-up International Conference on
Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus,
held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008, where donors promised to
honour their commitments and emphasized that the financial crisis should not stand in
the way of their doing so. A further challenge for international development cooperation
is the additional resources required to meet the costs of dealing with climate change and
improving energy and food security (see box II.1 for estimated investment requirements
to deal with the food crisis; for innovative sources of financing, including those needed to
address climate change, see below).


Aid effectiveness


Important steps towards improving the quality of aid were made by the Paris Declaration
on Aid Effectiveness in 2005 and the subsequent efforts aimed at its implementation. The
2003 Rome Declaration on Harmonization and the 2005 Paris Declaration reflected a
commitment by over 100 Governments and international organizations to improve the
quality of aid as called for in the Monterrey Consensus. The signatories recognized the
principles of country ownership and acknowledged that development could not be im-
posed from above, and that aid therefore had to be aligned to national development strate-


18 Ibid.


Some developing countries
are becoming an important
source of ODA


Sharp increases in aid
budgets are needed


The Paris Declaration
marked an important
step in improving aid
effectiveness




74 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


gies. The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which took place in Accra from 2
to 4 September 2008, adopted the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), which made only fitful
progress in realizing the Paris Declaration commitments.


A multitude of challenges exist in aligning aid to national development and
ensuring aid effectiveness. In the context of the conceptual acceptance of “national owner-
ship”, action on this principle would require a decoupling of development assistance from
conditionality and giving countries the policy space to choose their own development
path. The DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness and Donor Practices has set out indi-
cators to monitor aid delivery and improve aid delivery mechanisms. As indicated by the
2006 and 2008 surveys conducted by the DAC secretariat, progress in each of the areas
of national ownership, harmonization, alignment, results and mutual accountability has
been slow and has fallen short of expectations. In Africa, for example, the greatest progress
was made in the areas of donor coordination and the alignment of technical assistance
with country programmes; planned programmable aid is expected to increase by 38 per
cent between 2005 and 2010. However, transaction costs associated with aid remain high
and only 46 per cent of aid flows were disbursed according to schedule in 2007.


The amount of resources reported as untied had reached 95 per cent of bilateral
aid by 2006, with some countries untying all of their aid, signalling considerable progress
on the 2001 DAC agreement to untie aid to LDCs. However, a major issue is the transpar-
ency of donors’ untied aid programmes. Currently, data do not cover important countries,
such as the United States, or certain forms of aid, such as technical cooperation or the
administrative costs of delivering aid. Many countries striving to reach the MDG goals
did not receive sufficient aid in spite of improved macromanagement, debt management
and increased capacity for aid flows.


Selectivity is still a defining feature of the present system of allocation of aid
flows, creating a situation where a few countries have a very large share of total flows.
At the same time, donors have not been able to resolve the problems of predictability,
volatility and herding. Aid surges in selected countries have led to a mistaken belief that
low-income countries may not have the capacity to absorb aid effectively and may suffer
from Dutch disease. These issues would not have arisen if the aid flows had been better
distributed among countries and if sudden surges were avoided by stretching out the in-
flow over a longer time frame.


Even developing countries at more advanced stages of development have prob-
lems managing a surge of flows within a short timespan. Short-term difficulties should not
be interpreted as indicative of long-term absorptive capacity. Lessons can be drawn from
countries which have had aid surges involving budgetary support. The conditions attached
to the aid inflows did not allow countries to use the excess liquidity generated for produc-
tive investments. The failure of the international financial institutions (IFIs) to correctly
gauge the implications of an expenditure framework generating excess liquidity led to
costly sterilization policies and an ensuing build-up of domestic debt. Lack of flexibility in
allowing countries to allocate the inflow based on their own priorities proved costly as it
reduced the fiscal space for development expenditure.


In actual practice, the resources released for development have been smaller
than aid statistics have indicated. The decomposition of aid-flow statistics gives a more
realistic estimate of the resources available for development. For instance, debt relief ac-
counted for a substantial part of the increase in ODA in 2005-2006; this included the large
debt-relief packages for Iraq and Nigeria. Total net aid statistics also include emergency
and technical assistance. In order to assess programmable resources, an emerging priority


Aligning aid to national
development goals remains


a challenge


Significant progress has
been made on increasing


untied aid


The smoothing of aid
flows can help to avoid a


multitude of problems


Development resources are
only a part of overall aid




75Financing for development


is the setting-up of an accounting framework to correctly report the resources available for
development. The United Nations provides a platform for working towards a multilaterally
agreed concept. The outcome document for the Doha conference on financing for develop-
ment adopted on 2 December 2008 calls for a more universal and accountable framework
for aid accounting and requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with OECD-DAC
and IFIs, to report on the matter to the Development Cooperation Forum of the United
Nations Economic and Social Council.


Innovative sources of development financing
and the new aid “architecture”


There has been considerable progress in implementing initiatives to finance development
through innovative channels under the rubric of “innovative sources of financing” in the
2002 Monterrey Consensus. An important challenge will continue to be the building of
consensus around pilot projects and, more generally, how to implement the reform agenda
for the aid architecture. Moreover, further exploration of new sources of innovative financ-
ing is expected. The Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Leading Group on Solidarity Levies
to Fund Development, held in Dakar on 22 and 23 April 2008, addressed the following
issues: the feasibility of taxing currency transactions; the stemming of illicit financial flows
from developing countries (a working group on which was established under the chair-
manship of Norway); remittances; and innovative financing mechanisms for environmen-
tal protection. Senegal and the next rotating Presidency, Guinea, were given the mandate
to prepare the Group’s contribution to the Doha follow-up conference to Monterrey. At
the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Group, held in Conakry in October 2008, a Declaration
on Innovative Financing for Development as a new mode of development aid was adopted
and presented to the Doha conference.


In the context of the broader aid architecture, innovative sources of financing
have thus far raised only a relatively small amount of funds. Other potentially more signif-
icant sources of innovative financing need to be developed. For example, there is renewed
interest in a currency-transaction tax in the light of the fact that such transactions can be
tracked in the same way that international transactions are monitored for anti-terrorism
and anti-drug money-laundering purposes. There are other proposals for internationally
coordinated taxes, such as on carbon emissions and arms purchases.


By providing resources in a stable and predictable manner, such taxation
schemes would efficiently complement ODA, which suffers from swings and fluctuations
in its levels due to donors’ politically dependent budget considerations. They could also
have the advantage of correcting certain negative externalities, in addition to providing
significant sources of development financing. For instance, a carbon tax could be justified
on environmental-efficiency grounds. Some members of the Leading Group on Solidarity
Levies to Fund Development have also expressed interest in expanding efforts to combat
tax evasion and capital flight under the rubric of innovative sources of financing.


It is important to stress that innovative financing should generate resources
complementary to traditional official development aid, without prejudice to the manner in
which these resources are reported. It should also be part of efforts to improve the quality
and efficiency of existing official development aid, especially with regard to predictability
and stability of funding to address long-term needs, early mobilization of funds for urgent
action and tailoring aid to the repayment capacity of countries. In addition, the new fund-
ing sources should explicitly address market failures, including through means of advanced
market commitments, development investment funds and counter-cyclical facilities.


Exploring new sources of
innovative financing for
development remains a
challenge


Complementarity is an
important characteristic of
innovative financing




76 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


With the proliferation of new sources of money for aid, the landscape in de-
velopment cooperation has changed. As mentioned above, non-DAC donors, including
those from the South, private foundations and philanthropic channels, are growing in
significance. It is estimated that these sources now constitute roughly one fourth of global
aid flows.


This recent proliferation of donors and alternative sources of development fi-
nancing has created a new challenge for international development cooperation: to ensure
adequate checks and balances for the provisioning and use of aid from all sources. The new
arrangements have evolved without systematic coordination among donors, international
financial institutions and recipient countries. The resultant number of donor missions in
each recipient country is burdensome, leaving little time, space or human resources for
independent policymaking. In view of these new actors and institutions, aid architecture
has become an even more complex, uncoordinated and fragmented system that lacks a
centrally directed political or technical framework.


There is a clear imbalance in development cooperation relations, as recipients
have very little power to influence development cooperation guidelines. “Ownership” is
closely linked to “representation”, but recipients of aid have very little voice in the govern-
ance of aid. The actual role of parliamentarians in the governance of aid is often trumped
by that of civil society. Aid recipients have a limited voice in the IMF and the World Bank,
both of which provide decisive access to aid. The World Bank’s Country Policy and Insti-
tutional Assessments, which have been found to be unpredictable and subjective, play a
major role in aid allocation, while developing countries themselves have little voice in how
they are being rated.


Bilateral flows dominate the composition of aid but offer no formal mecha-
nism for the voice of recipient countries to be heard, as bilateral donors are answerable
only to their legislative bodies. The changing landscape makes reform more urgent, and
the Doha conference provided an ideal opportunity to review and rebalance international
development cooperation.


External debt relief


The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief
Initiative (MDRI) have provided countries with an opportunity to reduce their external
debt-service burden. Along with these major debt-relief initiatives, the shift from bilateral
ODA loans to grants has significantly reduced the debt burdens of many low-income coun-
tries, particularly those that have reached the HIPC completion point and received addi-
tional debt relief from the MDRI. The HIPC status report of March 2008 estimated that
debt relief in all forms, including HIPC, MDRI, traditional debt relief and other “volun-
tary” bilateral debt relief, would reduce debt stocks for the 33 post-decision-point countries
from $105 billion to $9 billion, a reduction of more than 90 per cent. The debt service-to-
export ratio for all developing countries declined from almost 12.5 per cent in 2000 to 6.6
per cent in 2006, and to about 3 per cent in 2007 (figure III.5).19 The average debt-service
payment relative to GDP has been halved as a result of the initiatives, falling from 3.2 per
cent of GDP in 2001 to 1.5 per cent of GDP in 2007. For the HIPCs, the reduction in debt
burdens has created a better environment for investment and future growth.


The total assistance allocated to HIPCs so far amounts to $117 billion in nomi-
nal terms, including $49 billion under the MDRI, representing on average about 50 per


19 Ibid., pp. 28-29.


New sources of aid and
an increased number of


donors have emerged
without systematic


coordination


Recipients hold little power
in influencing development


guidelines


Lower debt levels have led
to a reduction in debt-


service payments




77Financing for development


cent of these countries’ 2007 GDP. The total cost to creditors of HIPC Initiative debt relief
for all eligible countries is estimated at $71 billion in end-2007 net present value (NPV)
terms. Nearly half of the cost represents irrevocable debt relief to the 23 post-completion-
point countries. Thus far, 33 out of 41 countries that have been found eligible or poten-
tially eligible for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative have received debt reduction.


Post-conflict countries have been encouraged to make efforts to become eligi-
ble for HIPC. Thus, the Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Somalia, the
Sudan and Togo are pre-decision-point countries, and some could receive debt relief. The
estimated cost of HIPC Initiative debt relief to these eight interim countries is estimated to
be $20 billion, most of which is attributable to three countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia and
the Sudan. Among the above-mentioned countries, the Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo
are making progress towards the decision point. This year, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo cleared
arrears to major creditors and could reach their decision points by the end of 2008.


The principal aim of the HIPC Initiative was to release resources for develop-
ment and thereby reduce poverty. Some low-income countries that received debt relief
have demonstrated remarkable efforts in this regard, increasing their public expenditures
on social sectors and poverty reduction programmes. In nominal terms, total poverty-
reducing expenditures amounted to about $21 billion in 2007, which represents an in-
crease of almost $15 billion since 2001. Poverty-reducing expenditures have increased in
sectors such as health, rural infrastructure and education. For the 33 post-decision-point
countries, such expenditures have increased on average from 6.7 per cent of GDP in 2001
to 8.8 per cent of GDP in 2007.


The success of the implementation of the HIPC Initiative requires sustained
efforts on behalf of the international creditor community. Important challenges are still
to be met to fully implement the HIPC Initiative and enable the remaining 18 pre-


Some recipient countries
have shown remarkable
efforts in reducing poverty


Considerable challenges
remain in achieving the
implementation of the
HIPC Initiative


Figure III.5
Debt-service payments as a proportion of export revenues, 1990-2006


Percentage


0


5


10


15


20


25


30


1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006


Heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs)


Developing economies


Least developed countries


Sources: UN/DESA, based
on data from Millennium
Development Goals
Indicators, available from
http://mdgs.un.org,
and World Bank Global
Development Finance
database.




78 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


completion-point countries to reach their completion points. These include ensuring full
participation by all creditors and mobilizing additional resources to finance debt relief to
all remaining HIPCs. Although most multilateral financial institutions have provided
debt relief under the HIPC Initiative and the MDRI, some small multilateral institutions
still need to be encouraged to participate in the HIPC Initiative.


While Paris Club members have made strong efforts in their debt-relief com-
mitments, the participation of non-Paris Club official creditors has been low, delivering
only about 40 per cent of their expected share in debt-relief operations for HIPCs. So far,
only 8 non-Paris Club creditors have delivered full relief and 22 creditors partial relief, but
21 creditors have not yet delivered at all on HIPC Initiative debt relief. The participation
of commercial creditors also remains low. They are estimated to have provided 33 per cent
of their commitments in 2008, which is better than only 5 per cent the preceding year.
Another issue related to the implementation of the HIPC Initiative concerns the litigation
actions by commercial creditors against low-income countries. Even though the amounts
involved are small in relation to total debt, the costs of litigation or resolution are signifi-
cant in relation to debtor countries’ export earnings and public budgets.


Reducing debt to a sustainable level remains an issue for many HIPCs. These
countries are far from achieving debt sustainability. Risks of debt distress remain high
among them, including those that have received full debt relief. Only 10 out of the 23
post-completion-point HIPCs could be classified as being at “low risk” of debt distress,
highlighting the fact that many countries continue to be vulnerable. Indeed, several mid-
dle- and low-income countries are suffering from debt distress but are not eligible for the
HIPC Initiative. These countries have no access to debt relief or to orderly sovereign debt
workouts, as granting debt relief is conditional and only countries with unsustainable
levels of debt are eligible.


Rehabilitating the global financial system


As analysed in chapter I, policymakers in developed countries fell behind the curve in
dealing with the emerging global financial crisis, having underestimated the depth and
breadth of the problems in financial markets and their link to the global imbalances.
During October 2008, piecemeal approaches were shed and policymakers in developed
countries moved to manage the crisis in a more coordinated fashion. However, the path
towards swift and improved policy coordination is hampered by the lack of institutional-
ized mechanisms to this end and by deficiencies in global governance structures. During
2008, further discussions have taken place on how to improve the regulation and super-
vision of a globalized financial system; how to improve the governance structure of the
international financial institutions; how to strengthen the foundations of surveillance and
policy cooperation on key systemic issues; and how to address the role of official financing
of emerging market and developing countries. These issues remain far from being resolved,
but the current crisis has increased the urgency of making further progress in this regard.


Regulating the global financial system


While tackling the financial fallout is an immediate priority, measures to address the
underlying causes of the disarray need to be taken. The final report of the Financial Stabil-
ity Forum (FSF) on this issue was presented in April 2008 and was endorsed by the G7


Risks of debt distress
remains high among HIPCs


A lack of institutionalized
mechanisms and deficient


global governance
structures hamper better


policy coordination


Addressing the crisis requires
more fundamental changes to


the financial system




79Financing for development


Finance Ministers and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).20
The guiding objectives of the report are to recreate a financial system that operates with
less debt and more capital, that is more transparent, that is immune to the kind of mis-
aligned incentives at the root of the current crisis, and that boasts stronger prudential and
regulatory oversight. There are policy recommendations on key areas, including prudential
oversight of capital, liquidity and risk management; transparency, disclosure and valuation
policies; the role and uses of credit ratings; and the authorities’ responsiveness to risks and
their arrangements for dealing with stress in the financial system.


The G7 accepted a number of FSF recommendations that had been identified as
immediate priorities for implementation by the end of 2008. These include prompt and ro-
bust risk disclosure; improvement of the accounting, disclosure and valuation standards for
off-balance sheet entities; the strengthening of risk management practices, including liquid-
ity risk management; and the revision of the code of conduct for credit-rating agencies.


The FSF also called for additional measures relating to international interac-
tion and consistency of national emergency arrangements and responses to address the
current financial crisis; the scope of financial regulation, with a special emphasis on un-
regulated institutions, instruments and markets; and better integration of macroeconomic
oversight and prudential supervision.


The FSF-inspired measures to strengthen the global financial system, which
are basically confined to improved disclosure, prudential controls and risk management,
are now generally seen as not going far enough to address the inherent pro-cyclicality of
the financial system, which tends to foster asset price bubbles. Regardless of the specific
source of disturbance, almost all episodes of systemic financial distress have at their root
very rapid credit growth, excessive risk-taking and overextension of balance sheets in good
times, all masked by the strength of the real economy and extraordinary increases in asset
prices.


As also argued in chapter I, recent developments have highlighted the im-
portance of expanding the macroprudential tools of current regulatory frameworks. The
approach would be to encourage the build-up of sufficiently high buffers (capital require-
ments, for example) in good times, when the market price of risk falls and imbalances
might develop, in order both to restrain expansion during upswings and to provide a
greater cushion against losses when disruptions occur. While financial leverage is a key
ingredient of the private risk-taking necessary for investment and economic growth, it also
tends to amplify both booms and downturns. By developing policy instruments to lower
or raise capital requirements depending on the specific situation, authorities would be bet-
ter equipped to utilize market incentives to reduce systemic risk.


The FSF report did not address pro-cyclicality per se because of the urgency
of making concrete recommendations in other areas. However, the Forum has alluded
to some aspects of pro-cyclicality from a longer-term perspective, including the capital
regime, loan-loss provisioning practices, compensation arrangements, and the interactions


20 See Financial Stability Forum, “Report of the Financial Stability Forum on Enhancing Market and
Institutional Resilience”, 7 April 2008, available from http://www.fsforum.org/publications/r_0804.
pdf. Based on the original proposals, the Financial Stability Forum submitted a follow-up report
on 10 October 2008 which reviews the implementation of the recommendations set forth by
the April report in five areas: (a) strengthened prudential oversight of capital, liquidity and risk
management; (b) enhanced transparency and valuation; (c) changes in the role and uses of credit
ratings; (d) strengthened responsiveness of authorities to risks; and (e) robust arrangements for
dealing with stress in the financial system.


The G7 accepted a number
of FSF recommendations


FSF proposals are not going
far enough to deal with
the pro-cyclicality of the
financial system


The build-up of buffers in
good times can provide a
cushion in a downturn




80 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


between valuation and leverage.21 To this end, assessing the potential pro-cyclical impact
of the New Basel Capital Accord (Basel II) is considered one of the most important priori-
ties for supervisory authorities and central banks.


The crisis has also highlighted the importance of greater international coop-
eration in financial sector monitoring and regulation, which are still basically national
in nature. There is growing tension between global financial integration and deficits in
international governance inconsistent with current global realities. There is a need to move
towards an international macroprudential and regulatory architecture that is more inte-
grated in its approach, has coordinated standards and structures, and that involves greater
clarity of respective responsibilities and objectives as well as closer and more effective
cross-border coordination and collaboration among supervisors, regulators, central banks
and fiscal authorities. This global system of financial regulation, based on credible interna-
tional rules, may require an international body (or bodies, such as the colleges of supervi-
sors for systemically important financial institutions, as proposed by the FSF) that would
have an explicit mandate for financial oversight and monitoring, as well as early-warning
capabilities and the force and authority to ensure that those warnings are acted upon.


It is equally important to develop ex ante agreed and consistent principles
and practical guidelines for cross-border cooperation and contingency planning for crisis
management. Indeed, much of the preparatory work to facilitate management of the inter-
national financial crisis has not yet been carried out.22 Nevertheless, national authorities
now better understand the need to have pre-existing plans for dealing with strains involv-
ing cross-border financial institutions, including large funding needs. Another important
issue is clarifying the arrangements for coordination of deposit insurance for cross-border
institutions.


The idea of a series of global summits on the reform of the international fi-
nancial system—dealing with basic principles, regulations and institutions—has gained
currency. On 15 November 2008, the United States convened the first such summit in
Washington, D.C. in the form of the Group of Twenty (G20), plus the United Nations,
the IMF and the World Bank. At this summit, there was still conflict, even among major
economic powers, over the extent to which international financial regulation should be
reformed, and the outgoing United States Administration could not accede in this re-
gard. However, a work programme, which includes accounting standards, supervision and
regulation and information exchange, was set out for consideration in a follow-up meeting
to be held in April before the Spring 2009 meetings of the Bretton Woods institutions.
At the same time, the President of the United Nations General Assembly created a Com-
mission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, led
by Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, to report on proposals to reconfig-
ure mechanisms and institutions of global economic governance based on lessons learned
from the financial crisis. The outcome document of the 2008 Doha conference, which
enjoys the consensus of all Member States of the United Nations, also stresses the need for
a strengthened and more effective intergovernmental structure that would carry out the


21 Statement by Mario Draghi on the “Report of the Financial Stability Forum on Enhancing Market
and Institutional Resilience: Follow-up on implementation”, at the eighteenth meeting of the
International Monetary and Financial Committee of the International Monetary Fund, 11 October
2008, available from http://www.imf.org/external/am/2008/imfc/statement/eng/fsf.pdf.


22 See, for example, “International governance for the prevention and management of financial crises”,
speech by William R. White, Economic Adviser and Head of Monetary and Economic Department
of the Bank for International Settlements, at the Bank of France International Monetary Seminar,
Paris, 10 June 2008, available from http://www.bis.org/speeches/sp080708.htm.


Global financial integration
has been accompanied


by a lack of international
governance


Consistent principles for
international cooperation


in crisis management need
to be agreed in advance


International consultations
on the financial crisis have


intensified




81Financing for development


financing for development follow-up and would review progress in the implementation
of commitments, identify obstacles, challenges and emerging issues and propose concrete
recommendations.


The series of substantial equity contributions to troubled financial institutions in
industrialized economies has led to the sudden visibility of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)
from emerging and developing countries and to numerous calls for the regulation of their
activities. The IMF International Working Group (IWG) of Sovereign Wealth Funds, com-
prising 25 member countries, was established in May 2008. It was set up to produce prin-
ciples that properly reflect the governance and investment practices of SWFs.


In October 2008, the IWG published a set of 24 principles (the Santiago Prin-
ciples) designed to ensure an open international investment environment. The purpose of
the Santiago Principles is to establish a transparent and sound governance structure; to
ensure compliance with applicable regulatory and disclosure requirements; to ensure that
SWFs invest on the basis of economic and financial risk and return-related considerations;
and to help maintain a stable global financial system and free flow of capital. The OECD
has been undertaking parallel work in drawing up a similar set of guidelines for recipient
countries. It is important that the guidelines for SWFs are no more onerous than those for
other large institutional investors and that they do not introduce an element of bias and
lack of evenhandedness in financial surveillance.


Governance reform at the Bretton Woods institutions


Voice and voting power


During 2008, only a disappointing amount of progress was made in reforming the gov-
ernance structures of the IMF and the World Bank in line with twenty-first century eco-
nomic realities. On 28 April 2008, Governors from 180 of the 185 member countries of
the IMF did, however, cast their vote on the proposed resolution on the quota and voice
reform package. Of these, 175 countries, representing 93 per cent of total voting power in
the Fund, voted in favour of the package. Three countries voted against, two abstained,
and five did not participate in the vote.23


The package includes a second round of ad hoc quota increases of close to 10
per cent based on a new quota formula, the tripling of basic votes and the appointment of a
second Alternate Director for constituencies consisting of at least 19 members. The resolu-
tion also requested the Executive Board to recommend further realignments of members’
quota shares in the context of future general quota reviews, beginning with the Fourteenth
General Review of Quotas, to ensure that members’ quota shares adequately reflect their
relative position in the world economy.


The realignment of quota and voting shares will lead to a net increase of 2.7
percentage points in the voting share of emerging markets and other developing countries
as a whole. This very modest increase was only made possible owing to the use of a com-
pression factor; the application for several emerging market and developing countries of
a weight to the purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP measure greater than that for other
countries; and, most importantly, the willingness of several advanced countries to forgo
part of the quota increases to which they would have been eligible by a straight application
of the proposed formula.


23 See “IMF reform secures backing by wide margin”, IMF Survey Magazine, 29 April 2008, available
from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2008/POL042908A.htm.


Equity contributions have
increased the visibility of
sovereign wealth funds


Progress on reforming
governance of the IMF and
the World Bank has
been disappointing




82 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


These ad hoc adjustments suggest that the new formula per se has not achieved
the stated goal of providing a simpler and more transparent means of reflecting members’
relative positions in the global economy. Indeed, without alterations, the voting shares of
developing and emerging market countries would actually have declined by 1.6 percentage
points. It is hardly rational to utilize, as an appropriate foundation for periodic reviews
over the longer run, a formula that produces changes in shares that move farther away
from a closer alignment of the voting power with economic realities.


The reform package recognizes the need for changes to the formula. According
to the Executive Board, further work is necessary on measuring trade openness; addressing
the treatment of intra-currency union flows; developing a method of capturing financial
openness; and measuring variability to adequately capture members’ potential need for
Fund resources.24 The agreed changes in members’ quota and voting shares are too modest
to influence the operation of the Fund.


Quotas and voting shares are only one aspect of IMF governance. Its legitima-
cy and effectiveness depends importantly on the institutional framework through which
members’ voting power is exercised. In this regard, there is a proposal to reduce the num-
ber of chairs on the Executive Board from 24 (of which 9 are currently being held by Eu-
ropeans) to 22 in 2010 and, further, to 20 in 2012, while preserving the present number of
developing country and emerging market country ones.25 A more balanced composition
and smaller-sized Board is considered important for transforming the Fund into a more
effective global institution. In September 2008, the Managing Director announced the
appointment of a Committee of Eminent Persons to assess the adequacy of the Fund’s cur-
rent framework for decision-making.


The IMF is currently running a deficit as a result of the decline in demand for
Fund resources since the late 1990s. This jeopardizes its ability to play a credible role in
the international financial architecture. Before the full scale of the global financial crisis
became generally recognized, agreement had been reached at the IMF on both expendi-
ture and income measures, including an expenditure reduction in the order of 14 per cent
($100 million) in real terms over the next three years. A new income model26 that moves
away from primarily lending-based income sources towards more predictable and sustain-
able investment-based ones was part of the package. The new income and expenditure
framework is expected to cover the $400 million shortfall projected in the medium term.


The World Bank has launched its own process of voice and participation re-
form. The first phase of the exercise will include the creation of an additional seat for
sub-Saharan Africa on the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors and the doubling of basic
votes. The dilution of the voting power of larger developing and transition countries will
be mitigated through an exceptional allocation of unallocated shares. Further realignment
of Bank shareholding will be taken up by the Board in a shareholder review, with the ul-
timate goal of moving over time towards equitable voting power between developed and
developing members. At its 2008 Annual Meeting, the Development Committee asked


24 International Monetary Fund, “Report of the Managing Director to the International Monetary and
Financial Committee on Reform of quota and voice in the International Monetary Fund”, 7 April
2008, p. 3, available from http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2008/040708.pdf.


25 Statement by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America, at the
eighteenth meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the International
Monetary Fund, 11 October 2008, available from http://www.imf.org/external/am/2008/imfc/
statement/eng/usa.pdf.


26 See “IMF Board of Governors approves key element of IMF’s new income model”, International
Monetary Fund press release No. 08/101, 6 May 2008, available from http://www.imf.org/external/
np/sec/pr/2008/pr08101.htm.


The agreed changes are
too modest to achieve


significant change


The institutional framework
determines the legitimacy


and effectiveness
of governance


The current IMF deficit
prevents it from playing


a credible role in the
international financial


architecture


Institutional reforms at the
World Bank continue




83Financing for development


the Board to develop proposals by the 2010 Spring Meeting, and no later than the 2010
Annual Meeting, with a view to reaching consensus on realignment at the subsequent
meeting in 2011.27


Multilateral surveillance


As regards its assigned responsibility for multilateral surveillance, there remains a strong
perception that the Fund has been sidelined in the handling of the present crisis. The IMF
reacted to events as they occurred, endorsing the actions taken by major developed coun-
tries. Since it is indisputable that the global financial crisis requires global solutions, the
world economy now more than ever needs a credible IMF with a governance structure that
is more representative of developing country interests, and one which can exercise strong
policy leadership.


The major thrust of the ongoing reform of IMF surveillance mechanisms,
which has assumed greater urgency in the light of the crisis, is to strengthen the analysis
of macrofinancial linkages, integrating multilateral perspectives in bilateral surveillance,
and enhancing the work on financial markets. It is recognized that the Fund will need to
develop new and better analytical instruments to enhance its ability to detect emerging
risks, including the extension of the vulnerability exercise to advanced countries, in order
to improve the understanding of transmission mechanisms both within global financial
markets and between financial markets and the real economy.


Since the 1980s, the IMF has mainly been focused on problems in emerg-
ing markets and developing countries, devoting insufficient attention to major financial
centres and vulnerabilities in global financial markets. The ongoing financial crisis under-
scores the need for the Fund to maintain a sharp focus on risks in the major developed
countries, especially the reserve currency-issuing countries, and their potential spillover
effects. Consequently, much work still needs to be done to improve surveillance over the
mature financial markets and advanced economies. This will be essential for ensuring that
a reformed IMF remains relevant and properly discharges its mandate in promoting global
economic and financial stability.


One of the most important areas of the Fund’s work is surveillance over the
exchange-rate policies of its members. In June 2007, the Executive Board approved an
updating of the 1977 surveillance decision.28 The update puts exchange-rate assessment at
the centre of IMF bilateral surveillance, while external stability becomes the overarching
principle of the surveillance framework.


The 2007 decision aims at providing a coherent framework within which ex-
change-rate issues can be assessed in the overall context of external stability. However, an
over-reliance on quantitative models may divert attention away from a meaningful analysis of
external and internal stability as well as from consideration of economic policy as a whole.


The assessment of a member’s external stability should not be restricted to
exchange-rate developments. The Fund’s analysis should remain comprehensive, taking
into account the overall macroeconomic situation, with emphasis on the consistency and


27 Communiqué of the Development Committee, the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Board of
Governors of the Bank and the Fund on the transfer of real resources to developing countries,
Washington, D.C., 12 October 2008, available from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/
DEVCOMMINT/NewsAndEvents/21937474/FinalCommunique101208.pdf.


28 See, “IMF Executive board adopts new decision on bilateral surveillance over members’ policies”,
International Monetary Fund, Public Information Notice (PIN), No. 07/69, 21 June 2007, available
from http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pn/2007/pn0769.htm.


The IMF has been sidelined
in handling the present
crisis


New and better analytical
instruments are needed to
detect emerging risks


Surveillance of mature
financial markets needs
to be improved


While exchange-rate
assessment lies at
the centre of bilateral
surveillance …


… there remains a need for
a comprehensive approach




84 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


sustainability of the overall policy mix. The surveillance should be focused on the relevant
challenges in individual countries and should avoid exchange-rate issues’ crowding out at-
tention to other important elements which determine macroeconomic stability in specific
contexts. In this regard, it has been argued that more needs to be done in this field to
ensure effective and evenhanded implementation of the decision.29


It is also considered important that surveillance over exchange-rate policies
strike the right balance between candor and confidentiality of advice. It is essential that
the Fund remain cautious and nuanced in presenting its exchange-rate assessments in view
of the large margin of error and market impact.


In addition to the new surveillance decision, the IMF Executive Board reached
agreement on a “Statement of Surveillance Priorities” in the context of the 2008 Triennial
Surveillance Review (TSR). The four key policy objectives identified in the Statement are:
to resolve financial-market distress; to strengthen the global financial system; to adjust to
sharp changes in commodity prices; and to promote the orderly reduction of global imbal-
ances. The fundamental goal of this effort should be to strengthen the spirit of cooperation
by reaching a consensus among all members on the role of surveillance in assisting govern-
ments in dealing with the challenges of the integrated global economy.


Liquidity provisioning both during and for the prevention of crises


Amidst the current financial market turmoil, the need for providing official liquidity has
once again become the primary focus of Governments around the world. In its turn, the
IMF has activated its emergency procedures—a mechanism to speed up lending in a cri-
sis. As of mid-October 2008, several countries (Hungary, Iceland, Pakistan and Ukraine)
had asked the IMF for financial assistance. According to the Managing Director of the
Fund, the conditions of the loans will be fewer and they will be more targeted than in the
past.30 While the IMF has more than $200 billion worth of funds available for loans and
can raise more money, if necessary, by tapping agreements to borrow from several member
countries, the expected volume of the rescue packages could exhaust IMF resources given
the current state of financial markets.


In addition to the financial crisis, the international community has had to deal
with the food crisis. At its Spring 2008 meeting, the Development Committee requested
the Fund and the Bank to be ready to provide timely policy and financial support to vul-
nerable countries dealing with negative shocks, including those from food prices.31 As of
October 2008, 11 countries had received about $200 million in additional assistance under
existing lending programmes supported by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
(PRGF). Five new PRGF arrangements for about $274 million to help in part with com-
modity-price shocks were also approved. The IMF Executive Board also approved changes
to the Exogenous Shock Facility (ESF) to make it more useful to low-income members. The
changes are aimed at enabling the Fund to provide more rapid and effective assistance in


29 See, for instance, statement by Stefan Ingves, Governor of Sveriges Riksbank, at the eighteenth
meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the International Monetary
Fund, 11 October 2008, available from http://www.imf.org/external/am/2008/imfc/statement/
eng/swe.pdf.


30 “IMF in talks on loans to countries hit by financial crisis”, IMF Survey Magazine, 22 October 2008,
available from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2008/new102208a.htm.


31 Communiqué of the Development Committee, the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of
Governors of the Bank and the Fund on the transfer of real resources to developing countries,
Washington, D.C., 13 April 2008, available from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DEVCOMMINT/
NewsAndEvents/21728301/Apr_2008_DC_Communique_E.pdf.


The provision of liquidity
has become a key aspect of


dealing with the crisis


Assistance is also needed to
address the food crisis




85Financing for development


the event of shocks, with faster disbursement based on up-front policy commitments and
streamlined procedural requirements. However, further revisions of the ESF are considered
necessary to increase the level of access and to streamline conditionality.32


The World Bank announced in May 2008 that it would support international
efforts to overcome the global food crisis with a new $1.2 billion rapid financing facility
to address immediate needs, including $200 million in grants targeted towards the vul-
nerable in the world’s low-income countries. The $1.2 billion funding ceiling should be
reached by May 2009.33


Along with addressing immediate member needs, the Fund has launched a
review of its lending role with a view to reaching decisions before the 2009 annual meet-
ings. The priorities of the review include finalizing a new crisis-prevention instrument,
re-examining lending facilities for low-income countries and reviewing access limits and
financing terms for using Fund resources.


At least in part, the review has been a response to recent low demand for IMF
facilities. The decline in demand for IMF credit over the last decade can be attributed to
some extent to a rather long period of positive international economic conditions. At the
same time, the Fund’s lending toolkit might have failed to keep pace with the evolution
of the global economy.


The review of the IMF’s financial facilities should lead to a more coherent, trans-
parent and predictable framework that will allow the institution to fulfill its mandate ade-
quately. The IMF needs to move beyond its traditional stance of offering rigid instruments,
with low access levels in comparison to countries’ needs and with burdensome condition-
alities. The reform should also aim at simplifying and streamlining the lending framework
in order to provide clear signals to the markets, reduce its complexity and strengthen its
effectiveness, while also enhancing the flexibility and adequacy of IMF financing.


The onset of the food crisis reignited interest in mechanisms to protect develop-
ing countries, particularly low-income countries, from external economic shocks. Existing
compensatory facilities have high levels of conditionality and do not provide sufficient re-
sources relative to the shock, thus limiting their effectiveness for events beyond the control
of affected countries. Countries have responded to shocks either by non-concessionary bor-
rowing or by tightening fiscal and monetary policy, thereby undermining their own reform
processes in order to avoid the onerous conditionalities associated with existing facilities.


Over the past decade, developing and emerging economies have made sig-
nificant progress in consolidating fiscal balances and improving macroeconomic policy
frameworks. Many of them have also built buffers against external shocks in the form of
significant reserve accumulation. However, the recent financial market developments have
demonstrated that no country is immune to crisis and, hence, there is a strong need for
a lender of last resort. In the face of an exogenous and sudden stop in external funding,
emerging market and developing country domestic central banks are unable to inject suffi-
cient liquidity in the form of domestic currency, since this will not only be inflationary but
can also cause the domestic currency to depreciate, the domestic interest rates to rise con-
siderably, or both. There is also no guarantee that, during a major capital reversal or global
liquidity crunch, domestic central banks will have sufficient reserves to provide emergency


32 Communiqué of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on international monetary affairs
and development, 10 October 2008, available from http://www.g24.org/10-08ENG.pdf.


33 “Update on key issues and World Bank Group activities”, statement on behalf of the World Bank
Group, at the eighteenth meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the
International Monetary Fund, 11 October 2008, available from http://www.imf.org/External/
AM/2008/imfc/statement/eng/wb.pdf.


The IMF has launched a
review of its lending role


The food crisis has led
to increased interest in
mechanisms to protect
developing countries
from external shocks


The recent crisis has
highlighted the need for
a lender of last resort




86 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


liquidity assistance in foreign exchange. Indeed, the current crisis has demonstrated how
quickly a cushion in the form of foreign-exchange reserves could evaporate.


For these countries, the IMF, along with regional reserve-pooling arrange-
ments and swap agreements with developed country central banks, could potentially play
the role of international lender of last resort. Since the late 1990s, due to unusually benign
global conditions, demand for IMF lending has almost evaporated, while many borrowers
have made early repayments. However, it would be unrealistic to suggest that the need for
an international lender will never resurface again. The Fund should stand ready to help
its emerging market and developing country members cope with liquidity problems in an
environment of large and volatile capital flows. To this end, both appropriate facilities and
amounts of financing relevant to members’ needs are required.


In this regard, there have been proposals to increase normal access limits sig-
nificantly above the current 300 per cent of quotas. Over the past 10 years, access limits—
either measured as a share of GDP, trade or capital flows—have declined for emerging
market and developing countries. This has led to a more or less permanent need to provide
exceptional access, at exceptional financial and political costs, for countries experiencing
capital reversals. Despite the quota and voice reform package, the limits for non-excep-
tional access will likely continue to shrink further in comparison to members’ potential
needs. Accordingly, there is a view that quotas are not an appropriate metric on which to
base access to the Fund’s resources and that alternative ways could be explored.


In addition to increased normal access, there have been suggestions for ex-
amining the possibility of providing the IMF with mechanisms for the rapid granting of
short-term or very short-term loans, probably with the participation of reserve currency-
country central banks, to member countries affected by sudden international liquidity
crunches. When systemic financial crisis occurs, speed is critical for the restoration of
confidence in the financial system. The faster the access to funds, the smaller the amount
of money needed. The creation within the Fund of instruments for quick provisioning of
liquidity, similar to those used by central banks of advanced economies to cope with the
current turbulence, may be worth studying. This, together with much higher normal ac-
cess, could be the best response to the current crisis.


On 28 October 2008, the IMF Executive Board approved the Short-Term Li-
quidity Facility (SLF).34 The new facility comes with no conditions once a loan has been ap-
proved, and offers large upfront financing to help countries restore confidence and combat
financial contagion. To be eligible, countries should have a good track record of sound poli-
cies borne out by the most recent regular country assessment of the IMF. Disbursements
of IMF resources can be as much as 500 per cent of quota, with a three-month maturity.
Eligible countries are allowed to draw up to three times during a 12-month period.


As in the case of national central banks, an international lender must deal with
the problem of moral hazard. There is almost a consensus that the best way to limit moral
hazard is to develop a well-functioning prudential, regulatory and supervisory system.
At the international level, moral hazard concerns could be addressed through existing
mechanisms: the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP); the preparation of Reports
on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs); and the publication of Financial
Soundness Indicators (FSIs). This surveillance, if performed diligently, should enhance the
effectiveness of central bank-like emergency liquidity provisioning by the Fund.


34 See “IMF to launch new facility for emerging markets hit by financial crisis”, IMF Survey Magazine, 29
October 2008, available from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2008/POL102908A.
htm.


There have been proposals
to increase normal


access limits …


… but the design of
instruments for quick


liquidity provision also
needs to be considered


The IMF Executive Board
approved the Short-Term


Liquidity Facility


Well-functioning regulatory
systems are the best way to


deal with moral hazard




87Financing for development


Since IMF emergency lending in large volumes is meant mainly to respond to
situations of capital reversals, policy conditionality should include measures to stem the
size and volatility of capital inflows. The Fund should support government policies to exer-
cise prudential regulations for managing the impact of external flows on domestic balance
sheets, thereby minimizing financial injections in crisis situations.


The Doha follow-up conference on financing
for development and broader reforms


The financial crisis has broadened the consensus on the urgency of far-reaching reform of
global economic governance and the international financial architecture. This effort is not
likely to be completed at one meeting or in one specific forum. The G20-sponsored process
will involve a series of meetings that will consider technical reports. Actual progress and
effective reforms will depend on the political consensus that can build upon proposals that
have already been discussed in many circles. It is therefore important that a genuinely polit-
ical decision-making process, and one which is well-supported technically, provide the basis
for the reform of the international system. Notable progress in this direction was achieved
at the Doha follow-up conference on financing for development, but the process has only
begun. As a genuinely universal body, capable of eliciting political commitment, the United
Nations General Assembly should expand its participation in efforts towards this end.


The United Nations
General assembly should
expand its involvement in
reforming global economic
governance






89


Chapter IV
Regional developments
and outlook
Developed market economies


Economic activity plummeted precipitously in the developed country region over the
course of 2008, with many of the major economies now technically in recession.1 Con-
cerns of policymakers over inflationary pressures in the summer of 2008, resulting from
the surging commodity prices and possible second-round effects via increasing wage pres-
sures, have shifted quite dramatically to concerns over real activity and the heightening
risks of a protracted recessionary period.


Slumping housing markets that led to downturns in consumer spending and,
more importantly, that exposed dangerous weaknesses in banking systems causing severe
problems in credit markets have been a major drag on activity since autumn 2007. But
the situation entered a more dangerous phase in September 2008, with risk aversion ris-
ing dramatically in many financial markets leading to a full-scale financial crisis. Invest-
ment spending is now slowing sharply in most economies in the region, and with negative
growth impulses spreading across the globe, developed market exports, particularly those
to fast-growing Asian and oil-producing countries, are now slowing dramatically.


North America: How severe will the
recession in the United States be?


The economy of the United States of America has fallen into a recession. At issue are its
depth and duration. The economy has been fragile since 2007, but until mid-2008, the
major drag had been a slump in the housing sector, while strong external demand and a
sizeable fiscal stimulus package had kept the economy growing at a mild pace. The situ-
ation deteriorated significantly in the second half of 2008 as the credit crisis intensified
dramatically. The severe credit crunch has turned a sector-led slowdown into a full-scale
retrenchment of households and businesses affecting the economy at large. In response to
the financial meltdown, the Government has drastically strengthened its policy stance,
including by passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), which, among
other measures, allocated $700 billion to enable the Government to recapitalize banks.2
Effective implementation of the EESA, along with further monetary easing, might eventu-
ally stabilize financial markets, but the package came too late to prevent the real economy
from falling into recession. In the baseline outlook, gross domestic product (GDP) growth
is forecast to be -1.0 per cent in 2009, compared with an estimated, still positive, growth of
1.2 per cent for 2008 (see table A.1). Risks for a much deeper and longer recession remain
high should all the policy measures fail to thaw the credit markets soon.


1 A technical recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative, quarter-on-quarter
growth.


2 See chapter I for details of the rescue plan and other unorthodox policies in use to combat the
financial crisis.




90 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The housing sector, which was the trigger for the financial crisis, has been in
a slump for two years. New home sales have dropped by 60 per cent from their peak of
2006, and existing home sales have fallen by about 40 per cent. Builders continue to re-
duce supply, pushing housing starts to their lowest level in more than 15 years. Although
inventories of unsold homes have started to drop, they are still at a high level. House
prices continued to fall in 2008, by about 16 per cent as measured by the Standard and
Poor’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for twenty cities. In the outlook for 2009, the
tightened credit conditions will make it difficult for the housing sector to recover, and a
weakening broad economy, particularly one with rising unemployment, will continue to
exert strong downward pressure on the demand for houses.


Household consumption spending is expected to decline (see figure IV.1).
Households are facing massive constraints: wage and salary income is decelerating as un-
employment rises, negative wealth effects are rapidly accumulating from the sharp de-
preciation in the value of equities and houses, and credit is more difficult to obtain; this
at a time when consumer debt is historically high and the savings rate low (outstanding
household debt as a share of disposable income was 133 per cent in 2007, while the savings
rate was 0.6 per cent). Moreover, consumer confidence has plunged to its lowest level in
more than two decades.


Business capital spending is also expected to fall notably. Spending by busi-
nesses on machinery and equipment has in fact been falling since the beginning of 2008,
although corporate spending on non-residential construction has been growing. Credit
tightening, falling equity prices and softening corporate profits are all constraining busi-
ness investment. The risk of the private sector’s cutting capital spending on construction is
also high: besides the tightened financing for commercial real estate, the demand for retail
and office space is also diminishing as consumer spending and employment decline.


The housing sector is
continuing to weaken


Household consumption
is declining for the first


time since 1991


Figure IV.1
Quarterly growth of personal consumption
expenditure in the United States, 1991-2008


Percentage, seasonally adjusted annual rate


-4


-2


0


2


4


6


8


1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008


Source: United States
Department of Commerce,


Bureau of Economic Analysis,
National Economic Accounts.




91Regional developments and outlook


The rate of unemployment is expected to rise to above 7 per cent in 2009 (see
table A.7). During 2008, non-farm payrolls declined each and every month, and that
decline has intensified since September. Job losses had been concentrated in construction
and manufacturing, but have now spread to almost all sectors, including services. Unem-
ployment surged to a rate of more than 6 per cent in the second half of 2008, up from the
low of 4.5 per cent in 2007. Moreover, the number of discouraged workers, those who are
unemployed but have given up searching for a job, has also increased dramatically.


After peaking at an annual rate of 5.6 per cent in mid-2008, headline inflation
has been moderating, along with a significant correction in energy and food prices. Core
inflation has remained well above 2 per cent, which is perceived as the upper bound of the
comfort zone for the Federal Reserve (Fed). However, with the sharp slowing in economic
activity, with no further increases in commodity prices envisaged and with inflation ex-
pectations dropping significantly from late 2008, the outlook for 2009 is for core inflation
to drop below 2 per cent, with headline inflation even lower (see table A.4).


Exports of the United States have been growing at an exceptionally strong pace
over the past two years. In volume terms, exports are estimated to have increased by almost
10 per cent in 2008. In contrast, the volume of imports has dropped by about 2 per cent,
reflecting weak domestic demand. In the outlook, the growth of exports is expected to de-
celerate notably in 2009 as global demand slows. Meanwhile, imports are expected to fall
further, as both consumption and investment face a retrenchment. The current-account
deficit improved during 2008, standing at about $700 billion, and is expected to narrow
further in 2009, to $540 billion, reflecting continued weak import demand, as well as a
lower oil import bill.


On the policy front, both monetary and fiscal policies have almost exclusively
focused on battling the financial crisis, and are expected to continue to do so in 2009.


Since the eruption of the financial crisis in late 2007, the Fed has reduced the
federal funds rate, as well as the discount rate, in a dramatic manner, the former to a level of
1.0 per cent in October 2008. The Fed has also adopted a full gamut of unorthodox mon-
etary measures to inject liquidity into markets in an attempt to quell the credit crunch.


The Government has also adopted various fiscal measures, in a broad sense, in
tackling the crisis. The first fiscal stimulus package, which mainly included a tax cut for
households and businesses, managed to keep GDP growing at a moderate rate until mid-
2008, but it was clearly too small to avert a recession in the face of an unprecedented credit
crisis of mammoth proportions. The Government also took a number of unorthodox fiscal
measures. In the outlook, another fiscal stimulus package is expected in 2009.


Risks of the economy falling into a much deeper and longer recession than in
the baseline forecast remain high. A self-reinforcing cycle between the financial meltdown
and the recession in the real economy could form a tumultuous downward spiral: the
credit freeze could lead to an additional retrenchment of consumer and business spending,
followed by more job losses, further deterioration in the housing market, more losses in
and failures of financial institutions, and, in turn, more severe credit tightening.


The Canadian economy will see a pronounced slowdown in growth from 2.7
per cent in 2007 to 0.4 per cent in 2008, before rebounding somewhat to 0.8 per cent in
2009. On the domestic side, higher inventories will cut into growth, as will the fading
positive effect of tax cuts that took effect in the first half of 2008. Weaker investment ow-
ing to more pessimistic sentiment will generally add to the more challenging picture; fiscal
policy will have only limited space in which to provide growth impulse, in view of weaker
revenue growth and political reluctance to embark upon more elaborate deficit spending.


Inflationary pressures are
finally starting to ease


The Fed is easing policy
dramatically


Fiscal policy has also been
brought to bear, with
expectations of more
to come


Canada’s growth will be
dragged down by the
slowdown in the
United States




92 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


On the external side, the weak United States economy will be a major drag on activity,
especially through its negative effect on exporters of manufactured products in areas such
as the automotive industry. At the same time, lower oil and commodity prices will slow
the economic boom in the western provinces.


The financial turmoil led monetary policymakers to reduce the policy interest
rate by 200 basis points from 4.25 per cent at the end of 2007 to the current level of 2.25
per cent. Moderating inflation in view of lower oil and commodity prices, as well as the
slowing growth performance combined with rising unemployment, will create increasing
room for further interest rate cuts in 2009.


Western Europe: Sharp deceleration
with many countries now in recession


The euro area, along with most of Western Europe, started the year on a high note, with
(quarter-on-quarter) growth of 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2008, a significant re-
bound from the fourth quarter of 2007. Activity decelerated sharply thereafter, however,
to the point where the region is now in a technical recession. Of the major economies,
Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are all in
recession; Spain experienced its first quarter of negative growth since 1993 and has expe-
rienced the sharpest absolute deceleration; and France has narrowly escaped a technical
recession, but activity is very weak. Despite this, the strong carryover from the first quarter
of the year has led to an estimated GDP growth of 1.1 per cent for the year as a whole;
however, with no carryover into 2009 and no significant rebound expected in the second
half of that year, GDP is expected to decline by 0.7 per cent in 2009. This would mark the
first annual decline in GDP since 1993 (see table A.1).


Higher frequency data reveal the sharp drop in activity and provide a useful
comparison to previous slowdowns (see figure IV.2). Industrial production remained ro-
bust in the first quarter of the year but fell sharply thereafter. Survey results show a contin-
ued worsening of growth prospects into the fourth quarter. The European Commission’s
economic sentiment indicator for the euro area is now well below its long-term average,
and is below the troughs of 2001 and 1996 and nearing those of 1992 and 1993, when,
if a regional aggregate of what has now become the euro area is made, growth registered
1.2 and -0.7, respectively.3 Country-specific surveys paint a similar picture. Germany’s Ifo
overall business climate index, for example, peaked at the beginning of 2007 but has since
seen a very sharp decline. As of November 2008, it was just above the value registered in
1993, the lowest point since German reunification, while the component reflecting Ger-
man business expectations is now at a record low within this same timespan.4


Consumption expenditure contracted in the euro area in the first half of 2008,
a pattern shared by a number of countries in the region. Sharply higher inflation that
choked off any improvement in real disposable income and deteriorating confidence, stem-
ming from fears surrounding future economic activity as well as the intensifying global
financial crisis, were the major drivers. Retail sales figures have been drifting downwards
since the fourth quarter of 2007, and as of September stood at 1.6 per cent below the previ-
ous year. Lending conditions to households have tightened, with higher bank lending rates


3 See Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Economic Outlook, vol. 2008/1, No.
83, June 2008.


4 See Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Ifo Business Climate Germany, available from http://www.
cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/ifoHome/a-winfo.


Lower inflation will create
room for further easing of


monetary policy


High frequency data are
revealing the speed and


depth of the decline


Consumption
expenditure is


slowing




93Regional developments and outlook


and tighter credit standards, and loans to households are clearly decelerating.5 Household
wealth has been hit by declining equity markets and housing values, the latter having
particular significance in countries where house prices have experienced a sharp run-up in
the past, such as in Denmark, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and, to a lesser extent,
France. Current labour-market conditions remain favourable, but expectations for the
outlook have deteriorated, with employment and wage prospects diminishing. Business
surveys are already indicating that firms are expecting to reduce hiring. Some impetus can
be anticipated from decelerating inflation, thus yielding moderate improvement in real
compensation, but consumption expenditure is expected to be of only minimum support
over the forecast period.


After a strong first quarter, investment spending has also been hit sharply,
slowing external demand being a major negative impulse.6 In the early stage of the present
global slowdown, the impact of the deterioration in the United States had been dampened
by continuing robust demand from East Asia and oil-producing countries, particularly
the Russian Federation, but these economies have now joined the general slowdown. Or-
der books have deteriorated significantly and forward-looking surveys have plummeted.
Capacity utilization, while still relatively high, is on a declining path. Balance sheets of
non-financial corporations were still reasonably sound towards the end of 2008, stemming
from high past profitability, but corporate profitability is severely deteriorating and stock
markets have plummeted, which could lead to dangerously worsening balance sheets in


5 See European Central Bank’s “The Euro area bank lending survey”, October 2008, available from
http://www.ecb.int/stats/pdf/blssurvey_200810.pdf; and the discussion on “The results of the
2008 bank lending survey for the euro area” in the European Central Bank’s Monthly Bulletin,
November 2008, pp. 19-25, available from http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/mobu/mb200811en.pdf.


6 Some of the good performance in the first quarter can be attributed to mild weather, which
boosted construction expenditure, but that reversed in the second quarter.


Investment spending is
dropping sharply


Figure IV.2
Economic activity in the euro zone, 1990-2008


Percentage change, quarter over quarter


GDP growth


Economic sentiment (right axis)
Industrial production (right axis)


-0.8


-0.4


0.0


0.4


0.8


1.2


1.6


70


80


90


100


110


120


130


1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008
Sources: OECD, Eurostat and
European Commission.




94 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


2009. The cost of external financing has increased significantly: corporate bond spreads
have widened and banks are reporting rising margins for loans and higher credit stan-
dards. Bank lending to non-financial corporations remains strong but has been slowing
continuously, registering a growth of 12.1 per cent in September of 2008 versus 14.6 per
cent in the first quarter of the year. Going forward, it is probable that the deterioration in
credit markets will slow borrowing further. Investment in the housing sector remains very
weak and in some countries has plummeted, and there is no expectation of any significant
rebound over the forecast horizon.


Export volumes decelerated sharply in the second quarter of 2008. They are
estimated to grow by only 3.8 per cent in 2008 in the EU-15 and are actually expected to
decline in 2009 (see table A.16). Slowing global demand, coupled with continued strong
regional currencies, provides powerful headwinds. The retreat of the euro and other re-
gional currencies from their July peak, with further depreciation expected, provides some
relief.7 For some countries, a favourable product mix and orientation towards fast-growing
Asian and oil-producing countries, as well as strong competitiveness, provide some cush-
ion, but all countries are expected to see significant slowing in exports, and the region as
a whole is expected to continue to lose market share. Import volumes are also expected to
slow in line with declining domestic demand, albeit by less than exports thereby causing
net exports to detract from GDP growth.


Headline inflation surged to its highest level in twelve years during 2008,
reaching a peak of 4.0 per cent in both June and July in the euro area, but has since re-
treated to an estimated 3.2 per cent in October. Most of the acceleration can be attributed
to the sharp rise in oil and food prices. The pass-through to general prices, a major concern
for policymakers, was muted, with core inflation hovering just below 2 per cent since the
beginning of 2007. Wage growth has been picking up and, with productivity slowing in
the early stages of the downturn, unit labour costs have risen. But in the current negative
environment, wage increases are expected to be limited. Over the past few years, the in-
creasing strength of the euro has put significant downward pressure on prices and has, to
some extent, mitigated the full impact of the rise in oil prices. While the depreciation of
the euro in the second half of the year will eliminate this dampening effect, the sharp fall
in oil prices (as well as in food and other commodity prices), coupled with GDP falling
well below potential, is expected to lead to a further tapering off of inflation and a slow
reversion towards 2 per cent. Inflation expectations,8 which were running significantly
above 2 per cent in mid-2008, have since fallen back.


The labour market has been a bright spot in Europe for the last few years, with
unemployment trending down to multi-year lows, but it is now expected to deteriorate
significantly as growth falls well below potential over the entire forecast horizon. Firms are
increasingly challenged by the weaker demand outlook and tighter financing conditions.
Labour costs have also risen, but are expected to remain contained going forward. Employ-
ment data are published with a significant time lag, but they show a clear deceleration in
growth from the first quarter of 2007 through the second quarter of 2008. Unemployment
data are timelier and show a gradual upward trend since the low point of 7.2 per cent for
the euro area in the first quarter of 2008, reaching 7.5 per cent in August and September


7 On a trade-weighted basis, the euro peaked at a 40 per cent appreciation in July compared to its
low in 2000. It has since fallen by more than 7 per cent from its peak, but still remains historically
high.


8 Inflation expectations are measured here as the spread between French inflation-indexed and
non-indexed bonds.


Exports are succumbing to
a slump in global demand


Inflation has moderated


Unemployment rates
reached multi-year lows


but will deteriorate
further in the outlook




95Regional developments and outlook


of 2008. To put this in perspective, unemployment is still relatively low, being well under
the previous cyclical trough of 7.8 per cent in 2000. It would be necessary to go back to
the 1980s to find unemployment rates as low as they are currently. So far, the construction
sector has been the hardest hit, with Denmark, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom
most affected, but as the downturn continues, unemployment is expected to increase in all
countries in the region, rising by about 1 percentage point for the region as a whole.


Fiscal positions are expected to deteriorate significantly over the forecast hori-
zon. On the revenue side, slowing growth and falling asset prices are expected to dampen
tax revenues. On the expenditure side, automatic stabilizers in the guise of social benefits
and transfers will increase significantly. Some discretionary fiscal stimulus is assumed in
the outlook, but it is increasingly likely that more may be necessary, at least in those coun-
tries with budgetary space, and perhaps by an even larger group. Measures to combat the
intensifying global financial crisis may well dwarf these traditional policy measures. So far,
the former have included capital injections into financial institutions; State-backed guar-
antees for bank loans; higher levels of minimum deposit insurance; and actual bailouts of
financial firms, including a wave of partial nationalizations of banks in late September and
October. These types of measures are likely to continue to be deployed.


At the beginning of 2008, while most central banks in the region were us-
ing traditional policy instruments to suppress increasing inflationary pressures (headline
inflation rates being well above declared targets), they were, at the same time, combat-
ing problems in credit markets using unorthodox measures. The European Central Bank
(ECB) raised its main policy interest rate, the minimum bid rate, by 25 basis points (bps),
to 4.25 per cent in July, and during the year there was further tightening elsewhere by 75
bps in Sweden and 50 bps in Norway, while the Swiss National Bank maintained the tight
policy stance it had in 2007. The unorthodox measures focused on the direct injection of
liquidity into the money markets, with central banks acting as both a lender of last resort
and a market maker. The ECB, for example, accepted an increasingly wide range of col-
lateral and counterparties in its discount and repurchase operations, and at an increasing
range of maturities.


As global economic conditions deteriorated further, however, policy stances
shifted. The Bank of England was the first to react, lowering rates in February and April.
Later, on 9 October, after the financial crisis had begun to enter a more dangerous phase in
September and indicators of economic activity had begun to fall to levels associated with a
recession, central banks changed course and joined in a coordinated rate cut of 50 bps. The
ECB,9 the Bank of England, the Sveriges Riksbank and the Swiss National Bank (25 bps)
all joined in the action. The Bank of Norway also cut its rate by 50 bps later in the month.
Since then, the ECB has made another 50 bps cut, bringing its rate to 3.75 per cent, while
the Bank of England made a staggering cut of 150 bps in November. The other central
banks also loosened policy further. The cumulative change in policy rates by the end of No-
vember was 150 bps for the ECB, 200 bps for the Bank of England, 100 bps for the Sveriges
Riksbank, 175 bps for the Swiss National Bank, and 100 bps for the Norges Bank.


In the outlook, policy is expected to loosen further. The ECB is assumed to cut
its main policy interest rate further during the fourth quarter of 2008 from its current level
of 3.25 per cent to 2.75 per cent by the end of the year, and in early 2009 another 50 bps


9 The ECB also changed its operating procedure so that its main refinancing operations would be
carried out through a fixed-rate tender procedure with full allotment at the interest rate on the
main refinancing operation. This replaced its policy of setting a minimum bid rate for variable rate
tenders and effectively provides sufficient liquidity to satisfy demand at the fixed rate.


Fiscal policies are likely
to be unorthodox


Monetary policy is shifting
to rapid easing




96 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


cut is assumed, with no further action for the rest of the year. Similar policy is assumed
for the other regional central banks.


In the first half of the year, regional currencies continued their long period of
appreciation against the United States dollar and the yen—to no small degree on account
of the large and persistent global imbalances—with the euro reaching a peak of $1.60 and
¥169. Superimposed on this long-run trend, are short- to medium-term dynamics in cur-
rency markets that have been driven largely by relative outlooks for growth, interest rates
and risk assessments, the latter at times generating significant flights to safety into and out of
currencies. All of these factors, both long- and short term, favoured the euro in the first half
of 2008: growth was holding up, monetary policy was still tight and potentially tightening,
and the risks stemming from the financial crisis were concentrated mostly in the United
States. But this shifted dramatically in July as the outlook for the euro area deteriorated
significantly and it also became clear that the ECB would have to cut rates in response to
the slowdown. This led to a sharp decline in the euro against both the United States dollar
and the yen during the summer months. In mid-September risk assessments shifted further
against the United States as market participants reacted to the latest proposed bailout plan,
which raised the Government’s debt burden significantly. This led to a rebound of the euro,
but it was short-lived, as the economic news in Europe had deteriorated further and the
financial turmoil that had spread across the continent at the end of September produced a
serious jolt to risk perceptions. The euro resumed its downward path reaching lows of nearly
€1.25 against the dollar, while against the yen it fell to lows of nearly ¥117, as these higher
risk perceptions led to a reversal of the carry trade and a repatriation of funds.


In the outlook, the euro is expected to remain close to current levels of about
$1.28 in the fourth quarter of 2008 and to depreciate further in 2009, reaching $1.20 as
interest rate differentials with the United States narrow further. Similarly, the euro is as-
sumed to remain at ¥126 in the fourth quarter and to reach ¥109 in 2009.


Risks to the outlook are significant and biased towards the downside. The
key assumption in the present outlook is that problems in financial markets will subside
and that real activity will begin to stabilize in the second half of 2009. This might be
optimistic as problems have continued to intensify towards the end of 2008. The longer
these problems persist, the more severely private investment will be hit. Moreover, hous-
ing markets could deteriorate further and remain in a slump for a longer period of time,
dragging down overall economic activity even more in some economies in the region. In
addition, the economies in East Asia and oil-producing countries could be hit harder than
currently expected, which in turn would further reduce demand for European exports.
Another major risk could come from a collapse of the dollar which would push regional
currencies back to and beyond the elevated levels of the summer of 2008, pricing many
exporters out of key markets.


The new European Union member States:
A divergent growth pattern in 2008, a slowdown in 2009


Following several years of buoyant economic expansion in the new European Union (EU)
member States, aggregate GDP growth in 2008 is expected to slow to 4.9 per cent in
2008 and to decline further to 3.1 per cent in 2009 (see figure IV.3). While a number of
economies, such as Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, managed to sustain or even
accelerate their growth rates in or into the 5-8 per cent range, the three Baltic economies
witnessed a sharp slowdown. Growth in Estonia and Latvia turned negative in 2008, with


Regional exchange rates
were highly volatile


during 2008


Downside risks
are worrying




97Regional developments and outlook


further contraction expected in 2009. Growth in the remaining countries in the region
was moderate in 2008 but is also expected to slow further in 2009, as their main driving
force, robust domestic demand, is weakening in response to higher credit costs and ac-
celerated inflation. In Hungary, further fiscal tightening and harder borrowing conditions
will lead to negative growth in 2009. Export growth for these economies is also expected
to decline owing to the economic slowdown by their main trading partners.


The generally strong growth in the region over the past several years was driven
by vibrant domestic demand, underpinned by increasing real wages and the expansion of
domestic credit, but it was also accompanied by a number of dangerous trends: sizeable
current-account deficits that were often financed by interbank borrowing; FDI flows into
much of the region that were financed by lending from parent companies, increasing the
indebtedness of the private sector; a large fraction of investment that was channelled into
real estate in a number of the economies, especially the Baltic countries and Bulgaria, pro-
ducing domestic housing bubbles; and, finally, a sizeable percentage of loans in the region
that were denominated in foreign currencies.


The tightening of global financial markets has begun to reduce the ability of
the business and banking sectors to maintain their levels of foreign borrowing. As a result,
domestic credit growth has declined and banks have tightened their lending policies. The
generally large current-account deficits have made the region especially vulnerable to the
deterioration in global credit conditions. In Hungary, the high stock of short-term private
debt, denominated in foreign currencies, created a serious liquidity squeeze. To avoid a
financial crisis, the country had to seek assistance from the ECB, the EU and the Interna-
tional Monetary Fund (IMF), which was provided quickly and in sufficiently large amounts
to contain the crisis and the potential for regional contagion. Although the financial sectors
of the new EU members are not significantly exposed to United States sub-prime debt, there


Economic expansion was
often financed by foreign
borrowing


The region is vulnerable to
the global credit squeeze


Figure IV.3
Pattern of economic growth in the new EU member States, 2004-2009


Annual percentage change in real GDP


-2.0


0.0


2.0


4.0


6.0


8.0


10.0


12.0


2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


The Baltic Statesd


EU-12


Central Europec
Sources: United Nations
Economic Commission for
Europe; Eurostat.
a Partly estimated.
b Forecasts, based on Project
LINK baseline scenario.
c Consists of the Czech
Republic, Hungary, Poland,
Slovakia and Slovenia.
d Consists of Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania.




98 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


is an extremely high level of foreign ownership, largely by EU-15 banks, and should these
experience serious difficulties, the financial stability of the region would be seriously im-
pacted. If the cut-off in foreign borrowing is too sharp, a true credit crunch could develop.


In 2008, domestic inflationary pressures caused by continuing wage growth,
sometimes in excess of productivity gains, and increases in excise taxes and regulated pric-
es were amplified by the surge in global food and energy prices. The impact of rising world
market prices for food and oil on overall domestic inflation differed across the new EU
member States on account of differences in weights for food prices in consumer price in-
dices; differences in the degree of competition in services and in the retail sectors, explain-
ing different cost mark-ups; and differences in exchange-rate regimes. Inflation reached
double-digit levels in the Baltic States and Bulgaria, whose fixed exchange-rate regimes
prevented nominal appreciation from accommodating some of the inflationary pressure.
Currency appreciation dampened inflation in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland
in the first half of 2008. By mid-2008, headline inflation had peaked and had started to
subside, reflecting, among other things, the drop in world oil and commodity prices.


In response to accelerating inflation in the first part of 2008, and in the light of
the shared key policy goal of a return to a disinflationary path, interest rates were increased
in the Czech Republic (at the beginning of the year), Hungary, Poland and Romania. In
addition, certain measures were undertaken to constrain domestic credit, such as the in-
creased credit supervision in Slovenia. But with slowing economic growth and declining
world commodity prices, policy concerns are shifting. Monetary easing has already taken
place in the Czech Republic and in Hungary, but concerns about currency depreciation
may limit the room for a further loosening of monetary policy.


Conditions attached to accession to the European Monetary Union remain a
main focus for macroeconomic policies in the region. Slovakia will adopt the euro in Janu-
ary 2009, but no further accessions are anticipated for several years. The Maastricht crite-
ria, especially the inflation target, are proving difficult to meet. Budget deficits have been
reduced towards achieving the target, but not without creating a pro-cyclical impulse to a
slowing economy. In the outlook, the slowdown will make it more difficult to meet fiscal
targets and reduce the deficit further. However, given the limitations of using monetary
policy for macroeconomic stabilization, especially under a fixed exchange-rate regime, ad-
ditional fiscal stimulus will be needed to counteract the economic slowdown.


The employment situation in the new EU member States continued to improve
in 2008; in Poland, for example, unemployment reached 9.6 per cent in mid-2008 com-
pared to 19.0 per cent as recently as 2004. Nevertheless, structural problems in labour
markets continue as labour-force participation rates remain low in a number of these econo-
mies. The sharp economic slowdown being forecast in the Baltic States in 2009 may lead to
a 1 or 2 percentage point increase in their unemployment rates, which are currently in the
range of 5 to 6 per cent. In other economies, the rate of job creation has also slowed, and the
continuing return of migrants from the EU-15 back to their home countries may exert ad-
ditional pressure on the labour markets. Since 2004, almost one million workers migrated
to the United Kingdom alone; approximately two thirds of these came from Poland.


External deficits declined significantly in the Baltic States in 2008, reflecting
an improvement in their trade balances as weakening domestic demand led to a contrac-
tion in imports. In Central Europe, however, the improvement in current-account deficits
was only marginal, and in some countries the deficits increased, reflecting a decline in
exports. In 2009, current-account deficits will continue to decline in the Baltic States, but
will remain at about the same level in Central Europe.


Inflation surged in response
to higher energy and


commodity prices, but is
expected to subside


in the outlook


Monetary policy
tightened in 2008


Labour markets continued
to improve, but the


worsening economic
situation will reverse


this positive trend


Current accounts deficits
declined in the Baltic


States, but remain the same
in the rest of the region




99Regional developments and outlook


In the outlook, the most serious risk faced by the region is a protracted slow-
down in the EU-15; for the countries with large external deficits and a high dependence on
foreign borrowing, it is the possibility of a sharp reversal of capital flows.


Developed Asia and the Pacific: Japan’s economy
enters recession and will contract further in 2009


In Japan, economic activity contracted in the second and third quarters, bringing another
major economy into recession. Weaker export demand owing to lower growth in interna-
tional markets and negative exchange-rate effects were the primary causes. Annual growth
is expected to register only 0.4 per cent in 2008 and -0.3 per cent in 2009 (see table A.1).
The negative effect of the global financial crisis through the external account has increas-
ingly outweighed the country’s only limited exposure to sub-prime loans in the United
States as well as its strong capital position due to the high level of domestic savings. In the
baseline, the economy is forecast to remain in recession into the first half of 2009 before
seeing a return to positive growth rates in the third quarter of 2009.


On the domestic side, slower growth in private consumption will be a major
drag on overall growth performance. The weaker trading environment for exporters and
rising input costs, notably in the energy sector, exert increasing pressure on corporate
profits, which will translate into softer labour demand and wage growth. In parallel, the
continued relatively high consumer-price inflation due to higher commodity prices will
cut into consumers’ purchasing power, further eroding the potential impulse from private
consumption for overall growth.


The room for fiscal stimulus seems limited in the light of the country’s level of
public indebtedness. Japan’s public debt ratio has surged to become the highest in the indus-
trialized world since the extensive fiscal support measures during the recession in the 1990s
(see figure IV.4). The Government’s looser fiscal policy stance in the form of two recent
stimulus packages to support economic growth will be only temporary. In the medium term,
the outlook for public finances remains bleak, as the option of higher income and consump-
tion taxes remains on the table, holding significant downside risk for private consumption.


Business investment has shown a more moderate expansion, especially in view
of the weaker external trading environment, but momentum will pick up in the second
half of 2009 as firms will aim to ensure their competitiveness through technological up-
grades in their production processes. Similarly, private residential investment will support
growth as the slowing effect of regulatory changes fade.


On the external side, exports are suffering from the slowdown in the United
States, Japan’s biggest export market, as well as a stronger yen. Demand from emerging
markets, especially China, has so far been a strong counterweight to slower export demand
from developed countries, but the negative impact of the global crisis on economic activity
in emerging markets will put further pressure on Japan’s export performance.


Consumer prices are being pushed higher by the increase in energy and com-
modity prices. However, inflation will moderate along with the slowdown of the global
economy, lower commodity prices and the appreciation of the yen. In 2008, the inflation
rate is estimated at 1.6 per cent and is expected to decelerate to 1.1 per cent in 2009 (see
table A.4).


In view of the weakening growth picture, the Bank of Japan cut its policy in-
terest rate from 0.5 per cent to 0.3 per cent in October. Rates are assumed to stay at their
current levels through 2009.


Consumption will
be weak …


… while the potential for
fiscal stimulus remains
limited


Investment remains a
bright spot in the outlook


Weaker export demand will
drag down growth


Inflation will moderate


Monetary policy remains
on hold




100 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


After depreciating against the dollar for much of 2008, the deterioration of
conditions in global financial markets has led to increased global demand for yen-denomi-
nated liquid assets and a substantial appreciation of the yen. This trend is expected to con-
tinue in view of economic weakness and uncertainty in the United States, looser monetary
policy in other major economies and increased risk aversion in the wake of the turmoil
in financial markets. The latter implies a further reduction in carry-trade positions, with
traders buying back the yen to close out their long positions in higher-yielding currencies
that were opened by borrowing in the lower-yielding yen.


The outlook is subject to the significant downside risk of a more pronounced
slowdown in Japan’s main export markets. A worst-case scenario would imply a synchro-
nized shock in the form of weaker-than-expected demand from developed economies,
especially the United States, and emerging markets such as China.


Economic growth in Australia slowed to 2.6 per cent in 2008, from 4.4 per
cent in 2007, and is projected to decelerate further to 1.1 per cent in 2009, with private
consumption emerging as a major drag on overall activity. Real household incomes are
being squeezed from various sides, including high interest rates, tighter credit conditions,
a weakening housing market and flat real wages due to continued inflationary pressures.
Sharp increases in the negotiated price for iron ore and coal, in turn, will benefit net
exports and the external account into 2009, although lower commodity prices will put
pressure on the trade balance thereafter.


After an increase to more than 4 per cent in 2008, consumer price inflation
is expected to fall towards the upper limit of monetary policymakers’ target corridor of
2-3 per cent in 2009 following weaker domestic demand that will outweigh emerging
inflationary pressure from a weakening Australian dollar. In view of the spreading global


Capital flowing into yen-
denominated assets


will sustain the
appreciation trend


Weakening consumption
will reduce Australia’s


growth


Inflation will fall amid
further monetary policy


loosening


Figure IV.4
General government gross financial liabilities, 1991-2007


Percentage of GDP


0


20


40


60


80


100


120


140


160


180


200


1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007


Canada France
ItalyGermany


Japan United Kingdom
United States


Source: OECD.




101Regional developments and outlook


financial crisis, policymakers have cut interest rates three times, from 7.25 per cent in Sep-
tember to 5.25 per cent in November, and there will probably be further monetary policy
loosening in 2009 in order to alleviate the financial strains of households and to stimulate
private consumption.


New Zealand’s economic growth is expected to reach a very modest 0.6 per
cent in 2008, but should rebound slightly to about 1.1 per cent in the baseline forecast
for 2009. The slowdown in 2008 has been fairly broad-based, with private consumption
suffering from higher inflation, high debt levels and the drop in housing prices. While
business investment will remain under pressure from a weakening New Zealand dollar
and relatively high interest rates, government spending is expected to provide the neces-
sary stimulus in 2009 to prevent the economy from sliding into recession. Export growth
is expected to recover in 2009 on the heels of currency depreciation and a stronger per-
formance in the agricultural sector, as drought conditions give way to more favourable
weather forecasts.


Inflation continues to exceed the central bank’s target range of between 1 and
3 per cent, driven by higher food and energy prices, high capacity utilization rates and
tight conditions in the labour market. However, the upward pressure on prices is forecast
to recede owing to weaker domestic demand, the softening housing market and flattening
commodity prices. Policymakers have begun cutting interest rates from their recent high
and are expected to maintain their loosening stance in 2009 in an attempt to counter
slowing economic growth as well as higher financing costs for businesses in the wake of
tighter global credit conditions. The resulting smaller interest-rate differentials in favour
of the New Zealand dollar, combined with increased risk aversion in financial markets,
will put downward pressure on the currency, especially in the light of the closing-out of
speculative positions driven by carry trades that borrow in lower-yielding currencies, such
as the Japanese yen, to buy the New Zealand dollar. However, any more pronounced
depreciation of the currency would create renewed inflationary pressure and, thus, limit
monetary policymakers’ space for further interest rate cuts.


Economies in transition
In 2008, the economies in transition generally showed a surprising resilience to the impact
of the global financial crisis. Despite a certain deceleration from the previous year, strong
economic growth continued both in South-eastern Europe and in the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS). Aggregate GDP in economies in transition grew by about 7 per
cent, reflecting an increase of 7.1 per cent in the CIS and 5.2 per cent in South-eastern Eu-
rope (see table A.2). Two main factors underpinned the continued robust performance of
these economies. First, direct financial contagion from the global crisis was initially rela-
tively limited, not least due to underdeveloped financial systems in the region and weak
financial integration with the rest of the world. Second, economic growth in most econo-
mies was mainly driven by domestic demand, while a slowdown in export demand only
mildly affected domestic output during 2008. The surge in world energy and food prices
during the first part of the year pushed domestic inflation sharply upwards, especially in
the CIS, but also in the economies in South-eastern Europe. In late 2008, inflationary
pressures started to subside following the steep fall in world commodity prices.


Despite the favourable outcomes in 2008, the outlook for the economies in
transition has deteriorated considerably. With the deepening of the global financial crisis


New Zealand’s slowdown
will be cushioned by fiscal
spending


Monetary policymakers’
accommodative stance
will be limited by the
inflationary effect of
currency depreciation


Resilient growth amidst
the global turmoil, but
considerable deterioration
is expected in 2009




102 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


and the developed countries’ entering into recession, the economies in transition are ex-
pected to see a significant slowdown in the baseline projection for 2009, with aggregate
GDP growth falling by 2 percentage points or more compared with 2008.


South-eastern Europe: Another year of good
performance, though with activity likely to weaken


All economies in South-eastern Europe continued to grow at relatively robust rates in the
order of 5 per cent or higher in 2008, with the exception of Croatia (see table A.2). Growth
in 2008 continued to be largely driven by domestic demand, underpinned by rising real
wages, strong FDI inflows and domestic credit expansion (see Figure IV.5). However, in
the course of the year, and with the escalation of the global financial crisis, these growth
factors started to lose steam and will weaken further in 2009. Hence, a further modera-
tion in the pace of growth to about 4.5 per cent for the region as a whole is expected in the
baseline scenario for 2009, down from 5.2 per cent in 2008.


Inflation accelerated in South-eastern Europe in the first half of 2008, driven
by surging world food and energy prices, strong domestic demand and rising real wages.
The acceleration was quite pronounced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (see table A.5). However, during the second
half of the year, inflationary pressures weakened as world commodity prices started to fall
from their highs and domestic inflationary pressures subsided. Given the overall domestic
and global macroeconomic prospects, this trend is likely to gain further ground in 2009.


Employment conditions improved in all South-eastern European economies
along with the continued dynamic economic performance in much of 2008. Nonetheless,


The inflationary surge
seems to be subsiding


Figure IV.5
Growth of domestic credit in South-eastern Europe, 2005-2008


Percentage


Se
rb


ia


Bo
sn


ia
a


nd
H


er
ze


go
vi


na


Cr
oa


tia


Al
ba


ni
a


Th
e


fo
rm


er
Yu


go
sla


v
Re


pu
bl


ic
of


M
ac


ed
on


ia


2005


2006


2007


2008a


0


10


20


30


40


50


60


70


80


Source: IMF, International
Financial Statistics.


a End-2007 to mid-2008.




103Regional developments and outlook


unemployment rates remain very high (about 16 per cent on average); only Croatia has a
single-digit rate of unemployment. Nevertheless, positive labour-market developments are
expected to continue in 2009 as a result of new investments in production capacity and the
implementation of infrastructure projects. In Croatia, though, the rate of unemployment
may increase in response to weaker performance of the tourism industry.


The general government budgets in most South-eastern European economies
have become more balanced and were fortified by higher tax revenue following strong
economic growth in recent years. There was some fiscal loosening in a number of countries
in 2008, in part because of their electoral cycle. Fiscal deficits are expected to widen as a
result of the economic slowdown and anticipated expected fiscal responses in 2009, but
larger deficits do not pose an immediate threat to macroeconomic stability.


In contrast, there was a notable tightening of monetary policy in 2008, partly
in response to rising inflationary pressures. Central banks increased their policy rates in
Albania, Serbia (in stages) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while manda-
tory reserve requirements were increased in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The do-
mestic monetary tightening was coupled with deteriorating conditions of access to inter-
national financial markets. The rising cost of credit is likely to further dampen economic
activity in the region.


Against the backdrop of strong domestic demand and weakening import de-
mand in the important European markets, imports by South-eastern European economies
generally outpaced their exports in 2008. As a result, both trade and current-account defi-
cits continued to widen in all countries and, in a number of cases, have reached alarming
proportions. Financing these deficits up until the 2008 crisis did not pose a problem, but
financing conditions have been changing for the worse, forcing a downward adjustment
in domestic demand. In November 2008, Serbia reached an agreement with the IMF on
a standby loan of $518 million dollars, although it is not clear if any funds will be drawn.
The restraining effect of unfavourable financing conditions is likely to increase further in
2009 and the deficits may decline somewhat in the short run.


The Commonwealth of Independent States:
Despite some deceleration, growth remains impressive


While the pace of economic activity in the CIS moderated somewhat, it remained robust
in 2008: GDP in most countries grew at rates of 6 per cent or higher (see table A.2).
During the latter half of the year, growth in the Russian Federation slowed somewhat from
its strong performance earlier on, owing to stagnating oil production and decelerating
investment. Notably though, the Russian grain harvest in 2008 was the highest in the last
15 years. In Azerbaijan, the rate of GDP growth dropped compared with previous years
as the impact of newly introduced oil and gas facilities faded, but it remained the highest
in the CIS. A significant deceleration of economic activity was observed in Kazakhstan
as a result of an abrupt cutback in foreign borrowing amidst global financial turmoil that
also spilled over into neighbouring countries (see box IV.1). The military conflict in the
Caucasus had only a limited effect on oil exports, but it did, nonetheless, affect growth
performance in Georgia.10 In 2009, less favourable external circumstances, including
lower commodity prices and increasing difficulties in obtaining external finance, are likely


10 In September 2008, the Parliament of Georgia carried a motion to leave the Commonwealth of
Independent States (technically this decision is due to enter into force in mid-2009). However,
Georgia’s performance is discussed in the context of this group of countries for reasons of
geographic proximity and similarities in economic structure.


Fiscal deficits are expected
to widen in 2009


Monetary policy has
tightened


Current-account deficits
are high but a downward
adjustment may be
under way




104 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The impact of the global financial turmoil on the banking
sector of the Commonwealth of Independent States


The financial crisis, which originated in the United States sub-prime mortgage market, has also affected
some of the economies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Increased financial
integration, including access to external finance, has created new channels for the transmission
of shocks. The impact of global turbulence has varied across the countries of the CIS, reflecting
differences in the degree of financial development and the extent to which banks and companies
have relied upon foreign financing. The external debt of the banking system has increased in the
largest economies in recent years, albeit to significantly different degrees (figure A).


The consequences of the crisis have been the most severe in Kazakhstan, where the
banking system has developed rapidly in recent years as a result of the strong growth of foreign
liabilities fuelling fast domestic credit expansion. In recent years, these sources have covered about
half of the funding needs of the sector. Good access to international markets was supported by a
perceived strong regulatory and supervisory framework, improved investment grade ratings and
favourable economic prospects.


The growing dependence on foreign funding was, however, also a source of vulnerability.
While the authorities managed to reduce the share of short-term obligations, they did not succeed
in curbing overall foreign borrowing. Global credit turmoil led to a sharp deterioration in access to
external funding. In addition, falling confidence caused a temporary decline in household deposits
and increased pressures over the exchange rate that required interventions by large central banks.
Lending has fallen sharply, depressing growth in the non-oil sector and sharply reducing real estate
prices, which, particularly in Almaty, had recently undergone rapid growth, fuelled by the availability
of credit (figure B).


In the Russian Federation, the impact of the crisis was initially more muted, given the
lower reliance of the banking sector on international capital markets. However, credit growth slowed


Box IV.1


Figure A
Banking sector: external debt, 2003-2007


Percentage of GDP


0


10


20


30


40


50


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Kazakhstan


Russian Federation


Ukraine


Sources: National Bank of
Kazakhstan, Central Bank of
the Russian Federation and


National Bank of Ukraine.




105Regional developments and outlook


down, and some banks with more aggressive expansionary policies funded by external financing
experienced difficulties. Moreover, adverse market conditions led to the postponement of primary
equity placements, which had been playing a larger role in corporate financing. The worsening of the
global financial crisis in 2008 increased the severity of the problems confronting the Russian banking
system. The widespread use of shares in Russian companies as collateral exposed the sector to a
reversal in equity prices. A plummeting stock market led to margin calls, which reinforced downward
pressures. The burgeoning domestic bond market has been negatively affected by mounting
inflation and the overall liquidity problems. As market participants have become more sensitive to
counterparty risk, interbank financing has suffered amidst declining trust.


Despite a current-account surplus and a solid reserve position, the private sector in the
Russian Federation remains exposed to external financing conditions, including through the impact
of capital flows on domestic liquidity. Capital outflows drained liquidity from the system and have
forced banks to rely on short-term public funding. The Central Bank’s interventions to shore up the
rouble, which has been under pressure through the intensification of capital outflows, have had a
contractionary impact.


Patterns of ownership in the banking sector have also acted as a channel for the regional
transmission of shocks. Kazakh banks, enjoying good access to external finance, expanded into other
countries in the CIS. In Kyrgyzstan, they accounted for almost half of total lending. The troubles of
parent institutions have led to a temporary slowdown in credit growth in Kyrgyzstan as well. However,
the low level of financial intermediation has limited the impact of this channel with regard to the
transmission of shocks. In Ukraine, the degree of foreign ownership of the banking system initially
proved to be a benign influence, as Western parent banks provided access to external financing in a
difficult global environment. The situation deteriorated in late 2008, as concerns over exchange-rate
stability, widening external imbalances and mounting political risks created refinancing difficulties.


The reaction of the monetary authorities to alleviate the impact of the credit crunch
has been similar throughout the region and initially involved providing liquidity through various
means, including widening the scope of repurchasing operations, easing reserve requirements or


Box IV.1 (cont’d)


Figure B
Kazakhstan: annual credit growth, February 2004-September 2008


Percentage


0


40


20


60


80


100


120


Fe
b-


04


Ju
n-


04


O
ct


-0
4


Fe
b-


05


Ju
n-


05


O
ct


-0
5


Fe
b-


06


Ju
n-


06


O
ct


-0
6


Fe
b-


07


Ju
n-


07


O
ct


-0
7


Fe
b-


08


Ju
n-


08


Source: National Bank of
Kazakhstan.




106 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


to lead to a marked slowdown in the economic activity of the region, with aggregate GDP
growth forecast at 4.9 per cent.


Robust domestic demand, especially private consumption, remained the main
driver of economic expansion in the region. Rapid income growth, reflecting the contin-
ued robust economic performance and high inflows of worker remittances in the poorest
countries, has underpinned strong consumer demand, despite the negative impact of surg-
ing inflation on purchasing power. Consumption growth compensated for the notable
deceleration in fixed investment demand, including in the Russian Federation, reflecting
a slowdown of construction activity and tightening credit supplies to businesses amid de-
teriorating confidence in economic prospects. In Kazakhstan, both private consumption
and fixed investment decelerated sharply as lending to business and households stagnated
because of the problems in the banking sector.


The pace of job creation in the CIS generally remained relatively strong despite
the worsened performance of the labour-intensive construction sector. Armenia and Azer-
baijan displayed the largest improvement in labour-market indicators. The Russian Fed-
eration has continued to attract significant migratory inflows from other CIS countries,
spurred by rapid wage growth and the large wage differential vis-à-vis jobs in the home
countries. In Kazakhstan, in contrast, registered unemployment increased, largely owing
to a significant fall of output growth. Labour-market indicators are expected to deteriorate
in 2009, however, as economic growth in the CIS is projected to slow down, the more so
as construction activity enters into a slump.


Inflation rates remained high throughout the region and rose further in a number
of countries in 2008 (see figure IV.6). Food spending accounts for a significant share of the


Domestic demand is
driving the CIS economies


Employment growth was
strong in 2008, but bleaker


prospects are ahead


Inflationary pressures are
high, but are abating


using public institutions to inject resources into the banking system. Limits on deposit insurance
were increased to shore up confidence. In addition, support programmes have addressed the
refinancing needs of particular sectors, such as construction and small and medium enterprises in
Kazakhstan. As the crisis deepened, fiscal allocations were made to support lending and the stock
prices of State companies in the Russian Federation. Direct restrictions on new lending and deposit
withdrawals were introduced in Ukraine. Government plans for the sector also include State-backed
recapitalization of financial institutions through subordinated loans or direct equity stakes in the
Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.


The global financial crisis has highlighted the dearth of domestic sources of long-
term financing in the region, a common problem in the CIS, which had been temporarily overcome
through access to international capital markets. In the short-term, future growth of banking assets
will depend on ability to expand the deposit base. A more balanced funding structure will require a
slowdown in lending, which will also be depressed by the need for increased provisioning. Ongoing
inflationary pressures and exchange-rate volatility represent a challenging environment for raising
deposits. State-owned banks, with their extensive branch networks, enjoy the advantage of acquiring
deposits vis-à-vis other competitors, and may increase their market shares. These banks will be used
as an instrument to support lending by the authorities. Some degree of banking consolidation
appears unavoidable in most countries. Over the medium term, the development of domestic capital
markets, including the presence of institutional investors, such as pension funds, would be necessary
to provide alternative sources of financing.


Financial turbulence and credit constraints are leading to a global slowdown. Worsened
economic prospects worldwide are also depressing the demand for commodities, which are critical
for economic performance and investor sentiment in the CIS region. This has opened up a second
channel for the transmission of negative shocks, contributing to an increase in the difficulties created
by the persistence of an adverse global environment. For the banking sector, slower growth will add
to concerns over the deterioration of asset quality.


Box IV.1 (cont’d)




107Regional developments and outlook


consumer basket in the CIS countries; hence, rising food prices have had a marked impact
on headline inflation. In Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine, the
annualized rate of consumer price inflation peaked above 20 per cent before starting to
decline in the final months of the year. This reflected both external factors, such as high
food and energy prices, and domestic influences, including broadly accommodative policies,
and, in some cases, an ongoing adjustment of prices in regulated services. Policymakers in
a number of countries resorted to various interventions in an attempt to curb inflationary
pressures, such as tighter policies and exchange-rate appreciation in Armenia and export
restrictions on food in Uzbekistan. In late 2008, headline inflation decelerated in most CIS
economies as the effect of commodity price rises abated. Further lowering of commodity
prices and more moderate domestic demand should support a moderation in inflation in
2009, which nevertheless is expected to remain relatively high.


Monetary authorities have been confronted by two major challenges, namely,
strong inflationary tensions and the need to address the fallout from the global crisis,
which have resulted in capital outflows and exchange-rate pressures during the second
half of 2008. Monetary policies remained generally accommodative earlier in the year as
the authorities, particularly in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, tolerated the moneti-
zation of strong capital inflows during this period. Reflecting the relatively loose policy
stance, real interest rates were negative in a number of countries. In Kazakhstan, the
authorities cut policy rates to offset the negative effects of the credit crunch on economic
activity. In the second half of the year, the focus of attention, particularly in the Russian
Federation, shifted to the supply of extra liquidity through a wide range of instruments to
support the financial system in the face of intensified global turbulence. Currencies came
under pressure, as capital flows reversed, and the authorities intervened in the markets to
prop up exchange rates.


Monetary policy is driven
by liquidity considerations


Figure IV.6
Consumer price index inflation in selected CIS economies, 2007 and 2008


Percentage


0 10 20 30 40


Tajikistan


Azerbaijan


Kyrgyzstan


Kazakhstan


Ukraine


Belarus


Armenia


Russian
Federation


Republic of
Moldova


Jan-Sep 2008


Jan-Sep 2007


Source: UN/DESA, based
on data from CIS Interstat
Statistical Committee.




108 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Solid growth, coupled with gradual improvements in tax administration, has
boosted fiscal revenues throughout the region. Better revenue performance has generally
been accompanied by strong increases in public expenditure, causing a weakening in the
structural fiscal balances in many CIS countries. In Ukraine, higher social benefits and
pensions have contributed to a significant widening of the fiscal deficit. In Azerbaijan,
plans to develop infrastructure and raise social protection generated rising claims on pub-
lic spending. In some of the low-income countries, fiscal measures have been used to shel-
ter households from rising fuel and food costs. In the Russian Federation, after an overtly
expansive fiscal stance in 2007, there has been some downward adjustment in 2008.


Export growth remained well below the expansion of imports in most of the
smaller economies in the region, with Armenia, the Republic of Moldova and Tajiki-
stan showing a particularly large gap. In the Russian Federation, rapid export growth in
value terms resulted mainly from increasing oil and gas prices, while physical volumes
stagnated. In volume terms, the expansion of imports continued largely to outstrip the
increase of exports. By contrast, energy export volumes rose rapidly in Azerbaijan and
Turkmenistan. In Kazakhstan, the positive effect of growing energy exports and high
prices was coupled with a deceleration of imports as the economy cooled down. As a result,
Kazakhstan’s significant current-account deficit in 2007 moved into a surplus. The overall
CIS current-account surplus widened due to the improved external position of energy-
producing countries. In Ukraine, the external deficit widened sharply owing to continued
acceleration in import growth and poor export performance. The country is expected to
suffer a significant deterioration in its terms of trade in 2009 as a result of falling steel
prices and a hike in Russian gas prices. A better export performance was observed in Be-
larus, but anticipated increases in the price of gas imports will also have a negative impact
on its external position.


The difficulties experienced in the global economy have considerably increased
the downside risks for the economic growth of the CIS. A severe and protracted global
slowdown could further depress commodity prices, which remain a major factor in the
economic performance of many countries in the region. Financial turbulence has exposed
the dependence of the largest economies on external sources of long-term financing. In
turn, an eventual downturn in the Russian Federation could impair the economic pros-
pects of the smaller economies in the region through lower trade, remittances and FDI in-
flows. Most commodity-exporting countries have put in place fiscal arrangements, such as
reserve funds, that give them the possibility of intervening in order to mitigate the effects
of a possible downturn, including one related to external payments problems. By contrast,
Ukraine, which built only modest reserves, has been forced to request IMF support to
allay concerns about its ability to fund its large external financing gap. In any case, there
is a risk of inadequate policy action given the lack of experience of most CIS countries in
coping with a rapidly deteriorating external environment.


Developing economies
Although growth in the developing economies moderated to 5.9 per cent in 2008 from
7.1 per cent in 2007, the region was able to maintain its sixth consecutive year of growth
of over 5 per cent. Growth was mainly supported by strong commodity-export revenues
in the first half of 2008, accompanied by robust domestic demand and government ex-
penditures on infrastructure development. East and South Asia again led growth in the
region, as high commodity prices and industrial activity supported economic performance


Fiscal policies have added
to demand pressures


The global slowdown will
affect growth in 2009




109Regional developments and outlook


throughout most of the year. Africa’s growth, also above 5 per cent, was likewise driven
by the commodity sector, but saw strong support from the recovery in agriculture and
improved domestic demand.


Growth in all countries of the region is expected to slow considerably in 2009,
to 4.6 per cent. The region, which initially seemed immune from the financial crisis, is
now affected by the precipitous decline in commodity prices and is experiencing sharp for-
eign capital outflows as investors seek “safe havens”, thus threatening the financial stabil-
ity of some economies. Additionally, this has led to depreciating currencies and tightened
credit conditions. As the impact of the global economic slowdown spreads throughout
the region, it will have stronger adverse effects on export demand, commodity prices and,
subsequently, investment and aid flows.


Africa: The end of the commodity boom


Amidst a deteriorating economic environment, growth in Africa slowed in 2008, but the
region managed to maintain its fifth consecutive year of growth of over 5 per cent. Hav-
ing been propped up by increased revenue from the continent’s commodity exports in the
first half of the year, as well as continued improvements in non-oil sectors, such as agri-
culture and tourism, growth dropped to 5.1 per cent, from 6.0 per cent in 2007 (see table
A.3). This figure masks considerable disparities across the region as household spending
has been constrained in many cases by rapid inflation growth, higher interest rates and,
to a lesser extent, domestic disturbances. As the global economy and commodity prices
weaken further, growth is expected to decelerate to 4.1 per cent in 2009.


Africa’s lack of integration into the global financial system kept it relatively im-
mune from the direct effects of the global financial crisis in 2008, but the region is already
being affected indirectly through slower global growth and credit tightening, which is
having an impact on investment flows, export demand, commodity prices and exchange-
rate vulnerability. In South Africa, which had made considerable progress towards mac-
roeconomic stability, the rand weakened by about 23 per cent against the United States
dollar between September and November 2008 as a “flight to safety” triggered a sell-off
in equities and bonds. The Government of Nigeria was forced to revise its 2009 budget
downwards in response to lower oil prices, and there are growing fears about the stability
of the country’s currency, despite its ample foreign reserves totalling $63 billion.


Although oil and other commodity prices have generally fallen in the second
half of 2008, they remained high on average for the year by historical standards. Oil-
exporting African countries grew at 6.1 per cent in 2008 compared with a 4.3 per cent
growth rate in the net fuel exporters (see figure IV.7). High energy and food prices, and
slowing aid and private capital inflows were among the key factors that contributed to the
growth slowdown in the oil-importing African economies.


Growth decelerated in all subregions in 2008, with the exception of Central
Africa, but remained generally strong owing to healthy commodity exports and a rebound in
agricultural output in the first half of 2008. As the global downturn extends into 2009, weak-
ened trade with Europe and the United States, along with dampened commodity exports to
China and the rest of the world, will curtail growth in most economies of the region.


North Africa recorded a 5.1 per cent growth rate in 2008, as high oil revenues,
the construction boom and tourism receipts boosted both public and private consump-
tion in most countries; in Central Africa, however, robust growth was mainly due to the
rebound in oil production in the Congo. In West Africa, growth in 2008 was supported by


Africa’s growth slowed
in 2008


The global financial turmoil
will have indirect effects on
the region


Oil exporters benefited
from strong revenues in
the first half of 2008


The slowdown will
accelerate in 2009


Subregional growth is
supported by tourism,
agriculture and recovery
in conflict areas




110 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


conflict recovery and improved stability in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, increased oil produc-
tion and prices in Nigeria and the expansion in mining activity, construction and tourism
in many countries of the subregion.


East Africa, led by Ethiopia, continued to maintain the highest growth in the
continent, benefiting from improved agricultural performance, healthy aid inflows and
strong growth in tourism and investment in the first half of 2008. However, growth in
most of the countries of this subregion remains constrained by infrastructure bottlenecks,
especially those related to energy and transportation. In addition, reduced aid and invest-
ment flows in 2009 will significantly curtail growth.


In Southern Africa, economic performance moderated from 6.2 per cent in
2007 to 4.2 per cent in 2008, led by sharply lower growth in South Africa owing to a
tightening in consumer spending and the slowdown in mining and quarrying. Delays
in donor funding, power shortages and high interest rates weakened growth in the other
countries of the region.


Inflation in Africa, excluding Zimbabwe, was 10.7 per cent in 2008, up from
6.4 per cent in 2007. Over 90 per cent of the 51 African countries with available data re-
corded a 5 per cent or more rate of inflation in 2008, up from 60 per cent in 2007. Only
three countries (the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and the Comoros) had infla-
tion rates of less than 5 per cent in 2008, while Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation rate of over 11
million per cent remains the highest in the continent. Most of Africa’s recent inflation has
been imported through high energy and food prices in world markets, but domestic fac-
tors have also played a role, including widening government deficits and strong domestic
demand growth, especially in the oil-exporting countries of the region. Poor harvests in
Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya placed additional domestic pressure on food pric-
es, leading to double-digit increases in inflation in 2008 and widespread food insecurity


South Africa experiences
a sharp slowdown


Inflation is up in 2008, but
is expected to subside


in the outlook


Figure IV.7
Growth in Africa,a oil versus non-oil economies, 2006-2008


Percentage


5.7
6.0


5.1


5.5


6.6


5.9
5.7


4.9


4.3


0.0


1.0


2.0


3.0


4.0


5.0


6.0


7.0


2006 2007 2008


Africa


Oil producers


Non-oil economies


Source: UN/DESA.
a Excluding Seychelles


and Swaziland owing
to lack of data.




111Regional developments and outlook


throughout the region. Although improvements in food supplies from the fall harvests
and lower international commodity prices should lower prices and lead to a deceleration
of inflation in 2009, the food crisis still exists and remains a long-term challenge for the
region (see box IV.2).


Unemployment is expected to increase throughout Africa, as the expansion in the
services, construction and public works sectors, which helped to boost employment creation
in urban areas, particularly in North Africa, is expected to weaken. Slower formal sector job
creation will also push a greater number of workers into the already large informal economy.


Employment conditions
will deteriorate


Africa’s response to the food crisis


Over the last four decades, Africa has witnessed frequent food shortages leading to heavy dependence
on food imports and aid, making Africa particularly vulnerable to shocks in the international food
market. One third of the population of sub-Saharan Africa suffered from chronic hunger in the period
1990-1992, a proportion that had declined by only 4 percentage points by 2003-2005, while the
absolute number of people suffering from hunger increased from 169 million to 212 million over the
same period.a


The situation worsened dramatically following the most recent global food crisis,
especially for African net food importers. It is estimated that an additional 24 million people in sub-
Saharan Africa were malnourished in 2007 owing to the increase in food prices; inflation also increased
from 6.4 per cent in 2007 to 10.7 per cent in 2008, driven mainly by increases in prices for food,
transport and energy.b Although food and oil prices have come down in the second half of 2008, the
problem persists, as the recurrent crises in Africa are largely the result of longer-term issues related to
the neglect of the agriculture sector and poor and inconsistent agricultural development policies.


As a short-term response to the food crisis, the international community increased food
aid to the worst affected countries; at the domestic level, policies focused on stabilizing food supplies,
controlling prices and increasing transfers (see table below). These policies had mixed effects, some
of which contributed to further price increases. For example, in Egypt, subsidized bread was diverted
to feed animals, thereby exaggerating the shortage in the market, while export restrictions may have
led to panic and hoarding of certain commodities (see chapter II, box II.1).


Most African countries have also started to introduce measures to increase supply. In
Senegal, where prices for rice have doubled between July 2007 and 2008, fertilizer subsidies have
been expanded, leading to a substantial increase in areas devoted to the cultivation of food crops.
Additionally, the forecast for total cereal production in Africa for 2008 has increased to 152.8 million
tons, up from the 141.3 million tons estimated for 2007, and slightly higher than the 2006 harvest.


Although short-term supply increases may help to mitigate the crisis in the near term, in
the long run, solving Africa’s food crisis requires strategies to further enhance agricultural investment
and productivity. High food prices have offered an incentive to increase private investment in
agriculture, but more still needs to be done by Governments to provide an enabling environment.
The African Union’s decision in July 2008 to focus its long-term commitment on investments for
increased productivity and risk mitigation, including enhanced institutional and human capacities for
agricultural development, is a step in this direction. These strategies build on the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
framework that was agreed in 2003. Some components of the strategy include:


a) Increased agricultural productivity


In addition to more investment in better technologies, increasing agricultural productivity
requires better access to credit and land, a revival of extension services and public investment
in related infrastructure such as transport, communication, storage and irrigation. Although
most African countries still have large areas of unused arable land with which to increase pro-
duction, there are limits owing to high population growth and competing demands for non-


Box IV.2


a Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United
Nations, “Hunger on the rise:
Soaring prices add 75
million people to global
hunger rolls”, briefing
paper, 17 September 2008,
available from http://
www.fao.org/newsroom/
common/ecg/1000923/en/
hungerfigs.pdf.


b Ibid.




112 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Box IV.2 (cont’d)


Table
African Government policy responses to the food crisis, January 2006-August 2008


Country
Tax reductions
on food staples Trade restrictions


Trade
liberalization


Consumer
subsidy


Social
protection Supply increases


Algeria
Angola
Benin
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Comoros
Congo
Côte d’Ivoire
Egypt
Ethiopia
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Kenya
Liberia
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Morocco
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Rwanda
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
Sudan
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
United Republic of Tanzania
Zambia
Zimbabwe


Frequency 15 13 18 17 17 20


Sources: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2008 and World Bank, 2008.




113Regional developments and outlook


In most African economies, monetary policy is taking either a tightening or
neutral stance in order to keep inflation under control. In Nigeria, the Central Bank
increased the amount of foreign exchange sold to retail banks to offset the rise in govern-
ment expenditures from windfall oil profits. As commodity prices fall and the dollar gains
strength, currency depreciation is also a concern for some commodity exporters. In Ghana
and Mozambique, the central banks switched to a tightening stance in 2008 to stabilize
exchange rates and control imported inflation, the Bank of Ghana increasing its prime rate
from 16 to 17 per cent in July in an attempt to combat inflationary pressures. In South
Africa, however, the benchmark rate has held at 12 per cent since August, despite the con-
tinued rise in inflation and rand depreciation, owing to the weakness in the economy.


High energy and food prices pushed the proportion of oil-importing countries
with fiscal deficits up from 76 per cent in 2007 to 86 per cent in 2008. On average, these
countries recorded a fiscal deficit of -1.7 per cent of GDP, compared with a surplus of 7
per cent for oil-exporting countries. To maintain fiscal stability, many countries resorted
to additional measures to control public spending and finance their deficits, such as reduc-
ing expenditures on development projects and service delivery. With a rapidly deteriorat-
ing external environment, these countries will likely be in need of further debt relief. A
scaling-up of aid may also be necessary in order to sustain the progress made in the past
few years in macroeconomic management and stability, as well as in achieving the Millen-
nium Development Goals.


Relatively high energy and food prices, particularly in the first half of 2008,
led to a widening of current-account deficits in oil-importing African countries, from -6.3
per cent of GDP in 2007 to -7.2 per cent as of September 2008. At the same time, the


Monetary policy remains
a challenge as growth
subsides


Fiscal deficits are widening


Current-account balances
also worsened in 2008


food production and industry. In many African countries, dual property systems also exist,
with State-regulated property rights and customary management overlapping. In such cases,
it is important to strengthen land tenure security, which can in turn facilitate access to credit.


b) Market access and regionally integrated value chains


Regionally integrated value chains are important for expanding input and output markets,
particularly for smallholder farmers who are often at a disadvantage regarding access to both
domestic and export markets. Such integration can create the scope to exploit economies of
scale and improve access to new technologies and complementary infrastructure and ser-
vices. To enable smallholders to participate, however, requires coordination at the regional
level in order to improve the quality and safety of products, harmonize standards and ensure
adequate flow of information to potential value chain participants.


c) Mobilizing resources for investment in agriculture


The commitment by African countries to spend at least 10 per cent of national budgets on
agriculture and rural development (see also chapter II, box II.1) will go a long way to making
more resources available. However, given the huge gaps in research, information and financial
support for agriculture, this effort needs to be complemented by development partners. In
this regard, the proposal by the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Eco-
nomic Development, held in Addis Ababa on 2 and 3 April 2007, to establish a funding mecha-
nism (in consultation with the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agri-
cultural Development) to scale up agricultural investment in the continent should be pursued.
In addition, the Aid for Trade Initiative can play an important role in increasing investment and
productivity in African agriculture. It is crucial that the current financial crisis not result in a
reduction of aid; rather, donors should honour their commitments to increase the volume and
quality of aid, including by ensuring better allocation in line with recipient priorities.


Box IV.2 (cont’d)




114 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


current-account surplus of oil-exporting countries increased from 10.5 per cent to 17.7
per cent. Therefore, the continent’s overall current-account position, which was showing
a surplus of 7.4 per cent in September 2008, is a reflection of the high revenues generated
by oil-exporting countries. Although the current moderation in commodity prices should
improve the terms of trade and lower the import bills of many net fuel importers in 2009,
it comes at a time when export demand has weakened globally, thus potentially offsetting
the overall effects. Similarly, while most African currencies for which data are available
appreciated against the United States dollar in the first half of 2008, the trend reversed
from the third quarter of 2008.


The continent’s prospects for 2009 are subject to strong uncertainties stemming
mainly from the recent global financial crisis. However, risks remain tilted towards the
downside owing to the global slowdown. Although the decline in oil and food prices will
ease the economic burden on the net fuel and food importers, there are adverse consequences
from a sharp decline in commodity prices for the region as a whole. In general, a hard land-
ing of commodity prices could set in motion a calamitous chain of events leading to capital
flight, significant depreciation of currency, increased inflation and interest rates, and a fur-
ther decline in growth. Also owing to the global financial crisis and economic downturn,
lower aid and private capital flows, especially FDI and remittances would have a significant
impact on growth in 2009. Moreover, despite some improvements in security, Africa remains
vulnerable to political conflicts. An escalation of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo could have repercussions for political stability in other parts of the region.


East Asia: A continuation of deceleration


As a consequence of the deepened international financial crisis, the deceleration of eco-
nomic activity in East Asia will continue during 2009, as GDP growth is expected to drop
to 6.0 per cent, down from 6.9 per cent in 2008 and 9.0 per cent in 2007 (see table A.3).
The baseline scenario for the growth outlook assumes that there will be economic recovery
in the developed economies in the second half of 2009. Should this not occur, however,
GDP growth in the region would slow to 3.7 per cent in 2009.


Overall, East Asian countries initially seemed insulated at the onset of the
financial turmoil emanating from the United States and Europe. Banks were prudently
leveraged and had limited exposure to sub-prime mortgage debt. Additionally, the $3
trillion in foreign-exchange reserves, which is more than 10 times the usable resources of
the IMF,11 gives economies some measure of confidence to defend their currencies in the
event of a speculative attack. Nonetheless, there is growing evidence that the economies
in the region will be hit hard. As the financial crisis and subsequent slowdown continued
to unfold, some countries experienced sharp capital outflows, threatening financial stabil-
ity towards the end of 2008. For instance, in the Republic of Korea, the won dropped 21
per cent in just two months, between August and October of 2008. Although a special
$30 billion swap line extended by the United States Fed helped stabilize the won, other
countries in the region remain vulnerable to the substantial decrease in foreign-exchange
reserves and may require emergency financial support.


The effect of the global slowdown on export demand, and subsequently on
GDP growth, in 2008 was pervasive across countries in the region. In China, the region’s
locomotive, GDP growth dropped from 11.9 per cent in 2007 to a lower, albeit still high,
9.1 per cent in 2008. The decline would have been greater had it not been for the contin-


11 November 2008 data.


Risks remain tilted
towards the downside


East Asian economic
growth is still decelerating


The financial system is
prudent, but is still subject


to the impact from the
global financial turmoil


Commodity-exporting
countries suffered


less from the global
slowdown in 2008




115Regional developments and outlook


ued strong growth in domestic final demand. Cambodia, the Philippines and Singapore,
with their heavy reliance on manufacturing exports to industrialized countries, have been
affected the most by the global slowdown, with GDP growth dropping by about 3 percent-
age points in 2008 compared with 2007. In contrast, record high prices of export com-
modities, including rice, palm oil and energy, in the first half of 2008 allowed countries
such as Thailand, Indonesia and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia, to sustain growth rates in
2008 at levels similar to those in 2007.


On average, the year-on-year consumer price index (CPI) headline inflation
rate is expected to drop to 3.6 per cent in 2009, from 6.4 per cent in 2008, as commodity
and energy prices decline. During 2008, inflation climbed most steeply in South-East Asia,
reaching a peak in July (see figure IV.8). In Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
(SAR) of China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan Province of China, the trend was less
steep, but also peaked in July. In contrast, the inflation rate in China peaked in February
and then started to decline owing to the gradual recovery in the production of meats and
fresh vegetables; by October it had reached its lowest level in 16 months. As commodity
prices continue to decline and export demand from industrialized countries cools further,
all countries in the region are expected to experience a moderation of inflation in 2009.


As economic growth slows, the employment situation in some economies has
already started to show signs of deterioration. Recent statistics for Hong Kong SAR, Sin-
gapore and Taiwan Province of China show rising unemployment rates from mid-2008.
In some other economies, anecdotal evidence also points to a weakening of employment
growth. Given the decline of economic growth in East Asia, unemployment rates for many
countries are expected to increase by about 1 percentage point in 2009 over 2008.


The monetary policy response to the twin risks of rapidly rising commodity
prices and the international financial crisis varied across countries. In South-East Asia,
where inflation increased most steeply in the first half of 2008, the central banks initially


Widespread inflation has
peaked in East Asia


The employment outlook
is not very bright


Monetary policy is
displaying a mixed stance


Figure IV.8
Year-on-year headline consumer price index inflation rates, 2007-September 2008


Percentage


0


2


4


6


8


10


12


Ja
n-


07


M
ar


-0
7


M
ay


-0
7


Ju
l-0


7


Se
p-


07


N
ov


-0
7


M
ar


-0
8


M
ay


-0
8


Ju
l-0


8


Se
p-


08


Ja
n-


08


South-East Asia


China


Hong Kong SAR,a Republic of Korea,
and Taiwan Province of China


Source: Various National
Statistical Offices.
a Special Administrative
Region of China.




116 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


reacted by increasing interest rates. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank of
the Philippines), the Bank of Thailand and the Bank of Indonesia all had multiple increas-
es in their key policy rates in mid-2008. By early October, however, the People’s Bank of
China and the Bank of Korea cut interest rates in concert with the loosening stance of the
central banks in developed economies.


Fiscal policy was expansionary in East Asia during 2008. During the first half
of the year, many countries implemented or expanded subsidy programmes to soften the
impact of rapidly rising fuel and food prices on vulnerable groups, thereby worsening fis-
cal balances. In Malaysia, the cost of fuel and food subsidies tripled in 2008 compared
with the previous year, increasing the fiscal deficit from 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2007 to
4.8 per cent in 2008. In the Republic of Korea, whose fiscal surplus dropped from 3.8 per
cent of GDP in 2007 to 1.1 per cent of GDP in 2008, the Government implemented an
economic stimulus package amounting to $11 billion dollars (1.2 per cent of GDP); in
China, the Government has introduced a massive stimulus package, in an amount that is
almost equal to total government spending in 2006, to be implemented during 2009 and
2010. Although the details of the package have not yet been released, back-of-the-envelope
calculations suggest that the package, while large ($586 billion, or 15 per cent of GDP, to
be spent over two years), would provide an additional stimulus of about 2 per cent of GDP
per year, after deducting recent trend growth of public expenditures. The aim of China’s
package is to strengthen domestic demand through public investment in infrastructure.
The targeted areas include low-income housing, rural infrastructure, water, electricity,
transportation, the environment, technological innovation and rebuilding from several
disasters, most notably the earthquake of 12 May. This package is also designed to boost
the income of the poor through measures including higher subsidies and an increased
government purchase price for grains in 2009.


External balances came under pressure across East Asia in 2008 owing to the
high cost of commodities and weakened export demand. Nevertheless, most countries
continued to exhibit current-account surpluses. China, for instance, experienced a reduc-
tion in its current-account surplus from 11.5 per cent of GDP in 2007 to 8.5 per cent of
GDP in 2008, while in the Republic of Korea, a surplus of 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2007
turned into a deficit of 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2008 on account of the rising costs of com-
modity imports and increased tourism spending abroad. Consistent with these shifts in
current-account positions, nominal exchange rates depreciated in most countries, with the
exception of China, reversing previously appreciating trends.


Given the sombre outlook for the global economic environment, economic
prospects in East Asia, too, face serious downside risk. The most compelling concern is
the potential for a complete meltdown of the financial system in the developed economies
that would directly undermine the financial sector in East Asia. This would drag down the
regional growth rate by at least 1-2 percentage points.


South Asia: Expectations of a slowdown in robust growth


Economic growth in South Asia remained robust in 2008 at 7.0 per cent, despite a slow-
down in a number of countries in the region. Growth was upheld by high commodity
export earnings in the first half of 2008 in Bangladesh, the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Pakistan and Sri Lanka; there was also improved political stability in Nepal. However,
the region’s GDP growth is expected to slow to 6.4 per cent in 2009 amidst the fallout


China is leading fiscal
stimulus in the region


Current-account surpluses
fell and current-account
deficits widened in 2008


The slowdown will spread
from the industrial to the


service sector




117Regional developments and outlook


from the global financial crisis. While the slowdown has thus far mainly been limited to
the industrial sector, it is expected to spread to the service sector as the squeeze on costs
becomes more pervasive and demand slackens.


Although financial institutions in South Asian countries had little direct ex-
posure to the United States sub-prime mortgage market, the global financial crisis has
had indirect effects on domestic financial markets, with money markets experiencing an
unusual tightening of liquidity. In addition, outflows of foreign capital have posed seri-
ous problems in both India and Pakistan. In India, during the first two weeks of October
2008, foreign-exchange reserves fell by more than $17 billion, partly due to foreign capital
outflows. In the case of Pakistan, foreign-exchange reserves, which had stood at $16.5 bil-
lion in October 2007, decreased to about $7 billion a year later.


In India, economic activity, which had been growing at 9 per cent or more on
average over the past three years, has been moderating in response to stepped-up mon-
etary tightening, the hardening of commodity prices in international markets and global
financial strains. Pakistan is forecast to see a fall in its growth rate to 3.8 per cent owing to
continued political uncertainty, problems of law and order and severe electricity shortages.
Growth in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is the only net oil exporter in the subre-
gion, will moderate from 6.0 per cent in 2008 to 5.6 per cent in 2009, after robust growth
momentum owing to high oil revenues as well as strong private consumption and invest-
ment. Some deceleration in growth is also expected in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka
because of weaker performance in the commodity-producing sectors and a slowdown in
the service sector.


Inflation rates have increased throughout the region, owing mainly to higher
international commodity prices. In India, inflation rose moderately from 6.4 per cent in
2007 to 8 per cent in 2008, but in Pakistan it increased by over 4 percentage points, to
12 per cent in 2008, with food inflation reaching 17.6 per cent. In Bangladesh, inflation
was about 10 per cent—despite the fact that much of the increase in fuel oil prices had
not been passed on to consumers—while in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sri Lanka,
prices increased by more than 20 per cent. The economic slowdown and lower energy and
commodity prices will reduce inflationary pressures in 2009, although supply constraints
and an upward revision in administered prices of fuel oil and electricity will offset part of
these effects in some countries (Pakistan, for instance).


Most countries in the region, with the notable exception of the Islamic Republic
of Iran, pursued strict monetary policies to contain inflation in 2008. In addition, some
Governments introduced new or strengthened existing short-term measures to curb food-
price increases. In Bangladesh, for example, these included the open-market sale of food
grains at subsidized prices and a reduction in the interest rate on credits for food imports.


While government revenues increased in a number of countries, the increase
in expenditures was much larger, owing primarily to increased subsidies and increases in
public sector wages. In Pakistan, the budget deficit rose to 7.4 per cent of GDP in 2008,
the highest level in the past 10 years, while in Sri Lanka, the budget deficit is estimated to
remain at about 7 per cent of GDP. In India, increases in government salaries and subsi-
dies on food, fertilizers and certain fuel oil products are expected to lead to a deficit of 3.5
per cent of GDP in 2008. In the outlook, however, as in a number of other countries in the
region, India’s fiscal deficit is expected to increase, owing to slower growth in tax revenues
in the light of weaker economic growth as well as the likely need for further fiscal stimuli
to overcome the negative impacts of the current global economic crisis.


The financial crisis has led
to tighter liquidity and
shrinking currency reserves


Growth rates will be lower
across the region


High inflation will remain
problematic


Monetary policies have
been in a tightening mode


Fiscal balances will
deteriorate further …




118 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


The surge in prices of fuel oil, food and other commodities wreaked havoc on
external balances in the region, as higher import costs have led to both deteriorating trade
balances and further pressure on foreign-currency reserves. In Pakistan, for example, the
value of imports in dollar terms was roughly double the value of exports in 2008, and the
merchandise trade deficit of $20 billion was about 12 per cent of GDP. In 2009, trade bal-
ances in the region will remain under pressure, as weaker demand in overseas markets will
lead to a stagnating export performance.


Employment in the region will suffer in the light of the global economic crisis,
whose effects will be especially felt in labour-intensive export industries such as textiles.
However, the large amount of workers’ remittances has so far remained a stabilizing factor
for aggregate household income in the region. In Bangladesh, remittances increased by 32
per cent in 2008 and were close to $8 billion; remittances in Nepal increased by about 20
per cent to roughly $1.7 billion; and Pakistan received a record $6.5 billion in terms of
remittances in 2008. Since most of these remittances originate from the oil-rich Middle
Eastern countries, if oil prices fall considerably over a sustained period, remittances will
likely decline, with large shares of the population losing an important source of livelihood
and aggravating the problem of poverty.


Risks to the outlook are mainly on the downside. The external environment is
particularly uncertain at the present time because of the unfolding global financial crisis
and the volatility of oil prices. The global financial crisis, if it worsens, will prolong the
global slowdown, adversely affecting the economies of the subregion through export de-
mand, investment flows and exchange-rate volatility. In addition, several countries in the
subregion face political conflicts that add to the uncertainty.


Western Asia: Resilience amidst
deteriorating external conditions


The Western Asia region went through a rapidly changing external environment in 2008,
showing considerable resilience to deteriorating global conditions. Driven by high aver-
age oil prices and strong consumption and investment spending, economic activity in
the region expanded at a robust pace of 4.9 per cent in 2008, compared with 4.7 per cent
in 2007 (see table A.3). Against the background of the global financial crisis, economic
growth in the region is expected to slow down to 2.7 per cent in 2009.


The region will experience a sharp decline in export revenues in the outlook
as average oil prices are forecast to drop by 35 per cent in 2009 amidst slowing global
demand. In addition, tighter credit conditions and deteriorating business and consumer
confidence are likely to weaken domestic demand throughout the region, possibly trig-
gering delays in several large investment projects. The global credit crisis has had a severe
impact on the banking sectors in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
owing to their direct linkages to international money and capital markets. However, de-
cisive actions by central banks to ensure liquidity and guarantee bank deposits helped to
stabilize the financial sector in the region. While the main oil exporting countries in the
region are not immune to the crisis, their strong fiscal and external positions will cushion
them against the global economic downturn and sharply lower oil prices.


Surging international commodity prices in the first half of 2008 and higher
production volumes led to strong growth in energy-related sectors, including crude oil, liq-
uefied natural gas and petrochemicals. In the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC), robust growth in wealth in recent years, coupled with improved business and con-


… while weaker exports
will keep external balances


under pressure


The slowdown will
negatively affect


employment, although
remittances will remain a


stabilizing factor


Factors of uncertainty
include a prolonged


financial crisis and internal
conflicts


Economies remain resilient,
but growth is slowing


down markedly


Export revenues are
dropping sharply as global


demand weakens


Oil exporters benefited
from high prices and


increased production
in 2008




119Regional developments and outlook


sumer sentiment, negative real interest rates and large public sector salary hikes, boosted
domestic demand in 2008. This contributed to a broad-based expansion in non-petroleum
sectors, in particular, business and transport services, communications, finance and con-
struction. Average GDP growth in the GCC countries increased to an estimated 6.2 per
cent in 2008, but is forecast to drop to 3.2 per cent in 2009 as oil prices trend lower and
investment growth decelerates.


Western Asian countries with more diversified economies continued to ben-
efit from the buoyant conditions in the GCC countries through increased remittances,
foreign direct investment flows, and tourism and export receipts. In Iraq and Lebanon,
political progress and improved security conditions contributed to economic recoveries in
2008. While the more diversified economies in the region, with the exception of Turkey,
have not experienced any significant direct effects from the financial crisis, the sharp eco-
nomic downturn in the developed and GCC countries will have a negative impact on their
growth in 2009.


The Turkish economy faces a severe slowdown as both external and domestic
demand weaken. GDP growth is expected to average only 2.8 per cent in 2008—the low-
est rate since 2001. The outlook for 2009 remains bleak as the economy is hit by the global
credit crunch and probable recessions in major export markets. Weak demand will severely
affect the manufacturing sector, most notably the automotive, textile and electronics in-
dustries. In spite of having stronger macroeconomic fundamentals than in the past, the
Turkish economy remains vulnerable to deteriorating credit conditions and capital rever-
sals owing to the size and composition of its current-account deficit. This became clear
in October 2008, when Turkish bond spreads widened significantly and the Turkish lira
dropped sharply against the United States dollar. However, market conditions improved
in November 2008, and the country is expected to avoid recession in 2009.


Economic activity in Israel continued to expand at a robust pace throughout
the first half of 2008, but slowed considerably later in the year. While the Israeli economy
remains fundamentally sound, weaker export demand and reduced availability of venture
capital and other financing sources are likely to have an impact on economic activity in
the short run. GDP growth is forecast to decline from 4.0 per cent in 2008 to 1.8 per cent
in 2009.


Despite the economic recovery in recent years, unemployment and underem-
ployment rates, particularly among youth, remain staggeringly high in many Western
Asian countries, most notably in the non-oil exporting economies. In Jordan, where un-
employment declined slightly from 13.1 per cent in 2007 to 12.9 per cent during the first
eight months of 2008, about three quarters of the unemployed are concentrated in the
15-29 year-old age group. In Turkey, the unemployment rate had started to rise even before
the financial turmoil intensified, averaging 10.1 per cent during the first seven months of
2008. Meanwhile, unemployment in Israel dropped to a two-decade low of 5.9 per cent in
the second quarter of 2008 as a result of the country’s broad-based economic expansion.


Western Asian countries experienced further acceleration of consumer price in-
flation in the first half of 2008. Annual inflation is expected to surpass 10 per cent in all
countries, except Bahrain and Israel, averaging 10 per cent for the region as a whole. Sharply
higher food prices and housing costs were the main drivers of inflation. This resulted, in part,
from trends in global markets, especially the rise in commodity prices and the weakness of
the United States dollar, to which most countries in the region peg their currencies. Yet,
domestic factors and policies continued to add to inflationary pressures as ample liquidity,
the rapid expansion of consumer credit and increased subsidies fuelled domestic demand. In


Global slowdown clouds
the outlook for diversified
economies


Turkey has been severely
hit by the financial turmoil
and the recession in
developed countries


Growth in Israel is slowing
considerably despite sound
fundamentals


Labour-market challenges
have increased with the
global crisis


Inflation soared owing to
high commodity prices and
buoyant domestic demand




120 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


addition, average wages were on the rise, particularly in the GCC countries, driven by public
sector wage hikes and shortages of skilled labour in the private sector. Given the substantial
decline in commodity prices and the strengthening of the United States dollar, inflation
across the region is expected to fall gradually, but will remain at historically high levels.


In the GCC countries, central banks maintained stable foreign-exchange rates
against nominal anchors, particularly the United States dollar, despite considerable debate
and speculation about revaluations of national currencies. This is all the more important
as authorities in GCC countries, with the exception of Oman, remain committed to the
creation of a monetary union, even though the target date of 2010 is unlikely to be met
(see box IV.3). Interest rates in the GCC countries, thus, largely followed United States
interest rates downwards in 2008. As a result, central banks faced difficulties in imple-
menting effective monetary measures to absorb excessive domestic liquidity and alleviate
inflationary pressures.


GCC countries remain
committed to


exchange-rate pegs


The creation of a Gulf Cooperation Council monetary union


Since its inception in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has progressively worked towards
advancing the economic integration of its member countries. This process includes the creation of
three key institutional frameworks: a customs union, a common market and a proposed monetary
union. The GCC Customs Union was launched in January 2003, and the GCC Common Market was
declared in January 2008; the target for a single currency was set for January 2010.


While major technical and legislative obstacles remain, the member countries, with the
exception of Oman, have repeatedly emphasized their commitment to the target date for the mon-
etary union. At a meeting in September 2008, the GCC finance ministers approved a set of proposals
for the creation of a monetary council as a precursor to a GCC central bank as well as for a draft char-
ter for the monetary union. As GCC policymakers have increasingly become aware of the necessity
for coordinated multilateral actions to promote economic stability among member States, a new set
of institutional arrangements are expected to be established after endorsement by the GCC Heads
of State at its summit in December 2008.


In addition to geographic proximity and a similar cultural background, GCC member
countries share similar economic structures dominated by the production and export of hydrocar-
bons (crude oil and natural gas) and similar economic diversification strategies. Although similarities
in macroeconomic structures, dynamics and trade patterns have led to a high degree of monetary
convergence, fiscal convergence has remained less prominent.a Following the precedent set by the
European Monetary Union, GCC member countries agreed to meet a set of convergence criteria
before introducing a common currency. A recent study conducted by the Dubai International Finan-
cial Centreb shows that all monetary and fiscal criteria have been met, except inflation targets and a
common foreign exchange-rate regime with all currencies pegged to the United States dollar. As of
31 December 2007, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had not met the inflation criterion. Moreover,
surging headline inflation in most member countries in the first half of 2008 has further impeded
meeting that target. As for the foreign-exchange rate criterion, Kuwait is the only GCC country out-
side the criteria, as it has dropped the peg to the United States dollar and instead now pegs its cur-
rency to a basket of currencies of its major trading partners.


Recent economic events, such as the surge in international commodity prices, have
highlighted the issue of real parity among the national currencies. Figures A and B below show the
estimated nominal effective exchange rates (NEER) and the real effective exchange rates (REER) of
the GCC countries. Owing to the peg to the United States dollar and similarities in trade structures,
a close convergence among member countries, with the exception of Kuwait, has been achieved
in the NEER. However, cumulative differences in domestic inflation rates have led to a divergence in
terms of the REER, particularly since 2005. This situation implies different possibilities for price adjust-
ments after the introduction of the single currency, depending mostly on expectations. Price levels


Box IV.3


a Michael Sturm and
Nikolaus Siegfried,


“Regional monetary
integration in the
member states of


the Gulf Cooperation
Council”, European


Central Bank, Occasional
Paper Series, No. 31, June


2005; United Nations
Economic and Social


Commission for Western
Asia, “Macroeconomic


policy analysis for
regional cooperation in
the ESCWA region: The
effect of real exchange


rate variability on
intraregional trade”,
Doc. No. E/ESCWA/


EAD/2003/1, 31
March 2003.


b Dubai International
Financial Centre, Office of


the Chief Economist, “An
Assessment of the progress


toward GCC monetary
union”, Economic Note No. 1,


19 August 2008.




121Regional developments and outlook


Box IV.3 (cont’d)


Figure A
Nominal effective exchange rates of the
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, 2000-2008


2000 = 1.00


0.80


0.90


1.00


1.10


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008


Bahrain
Kuwait
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates


Source: United Nations
Economic and Social
Commission for Western Asia,
staff estimates.
Note: The nominal effective
exchange rate (NEER)
measures the nominal value
of a national currency against
a basket of currencies of
major trading partners (China,
India, Japan, Republic of
Korea, the euro zone, United
States, United Kingdom and
regional partners).


Figure B
Real effective exchange rates of the
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, 2000-2008


2000 = 1.00


Bahrain
Kuwait
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates


0.70


0.75


0.80


0.85


0.90


0.95


1.00


1.05


1.10


1.15


1.20


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008


Source: United Nations
Economic and Social
Commission for Western
Asia, staff estimates.
Note: The real effective
exchange rate (REER)
measures the value of a
national currency against a
basket of currencies of major
trading partners (China,
India, Japan, Republic of
Korea, the euro zone, United
States, United Kingdom and
regional partners), adjusted
by domestic and foreign
price levels.




122 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Governments in most Western Asian countries pursued expansionary fiscal
policies in 2008, including higher spending on health, education and infrastructure. De-
spite strong expenditure growth, the GCC countries ran substantial fiscal surpluses in
2008. In countries with a weaker revenue base such as Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab
Republic and Yemen, high international commodity prices became a serious fiscal burden
as subsidies on basic food items and fuel products increased sharply, prompting Jordan and
the Syrian Arab Republic to reduce fuel subsidies in 2008.


Trends in trade and current-account balances differ sharply between the oil-
exporting and importing economies. Higher average prices for oil and gas, along with
increased production, led to massive increases in export earnings in the GCC countries
and Iraq. Despite strong import growth, current-account surpluses in those countries, in
2008, are expected to exceed the already high levels of 2007 (see figure IV.9). In 2009,
trade and current-account surpluses of oil-exporting countries will drop substantially. In
Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen, rising import costs outpaced increased export rev-
enues, resulting in widening current-account deficits. However, these deficits have been
well financed by the inflows of foreign capital and remittances as the countries recorded a
steady increase in foreign reserves. While lower oil and food prices are expected to reduce
import spending in 2009, financing of the current-account deficits is likely to become
more difficult as FDI inflows decline and access to credit tightens.


There are substantial downside risks to the economic outlook for the Western
Asia region, including, most importantly, a collapse of oil prices and a further deteriora-
tion of global financing conditions that result in a sudden reversal of capital flows. A sharp
and lasting decline in oil prices would not only impact private and public investment in
oil-exporting countries, but would also have adverse spillover effects on the more diversi-
fied economies in the region. Additionally, sharply higher borrowing costs and massive
capital outflows are a serious threat for the economies in the region that face large external
imbalances, especially Turkey.


Increased subsidies strain
government budgets in the
more diversified economies


Current-account surpluses
in the GCC countries were


reaching record
levels in 2008


Downside risks include
the collapse of oil prices
and the sudden reversal


of capital flows


may converge downwards towards those of Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the GCC. However,
this favourable scenario would most likely require highly integrated goods, capital and labour mar-
kets. Another possibility is that price levels will converge upwards in line with market expectations.
For example, the cash changeover to the euro in 2002 resulted in high perceived inflation in the euro
area, as opposed to a rather stable actual inflation.c Such high perceived inflation, if it were to occur in
the GCC countries, could translate into higher actual inflation through wage pressures. Considering
recent price dynamics, a short-term transitory acceleration of inflation in several countries is therefore
likely if the planned introduction of the single currency includes an imminent cash changeoverd.


It should be emphasized that the monetary union is well placed to be a catalyst for fur-
ther economic integration and economic development of GCC member countries. The resulting inte-
gration of money and capital markets will have scale effects, thereby reducing the financing costs in
member countries and encouraging economic diversification. However, several technical and legisla-
tive obstacles still remain, in particular the effective harmonization of national institutions, including
payment systems, financing facilities of central banks and money markets, and the jurisdiction of finan-
cial transactions, as well as a harmonization of policy infrastructure. In addition, policymakers need to
decide upon the institutional and governance structure of a supranational central bank. That includes,
among other things, the amount of foreign currency reserves that the common central bank would
maintain. Given that, in 2007, all countries met the foreign reserves target (which requires that total
holdings cover at least four months worth of goods’ imports), this decision seems relatively uncontro-
versial, with total foreign reserves of a common central bank expected to slightly exceed $100 billion.


Box IV.3 (cont’d)


c See “Adopting the
euro: economic and


communication challenges”,
European Economy News, No.


2, April 2006.


d It is still unclear whether
the introduction of a single


currency will take place in
one stage, including cash


changeover, or in multiple
stages starting with the


introduction of a common
currency unit that is


equivalent to the European
Currency Unit (ECU).




123Regional developments and outlook


Latin America and the Caribbean:
Significant slowdown in 2009


GDP growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to decrease significantly in
2009. Following five consecutive years of GDP growth over 4 per cent, economic growth
is expected to slow significantly, to 2.3 per cent in 2009, down from 4.3 in 2008 and 5.5
per cent in 2007 (see table A.3), owing to a significant drop in commodity prices, weaker
external demand and a tightening of financial conditions.


In the fallout from the global financial crisis, financial flows are expected to
exhibit a reversal in the region, as investors cope with substantial market uncertainty. Ad-
ditionally, the six-year-long appreciation trend for Latin American currencies has come to
an end as regional currencies were down about 23 per cent against the United States dol-
lar between end-June and October 2008. This depreciation of national currencies against
other major currencies, notably in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico (see figure IV.10)
is another clear sign of the contagion effects of the global financial crisis. Yet, the region is
better equipped to deal with the crisis than it has been in the past, owing to lower external
debt and the large accumulation of foreign reserves.


High commodity prices and buoyant internal demand, the main driving forces
of economic growth in 2008, will be less favourable in 2009. In 2008, the average terms-
of-trade index for the region as a whole was 45 per cent higher compared to that observed
in the 1990s. Terms of trade also improved on average for the year 2008, driving GDP
growth along with strong consumer demand and increased demand for gross fixed invest-
ment. These factors compensated for the weaker external demand for other exports from
the region and explain the better-than-expected performance during the first half of 2008.


The region is better
equipped to deal with
the crisis


High commodity prices and
expanding internal demand
drove economic growth
in 2008


Figure IV.9
Oil prices and combined current-account surplus in
Western Asian oil-exporting countries, 2003-2009


Bi
llio


ns
o


f d
ol


la
rs


D
ollars per barrel


Current-account surplus (left axis)


Price of Brent oil (annual average, right axis)


56.553.1


204.8


188.2


90.3


266.8


162.8


0


50


100


150


200


250


300


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b
0


20


40


60


80


100


Source: UN/DESA, based on
IMF International Financial
Statistics and national
sources.
Note: Oil-exporting Western
Asian countries include:
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian
Arab Republic, United Arab
Emirates and Yemen. Iraq is
excluded due to lack of data.
a Estimated.
b Forecasts.




124 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


However, in 2009, external shocks are expected to worsen growth prospects, albeit to
varying degrees across countries.


In South American countries, where export revenues are mostly derived from
oil, metal or mineral products, lower commodity prices will negatively affect the terms
of trade. In addition, domestic demand will slow because of tighter financing conditions,
as has already become evident in Brazil during the last quarter of 2008. GDP growth for
South America is expected to fall to 2.9 per cent in 2009, down from 5.4 per cent in 2008.
Growth in Central America and Mexico is expected to fall to 0.9 per cent in 2009, from
2.2 per cent in 2008. The subregion will be directly hit by the recession in the United
States, which provides the market for most of its manufactured exports and jobs for its
migrant workers. The Caribbean countries are equally highly sensitive to the United States
economic downturn but, being net importers of commodities, are expected to see some
compensation through an improvement in the terms of trade; fiscal stimulus through
public investment in infrastructure (for example, in Trinidad and Tobago) is also likely to
mitigate some of the growth deceleration caused by the global slowdown.


In most Latin American and Caribbean countries, inflation surged during
2008, owing mainly to the increased costs of energy, transportation and food, but lower
inflation rates are expected in 2009. Central American and Caribbean countries were
particularly hard hit, since they are commodity importers. In the Bolivarian Republic
of Venezuela, however, prices rose more than 30 per cent in 2008, because of the gap
between strong domestic demand and shortages in the supply of consumer products. As,
more recently, the global downturn has reduced commodity demand expectations, infla-
tion pressures are expected to decelerate in 2009. For the region as a whole, the inflation
rate is expected to decline from an average 8.1 per cent in 2008 to 7.3 per cent in 2009.


Mexico and Central
America will be the most


strongly affected by the
global economic slowdown


Lower inflation rates are
expected in 2009


Figure IV.10
Real currency depreciations in Latin America, December 2006-October 2008


Index 2000 = 100


D
ec


-0
6


Fe
b-


07


Ap
r-


07


Ju
n-


07


Au
g-


07


O
ct


-0
7


D
ec


-0
7


Fe
b-


08


Ap
r-


08


Ju
n-


08


Au
g-


08


O
ct


-0
8


80


100


120


140


160


180


200
Brazilian real
Chilean peso
Colombian peso
Mexican peso


Source: JPMorgan Chase.




125Regional developments and outlook


However, further depreciation of national currencies in the short run amidst the global
financial turmoil will become a major factor in keeping inflationary pressures high, despite
the reduced influence of world commodity prices.


As economic growth slows, unemployment rates are expected to rise above 8
per cent in 2009, reversing the positive trend of formal sector job growth during the past
five years. Until the second half of 2008, the steady expansion of economic activity had
been reflected in improved labour-market indicators. Unemployment rates declined from
9.1 per cent in 2005 to an expected rate of 7.5 per cent in 2008, and job quality improved,
as reflected in an increase in the share of formal wage employment.


The region is expected to register a deficit in the current account in 2009, after
several years of surpluses and a relatively small deficit in 2008. Since the last quarter of
2007, imports have been growing at a faster pace than exports, owing to strong demand
for foreign capital goods, increased energy prices, currency appreciation and lower ex-
port expansion. In addition, remittances slowed, increasing by only 3.3 per cent in 2007,
compared to 20.1 per cent in 2006, owing essentially to a deteriorating United States
labour market. In 2008, only a small number of countries, including Argentina, Ecuador
and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), ran current-account surpluses, attributable to an
improvement in their terms of trade. In the outlook, the significant economic downturn
in the United States and the euro zone will aggravate the external balances of Mexico,
Central America and the Caribbean. Although many of the net importers of fuel and
other commodities in this subregion will see their situation improve, the export sector will
be less dynamic and inflows of remittances are expected to decrease. In South America,
adverse terms of trade and lower global demand for commodity exports will lead to lower
current-account surpluses or widening deficits.


The fiscal position of the region as a whole will deteriorate as oil and non-oil
commodity exporters face a sharp fall in commodity prices and export demand, affecting
government revenue. The previously higher export revenues had a positive impact on public
revenues and primary surpluses, while reducing public debt and allowing expansionary fiscal
policies. However, structural budget positions (when expenditures and revenues are pro-
jected according to the trend values of their determinants) have weakened. Public revenues
are expected to fall along with slowing economies and the fall of commodity prices that
commenced in mid-2008. In countries highly dependent on oil revenues, such as the Boli-
varian Republic of Venezuela, the Government will not be able to continue to expand public
consumption at the same pace as in recent years.


During 2009, central banks are expected to ease monetary policies in response
to emerging liquidity shortages stemming from the ongoing global financial crisis. This is a
turnaround from 2008, when interest rates were increased in attempts to control inflation-
ary pressures. At the same time, if export demand falls sharply and uncertainty induces a
credit crunch, authorities will be forced to take counter-cyclical measures. The scope for do-
ing so, however, is limited in many countries of the region. As mentioned above, exchange-
rate depreciation is exerting new inflationary pressures limiting monetary expansion, while
high levels of public indebtedness will limit fiscal expansion. The space for counter-cyclical
measures may be larger in those countries with effective fiscal stabilization funds already in
place, with structural budget rules or with ample foreign-exchange reserves.


Further downside risks mostly depend on the external situation. A deeper eco-
nomic slowdown in the United States would affect Mexico, Central America and the
Caribbean more directly, while South America will be more sensitive to lower economic


Unemployment rates are
expected to rise


Current-account deficits
will increase in 2009


Fiscal positions will
deteriorate, as public
revenues are expected
to fall


Interest rate cuts are
expected in response to
liquidity shortages


Downside risks are
mainly external




126 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


dynamism in Europe, China and other important Asian export markets. Additionally,
increased risk aversion by foreign investors could reverse capital flows, cause exchange-rate
volatility and strong pressure on national currencies to depreciate, and severely tighten
domestic credit supplies. As mentioned, fiscal sustainability remains a challenge for many
countries in the region. In order to stimulate the economy and mitigate the social effects
of external shocks, countries will need to see their fiscal stimulus measures supported by
internationally concerted policies to reactivate the global economy (as argued in chapter I)
with a view to keeping the burden on future incomes within manageable proportions.




Statistical annex




Annex


List of tables


A. 1 Developed economies: rates of growth of real GDP, 1999-2009 ...................................................................................... 129
A. 2 Economies in transition: rates of growth of real GDP, 1999-2009 .................................................................................... 130
A. 3 Developing economies: rates of growth of real GDP, 1999-2009 .................................................................................... 131
A. 4 Developed economies: consumer price inflation, 1999-2009........................................................................................... 133
A. 5 Economies in transition: consumer price inflation, 1999-2009 ......................................................................................... 134
A. 6 Developing economies: consumer price inflation, 1999-2009 ......................................................................................... 135
A. 7 Developed economies: unemployment rates, 1999-2009 .................................................................................................. 137
A. 8 Economies in transition and developing economies: unemployment rates, 1999-2008 ................................ 139
A. 9 Major developed economies: quarterly indicators of growth,
unemployment and inflation, 2006-2008....................................................................................................................................... 141
A.10 Selected economies in transition: quarterly indicators of growth and inflation, 2006-2008 ......................... 142
A.11 Major developing economies: quarterly indicators of growth,
unemployment and inflation, 2006-2008....................................................................................................................................... 143
A.12 Major developed economies: financial indicators, 1999-2008 .......................................................................................... 145
A.13 Selected economies: real effective exchange rates, broad measurement, 1999-2008 ...................................... 146
A.14 Indices of prices of primary commodities, 1999-2008 ........................................................................................................... 148
A.15 World oil supply and demand, 2000-2009 ..................................................................................................................................... 149
A.16 World trade: changes in value and volume of
exports and imports, by major country group, 1999-2009 ................................................................................................. 150
A.17 Balance of payments on current accounts,
by country or country group, summary table, 1999-2007 ................................................................................................... 152
A.18 Balance of payments on current accounts, by country or country group, 1999-2007 ...................................... 153
A.19 Net ODA from major sources, by type, 1987-2007 ................................................................................................................... 156
A.20 Total net ODA flows from DAC countries, by type of flow, 1995-2007 ......................................................................... 157
A.21 Commitments and net flows of financial resources,
by selected multilateral institutions, 1998-2007 ......................................................................................................................... 158
A.22 Greenhouse gas emissions of Annex 1 Parties to the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ............................................................................................ 159




129Statistical annex


Table A.1
Developed economies: rates of growth of real GDP, 1999-2009


Annual percentage change


1999-
2007a 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Developed economies 2.5 3.2 3.7 1.3 1.4 1.8 3.0 2.4 2.9 2.5 1.2 -0.5


United States 2.7 4.4 3.7 0.8 1.6 2.5 3.6 2.9 2.8 2.0 1.2 -1.0
Canada 3.2 5.5 5.2 1.8 2.9 1.9 3.1 2.9 3.1 2.7 0.4 0.8
Japan 1.5 -0.1 2.9 0.2 0.3 1.4 2.7 1.9 2.4 2.1 0.4 -0.3
Australia 3.4 4.4 3.6 2.1 4.0 3.4 3.2 3.2 2.5 4.4 2.6 1.1
New Zealand 3.6 4.7 3.8 2.4 4.7 4.4 4.3 2.7 2.5 3.0 0.6 1.1


European Union 2.4 3.1 3.9 2.0 1.2 1.3 2.5 2.0 3.1 2.9 1.3 -0.5


EU-15 2.3 3.1 3.9 1.9 1.2 1.2 2.3 1.8 2.9 2.7 1.1 -0.7
Austria 2.4 3.3 3.7 0.5 1.6 0.8 2.5 2.9 3.4 3.1 1.9 0.1
Belgium 2.3 3.4 3.7 0.8 1.5 1.0 3.0 1.8 3.0 2.8 1.2 -0.2
Denmark 1.9 2.6 3.5 0.7 0.5 0.4 2.3 2.4 3.3 1.6 0.4 -0.7
Finland 3.4 3.9 5.0 2.6 1.6 1.8 3.7 2.8 4.9 4.5 2.1 0.2
France 2.2 3.3 3.9 1.8 1.0 1.1 2.5 1.9 2.2 2.2 0.8 -0.2
Germany 1.5 2.0 3.2 1.2 0.0 -0.2 1.2 0.8 3.0 2.5 1.6 -0.9
Greece 4.2 3.4 4.5 4.2 3.4 5.6 4.9 2.9 4.5 4.0 3.0 1.8
Ireland 6.6 10.7 9.2 5.8 6.4 4.5 4.7 6.4 5.7 6.0 0.4 -2.2
Italy 1.4 1.5 3.7 1.8 0.5 0.0 1.5 0.6 1.8 1.5 -0.2 -1.0
Luxembourg 5.1 8.4 8.4 2.5 4.1 1.5 4.5 5.2 6.4 5.2 2.7 1.7
Netherlands 2.4 4.7 3.9 1.9 0.1 0.3 2.2 2.0 3.4 3.5 2.0 -0.1
Portugal 1.7 3.8 3.9 2.0 0.8 -0.8 1.5 0.9 1.4 1.9 0.6 -0.6
Spain 3.7 4.7 5.0 3.6 2.7 3.1 3.3 3.6 3.9 3.7 1.2 -1.8
Sweden 3.2 4.6 4.4 1.1 2.4 1.9 4.1 3.3 4.1 2.7 1.5 0.4
United Kingdom 2.8 3.5 3.9 2.5 2.1 2.8 2.8 2.1 2.8 3.0 1.0 -1.0


New EU member States 4.4 2.8 4.1 2.9 3.0 4.3 5.6 4.8 6.5 6.0 4.9 3.1
Bulgaria 5.0 2.3 5.4 4.1 4.9 5.0 6.6 6.2 6.3 6.2 6.5 5.0
Cyprus 3.8 4.8 5.0 4.0 2.1 1.9 4.2 3.9 4.1 4.4 3.6 2.6
Czech Republic 4.0 1.3 3.6 2.5 1.9 3.6 4.5 6.3 6.8 6.0 4.1 3.6
Estonia 7.2 -0.1 9.6 7.7 7.8 7.1 7.5 9.2 10.4 6.3 -2.0 -2.0
Hungary 4.0 4.2 5.2 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.8 4.0 4.1 1.1 1.5 -1.0
Latvia 8.1 3.3 6.9 8.0 6.5 7.2 8.7 10.6 11.9 10.2 -0.6 -4.0
Lithuania 6.4 -1.5 4.2 6.7 6.9 10.2 7.4 7.8 7.8 8.9 4.5 1.5
Malta 2.5 4.1 6.3 -1.6 2.6 -0.3 1.1 3.5 3.1 3.7 2.9 2.3
Poland 4.1 4.5 4.3 1.2 1.4 3.9 5.3 3.6 6.2 6.6 5.5 4.0
Romania 4.8 -1.2 2.1 5.7 5.1 5.2 8.5 4.2 8.2 6.0 8.0 4.3
Slovakia 4.9 0.0 1.4 3.4 4.8 4.7 5.2 6.5 8.5 10.4 7.8 5.0
Slovenia 4.5 5.3 4.1 2.8 4.0 2.8 4.3 4.3 5.9 6.8 4.2 3.6


Other Europe 2.3 1.7 3.5 1.6 0.9 0.4 3.2 2.7 3.0 3.5 1.5 0.3


Iceland 4.2 4.1 4.3 3.9 0.1 2.4 7.7 7.5 4.4 3.8 -3.4 -8.3
Norway 2.5 2.0 3.3 2.0 1.5 1.0 3.9 2.7 2.5 3.7 1.6 0.9
Switzerland 2.0 1.3 3.6 1.2 0.4 -0.2 2.5 2.5 3.4 3.3 1.7 0.2


Memorandum items:


Major developed economies 2.3 3.0 3.6 1.1 1.2 1.7 2.9 2.2 2.7 2.2 0.9 -0.7
North America 2.7 4.5 3.8 0.9 1.7 2.4 3.6 2.9 2.8 2.1 1.1 -0.8
Western Europe 2.4 3.0 3.9 1.9 1.2 1.3 2.5 2.0 3.1 2.9 1.3 -0.5
Asia and Oceania 1.8 0.5 3.0 0.5 0.9 1.7 2.8 2.1 2.4 2.4 0.7 0.0


Sources: UN/DESA, based on OECD, Main Economic Indicators and individual national sources.
Note: Country groups are calculated as a weighted average of individual country growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP), where weights are
based on GDP in 2005 prices and exchange rates.
a Average percentage change.
b Partly estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.




130 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.2
Economies in transition: rates of growth of real GDP, 1999-2009


Annual percentage change


1999-
2007a 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Economies in transitiond 6.9 4.8 8.8 5.7 5.1 7.4 7.7 6.5 7.8 8.3 6.9 4.8


South-eastern Europed 4.2 -1.3 4.1 4.2 4.5 4.3 5.7 4.9 5.4 6.2 5.2 4.5


Albania 6.8 13.5 6.7 7.9 4.2 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.5 6.0 5.8 5.2
Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.9 9.5 5.4 4.3 5.3 4.4 6.3 3.9 6.9 6.8 5.2 4.8
Croatia 4.0 -0.9 2.9 4.4 5.6 5.3 4.3 4.3 4.8 5.6 4.3 3.8
Montenegro 4.2 .. .. 1.1 1.9 2.5 4.4 4.2 8.5 7.0 7.0 5.0
Serbia 3.5 -10.2 4.5 5.4 3.6 2.8 8.2 6.0 5.6 7.1 6.3 5.0
The former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia 2.8 4.3 4.5 -4.5 0.9 2.8 4.1 4.1 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.6


Commonwealth of
Independent States 7.2 5.5 9.3 5.9 5.1 7.7 7.9 6.7 8.1 8.5 7.1 4.9


Net fuel exporters 7.2 6.2 9.9 5.6 5.1 7.4 7.4 6.9 8.1 8.5 7.1 4.9
Azerbaijan 15.9 7.4 11.1 9.9 10.6 11.2 10.2 26.4 34.5 25.0 16.0 14.0
Kazakhstan 9.3 2.7 9.8 13.5 9.8 9.3 9.6 9.7 10.7 8.9 4.5 4.0
Russian Federation 7.0 6.4 10.0 5.1 4.7 7.3 7.2 6.4 7.4 8.1 7.1 4.8
Turkmenistan 7.7 16.5 5.5 4.3 0.3 3.3 4.5 12.9 11.1 11.6 7.0 6.0
Uzbekistan 5.8 4.4 4.0 4.2 4.0 4.4 7.7 7.0 7.3 9.5 8.0 6.8


Net fuel importers 6.8 0.9 5.6 7.9 5.5 9.1 11.4 4.9 8.1 8.2 6.8 4.0
Armenia 11.0 3.3 5.9 9.6 15.0 14.0 10.5 13.9 13.3 13.8 10.0 8.0
Belarus 7.2 3.4 5.8 4.7 5.0 7.0 11.4 9.4 10.0 8.7 10.0 8.0
Georgia 7.0 2.9 1.8 4.8 5.5 11.1 5.9 9.6 9.4 12.4 4.0 4.5
Kyrgyzstan 4.3 3.7 5.4 5.3 0.0 7.0 7.0 -0.2 3.1 8.2 6.0 5.0
Republic of Moldova 4.6 -3.4 2.1 6.1 7.8 6.6 7.4 7.5 4.8 3.0 6.0 5.0
Tajikistan 8.3 3.7 8.3 9.6 10.8 11.1 10.3 6.7 6.7 7.8 6.0 7.0
Ukraine 6.5 -0.2 5.9 9.2 5.2 9.6 12.1 2.7 7.3 7.6 5.7 2.1


Source: UN/DESA, based on data of the Economic Commission for Europe.
Note: Country groups are calculated as a weighted average of individual country growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP), where weights are
based on GDP in 2005 prices and exchange rates.
a Average percentage change.
b Partly estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.
d Excluding Montenegro before 2000.




131Statistical annex


Table A.3
Developing economies: rates of growth of real GDP, 1999-2009


Annual percentage change


1999-
2007a 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Developing countriesd 5.5 3.6 5.7 2.9 4.3 5.2 7.1 6.8 7.1 7.2 5.9 4.6


Africa 4.9 2.6 3.3 4.3 5.5 4.9 5.9 5.7 5.7 6.0 5.1 4.1
North Africa 4.4 3.1 2.6 3.7 3.5 5.7 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.3 5.1 4.0
Sub-Saharan Africa
(excluding Nigeria
and South Africa) 5.1 2.9 2.8 5.1 4.6 3.8 6.4 6.7 6.7 7.4 6.2 4.8
Net fuel exporters 5.7 2.5 3.3 4.2 8.3 6.5 6.6 7.0 5.7 6.9 6.1 4.9
Net fuel importers 4.3 2.8 3.3 4.4 3.6 3.8 5.4 4.8 5.7 5.2 4.3 3.5


East and South Asia 7.1 6.5 6.8 4.6 6.6 6.9 7.7 8.0 8.1 8.5 6.9 6.0
East Asia 7.3 6.7 7.7 4.7 7.1 6.9 8.0 7.6 8.4 8.7 6.9 5.9
South Asia 6.3 6.1 3.7 4.1 4.9 6.9 6.7 9.5 6.9 7.9 7.0 6.4
Net fuel exporters 5.5 4.3 3.5 4.5 6.7 7.0 5.4 5.3 6.2 6.5 5.5 5.2
Net fuel importers 7.2 6.7 7.0 4.6 6.6 6.9 7.8 8.1 8.2 8.6 7.0 6.1


Western Asia 4.3 0.1 6.4 -0.6 2.4 4.9 8.2 6.8 5.9 4.7 4.9 2.7
Net fuel exporters 4.5 1.2 5.9 1.9 1.1 5.5 8.5 6.5 5.9 4.7 6.2 3.4
Net fuel importers 4.0 -1.3 6.9 -3.5 4.1 4.3 7.9 7.2 6.0 4.8 3.2 2.0


Latin America and the Caribbean 3.3 0.6 4.4 0.8 0.5 1.8 5.9 4.6 5.5 5.5 4.3 2.3
South America 3.1 -1.4 3.3 1.0 0.0 1.8 7.1 5.1 5.4 6.4 5.4 2.9
Mexico and Central America 3.2 3.9 6.2 0.1 1.0 1.6 4.0 3.3 5.1 3.6 2.2 0.9
Caribbean 5.4 5.6 4.9 2.3 3.5 3.3 3.5 8.6 10.2 6.7 4.5 2.9
Net fuel exporters 3.1 0.4 4.7 0.1 -1.6 1.8 6.3 5.1 6.3 5.1 3.4 1.4
Net fuel importers 3.4 0.8 4.0 1.4 2.6 1.8 5.5 4.1 4.7 5.9 5.2 3.1


Memorandum items:


Least developed countries 6.3 4.5 4.6 6.0 5.7 5.2 7.2 7.9 7.7 7.8 6.4 5.1
East Asia (excluding China) 5.2 5.9 7.2 1.8 5.4 4.1 5.9 5.0 5.6 5.8 4.3 3.0
South Asia (excluding India) 5.2 4.3 3.3 3.4 5.5 6.1 6.0 5.9 6.1 6.1 5.9 5.1
Western Asia
(excluding Israel and Turkey) 4.5 1.3 5.7 2.0 1.3 5.3 8.3 6.3 5.6 4.7 6.1 3.4
Landlocked developing
economies 6.6 3.6 4.9 6.7 5.6 5.7 7.8 7.8 9.3 8.5 6.4 5.5
Small island
developing economies 5.4 6.0 7.1 0.4 3.6 3.4 5.9 7.4 8.4 6.9 3.8 1.8


Major developing economies


Argentina 2.5 -3.4 -0.8 -4.4 -10.9 8.8 9.0 9.2 8.5 8.7 6.5 2.8
Brazil 3.1 0.3 4.3 1.3 2.7 1.1 5.7 3.2 3.8 5.4 5.1 2.9
Chile 3.8 -0.8 4.5 3.4 2.2 3.9 6.0 5.6 4.3 5.1 3.9 2.7
China 9.6 7.6 8.4 8.3 9.1 10.0 10.1 10.4 11.6 11.9 9.1 8.4
Colombia 3.6 -4.2 2.9 2.2 2.5 4.6 4.7 5.7 6.8 7.7 3.3 2.5
Egypt 5.1 5.4 3.5 3.2 4.1 4.1 4.5 6.8 7.1 7.1 6.5 5.0
Hong Kong SARe 4.9 2.6 8.0 0.5 1.8 3.0 8.5 7.1 7.0 6.4 3.8 2.4
India 6.9 7.1 4.0 4.5 4.5 7.3 7.1 11.5 7.3 8.9 7.5 7.0
Indonesia 4.6 0.8 4.9 3.6 4.5 4.8 5.0 5.7 5.5 6.3 5.9 3.9




132 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.3 (cont’d)


1999-
2007a 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Iran, Islamic Republic of 5.2 4.2 2.8 4.0 6.7 7.1 5.1 4.7 5.8 6.2 6.0 5.6
Israel 3.7 2.9 8.9 -0.4 -0.6 2.3 5.2 5.3 5.2 5.4 4.0 1.8
Korea, Republic of 5.6 9.5 8.5 3.8 7.0 3.1 4.7 4.2 5.1 5.0 4.1 3.0
Malaysia 5.6 6.1 8.9 0.5 5.4 5.8 6.8 5.3 5.8 6.3 5.4 4.3
Mexico 3.1 3.8 6.6 0.0 0.8 1.4 4.0 3.1 4.9 3.2 2.0 0.7
Nigeria 8.1 0.5 5.3 8.2 21.2 10.3 10.6 7.1 5.2 6.0 6.1 5.7
Pakistan 5.1 4.3 2.0 3.1 4.6 4.8 7.5 7.7 6.2 6.0 5.8 3.8
Peru 4.6 0.9 3.0 0.2 5.0 4.0 5.1 6.7 7.6 8.9 8.9 5.2
Philippines 4.9 3.4 6.0 1.8 4.4 4.9 6.4 5.0 5.4 7.2 4.4 3.3
Saudi Arabia 3.3 -0.7 4.9 0.5 0.1 7.7 5.3 5.6 3.1 3.4 5.3 2.8
Singapore 6.0 7.2 10.1 -2.4 4.2 3.5 9.0 7.3 8.2 7.7 2.8 0.2
South Africa 4.0 2.4 4.2 2.7 3.7 3.1 4.9 5.0 5.4 5.1 3.1 2.5
Taiwan Province of China 4.2 5.7 5.8 -2.2 4.6 3.5 6.2 4.2 4.8 5.7 3.6 2.7
Thailand 4.9 4.4 4.8 2.2 5.3 7.1 6.3 4.5 5.1 4.8 4.6 3.2
Turkey 4.1 -3.4 6.8 -5.7 6.2 5.3 9.4 8.4 6.9 4.6 2.8 1.8
Venezuela,
Bolivarian Republic of 3.2 -6.0 3.7 3.4 -8.9 -7.8 18.3 10.3 10.3 8.4 5.9 1.9


Sources: UN/DESA, based on data of Statistics Division; IMF, International Financial Statistics.
Note: Country groups are calculated as a weighted average of individual country growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP), where weights are
based on GDP in 2005 prices and exchange rates.
a Average percentage change.
b Partly estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.
d Covering countries that account for 98 per cent of the population of all developing countries.
e Special Administrative Region of China.




133Statistical annex


Table A.4
Developed economies: consumer price inflation, 1999-2009


Annual percentage changea


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Developed economies 1.6 2.5 2.3 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.3 2.4 2.1 3.5 1.8


United States 2.1 3.4 2.8 1.7 2.2 2.7 3.4 3.3 2.8 4.3 1.3
Canada 1.7 2.7 2.5 2.3 2.8 1.9 2.2 2.0 2.1 3.0 2.3
Japan -0.3 -0.7 -0.8 -0.9 -0.2 0.0 -0.3 0.2 0.1 1.6 1.1
Australia 1.5 4.5 4.4 3.0 2.8 2.3 2.7 3.5 2.3 4.7 3.5
New Zealand -0.1 2.6 2.6 2.7 1.8 2.3 3.0 3.4 2.4 4.1 3.3


European Union 1.8 2.6 2.7 2.3 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.2 3.4 2.2


EU-15 1.2 2.0 2.2 2.1 2.0 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.1 3.2 2.1
Austria 0.5 2.0 2.3 1.7 1.3 2.0 2.1 1.7 2.2 3.1 1.8
Belgium 1.1 2.7 2.4 1.6 1.5 1.9 2.5 2.3 1.8 4.3 3.1
Denmark 2.1 2.7 2.3 2.4 2.0 0.9 1.7 1.9 1.7 3.4 2.2
Finland 1.3 2.9 2.7 2.0 1.3 0.1 0.8 1.3 1.6 3.8 1.7
France 0.6 1.8 1.8 1.9 2.2 2.3 1.9 1.9 1.6 3.4 1.8
Germany 0.6 1.4 1.9 1.4 1.0 1.8 1.9 1.8 2.3 2.5 1.8
Greece 2.1 2.9 3.7 3.9 3.4 3.0 3.5 3.3 3.0 4.4 2.6
Ireland 2.5 5.3 4.0 4.7 4.0 2.3 2.2 2.7 2.9 3.6 2.0
Italy 1.7 2.6 2.3 2.6 2.8 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.0 3.2 1.8
Luxembourg 1.0 3.8 2.4 2.1 2.5 3.2 3.8 3.0 2.7 3.7 2.5
Netherlands 2.0 2.3 5.1 3.9 2.2 1.4 1.5 1.7 1.6 2.5 2.8
Portugal 2.2 2.8 4.4 3.7 3.3 2.5 2.1 3.0 2.4 2.6 1.6
Spain 2.2 3.5 2.8 3.6 3.1 3.1 3.4 3.6 2.8 3.8 2.3
Sweden 0.5 1.3 2.7 1.9 2.3 1.0 0.8 1.5 1.7 3.5 2.0
United Kingdom 1.3 0.8 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.3 2.1 2.3 2.3 3.5 2.7


New EU member States 10.9 12.8 9.2 5.2 3.6 5.1 3.4 3.1 4.1 6.0 4.1
Bulgaria 2.6 10.3 7.4 5.8 2.3 6.1 6.0 7.4 7.6 12.0 5.2
Cyprus 1.1 4.9 2.0 2.8 4.0 1.9 2.0 2.2 2.2 5.0 3.8
Czech Republic 1.8 3.9 4.5 1.4 -0.1 2.6 1.6 2.1 3.0 5.6 4.0
Estonia 3.1 3.9 5.6 3.6 1.4 3.0 4.1 4.4 6.7 11.0 6.0
Hungary 10.0 10.0 9.1 5.2 4.7 6.8 3.5 4.0 7.9 6.0 3.9
Latvia 2.1 2.6 2.5 2.0 2.9 6.2 6.9 6.6 10.1 15.0 6.5
Lithuania 1.5 1.1 1.6 0.3 -1.1 1.2 2.7 3.8 5.8 11.0 7.0
Malta 2.3 3.0 2.5 2.6 1.9 2.7 2.5 2.6 0.7 5.0 3.6
Poland 7.2 10.1 5.3 1.9 0.7 3.6 2.2 1.3 2.6 4.3 3.6
Romania 45.8 45.7 34.5 22.5 15.3 11.9 9.1 6.6 4.9 8.0 5.0
Slovakia 10.4 12.2 7.2 3.5 8.4 7.5 2.8 4.3 1.9 4.0 3.8
Slovenia 6.1 8.9 8.6 7.5 5.7 3.7 2.5 2.5 3.8 5.8 3.2


Other Europe 1.5 2.3 2.0 1.0 1.5 0.7 1.3 1.7 0.8 3.4 2.5


Iceland 2.1 4.4 6.6 5.3 1.4 2.3 1.4 4.6 3.6 15.2 18.5
Norway 2.3 3.1 3.0 1.3 2.5 0.5 1.5 2.3 0.7 4.0 3.1
Switzerland 0.8 1.6 1.0 0.6 0.6 0.8 1.2 1.1 0.7 2.4 1.3


Memorandum items:


Major developed economies 1.3 2.1 1.9 1.3 1.7 1.9 2.3 2.3 2.1 3.4 1.6
Euro zone 1.2 2.3 2.5 2.3 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.1 3.2 2.0


Sources: UN/DESA, based on OECD, Main Economic Indicators; Eurostat; and, individual national sources.
a Data for country groups are weighted averages, where weights for each year are based on GDP in 2005, in United States dollars.
b Partly estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.




134 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.5
Economies in transition: consumer price inflation, 1999-2009


Annual percentage changea


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Economies in transitiond 73.1 25.1 21.5 13.9 12.0 10.1 11.8 9.2 9.1 15.2 11.8


South-eastern Europed 14.0 25.3 31.1 7.6 3.8 3.9 6.4 6.2 3.9 7.7 4.9
Albania 0.4 0.1 3.1 7.8 0.5 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.9 4.2 3.2
Bosnia and Herzegovina -0.6 1.7 1.8 0.9 0.2 -0.3 3.0 6.0 2.0 8.0 4.5
Croatia 4.0 4.6 3.8 1.7 1.8 2.1 3.0 3.2 2.9 6.4 3.9
Montenegro .. .. 22.6 18.3 6.7 2.2 2.6 3.0 4.3 8.4 3.5
Serbia 42.4 77.5 98.4 19.3 9.6 9.8 16.1 12.7 6.5 10.3 7.0
The former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia -1.3 6.6 5.2 2.4 1.1 -0.6 -0.7 3.3 2.8 8.0 5.0


Commonwealth of
Independent States 78.5 25.1 20.6 14.4 12.8 10.6 12.3 9.5 9.6 15.9 12.4


Net fuel exporters 77.7 20.0 20.3 15.0 13.1 10.6 12.4 9.6 9.3 14.9 11.6
Azerbaijan -8.6 1.8 1.6 2.8 2.1 6.7 9.6 8.3 16.6 22.5 20.0
Kazakhstan 8.3 13.2 8.4 5.8 6.4 6.9 7.6 8.6 10.8 19.7 12.0
Russian Federation 85.7 20.8 21.5 15.8 13.7 10.9 12.7 9.7 9.0 14.5 11.5
Turkmenistan 23.5 7.0 8.2 15.0 15.3 10.0 12.0 9.0 6.4 12.0 10.0
Uzbekistan 29.0 25.0 26.6 21.6 19.0 14.2 15.0 10.5 12.3 12.0 10.0


Net fuel importers 83.0 57.4 22.6 10.7 10.6 10.9 11.8 8.8 11.3 22.3 17.2
Armenia 0.7 -0.8 3.2 1.0 2.7 8.1 0.6 2.9 4.4 9.7 6.0
Belarus 293.7 168.9 61.4 42.8 28.5 18.3 10.4 7.0 8.4 15.5 10.2
Georgia 19.3 4.2 4.6 5.7 4.9 5.7 8.2 9.2 9.2 11.0 6.5
Kyrgyzstan 35.9 19.7 6.9 2.1 3.0 4.1 4.4 5.6 10.2 27.5 15.5
Republic of Moldova 45.9 31.3 9.8 5.3 11.8 12.5 12.0 12.8 12.4 15.0 9.5
Tajikistan 27.4 32.9 38.6 12.2 16.3 7.2 7.2 10.0 13.4 30.0 18.5
Ukraine 22.7 28.2 11.9 0.8 5.2 9.1 13.5 9.6 12.8 26.2 21.4


Source: UN/DESA, based on data of the Economic Commission for Europe.
a Data for country groups are weighted averages, where weights for each year are based on GDP in 2005, in United States dollars.
b Partly estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.
d Excluding Montenegro before 2001.




135Statistical annex


Table A.6
Developing economies: consumer price inflation, 1999-2009


Annual percentage changea


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Developing countries by region: 7.4 7.0 6.3 5.9 5.8 5.0 4.6 4.5 5.2 8.1 5.9


Africa 14.5 18.6 13.1 9.3 8.8 6.6 6.7 6.1 6.4 10.7 7.5
North Africa 2.4 1.1 1.1 0.7 2.3 4.7 2.6 4.5 5.3 9.6 7.0
Sub-Saharan Africa
(excluding Nigeria
and South Africa) 39.4 54.3 30.8 17.7 16.8 9.7 9.8 8.3 7.5 12.7 8.4
Net fuel exporters 21.7 26.2 17.2 11.6 12.5 10.6 8.4 6.2 6.5 9.9 7.8
Net fuel importers 9.1 12.8 10.0 7.5 6.0 3.5 5.4 6.0 6.3 11.2 7.3


East and South Asia 2.2 1.9 2.6 2.1 2.7 4.1 3.6 3.6 4.9 7.4 4.7
East Asia 0.9 0.9 2.0 1.0 1.8 3.5 2.9 2.7 4.0 6.4 3.6
South Asia 7.1 5.6 4.9 5.9 5.9 6.2 6.5 7.1 8.5 11.3 8.8
Net fuel exporters 16.0 10.6 8.4 11.5 13.1 12.8 11.9 10.6 14.9 23.3 17.0
Net fuel importers 1.6 1.5 2.3 1.6 2.2 3.7 3.2 3.3 4.5 6.7 4.2


Western Asia 24.1 19.9 19.9 17.4 8.6 4.0 4.5 5.9 5.8 10.0 7.8
Net fuel exporters -0.4 -0.4 -0.2 0.3 1.1 1.4 2.4 3.7 4.9 10.8 8.4
Net fuel importers 46.6 38.5 38.4 33.0 15.5 6.3 6.5 8.0 6.7 9.2 7.3


Latin America
and the Caribbean 10.0 8.9 6.6 8.8 10.8 6.9 6.3 5.2 5.3 8.1 7.3


South America 7.3 8.8 6.7 10.9 13.8 7.0 7.2 5.7 5.8 9.0 8.3
Mexico and Central America 15.4 9.2 6.4 5.1 4.6 4.9 4.4 3.9 4.3 6.1 5.1
Caribbean 5.6 6.9 7.9 5.3 18.0 30.4 7.2 8.2 7.1 13.1 9.5
Net fuel exporters 17.8 13.2 8.4 7.7 8.5 7.0 5.7 5.1 6.2 9.3 8.4
Net fuel importers 4.0 5.6 5.3 9.6 12.5 6.9 6.7 5.2 4.6 7.2 6.4


Memorandum items:


Least developed countries 41.1 53.6 30.7 20.2 18.3 11.1 10.6 9.6 9.9 13.5 9.8
East Asia (excluding China) 3.3 1.6 3.5 2.9 2.5 3.2 3.9 3.9 3.1 6.4 4.2
South Asia (excluding India) 12.0 8.9 7.4 8.8 9.9 11.0 10.9 9.8 12.8 17.9 13.5
Western Asia
(excluding Israel and Turkey) -0.1 -0.2 0.2 0.7 1.5 1.8 2.8 4.3 5.1 11.1 8.6


Major developing economies


Argentina -1.2 -0.9 -1.1 25.9 13.4 4.4 9.6 10.9 8.8 9.0 7.9
Brazil 4.9 7.1 6.8 8.5 14.7 6.6 6.8 4.2 3.6 5.8 5.8
Chile 3.3 3.8 3.6 2.5 2.8 1.1 3.1 3.4 4.4 8.9 6.5
China -1.4 0.3 0.5 -0.8 1.2 3.9 1.8 1.5 4.8 6.3 3.1
Colombia 10.9 9.2 8.0 6.3 7.1 5.9 5.0 4.3 5.5 7.3 5.5
Egypt 3.1 2.7 2.3 2.7 4.5 11.3 4.9 7.6 9.3 17.1 9.7
Hong Kong SARd -4.0 -3.8 -1.6 -3.1 -2.5 -0.4 0.9 2.1 2.0 4.5 4.3
India 4.7 4.0 3.7 4.4 3.8 3.8 4.2 5.8 6.4 8.0 6.5
Indonesia 20.5 3.7 11.5 11.9 6.6 6.2 10.5 13.1 6.4 10.3 8.0
Iran, Islamic Republic of 20.1 14.5 11.3 14.3 16.5 14.8 13.4 11.9 17.2 24.0 18.5
Israel 5.2 1.1 1.1 5.7 0.7 -0.4 1.3 2.1 0.5 5.1 3.2
Korea, Republic of 0.8 2.3 4.1 2.8 3.5 3.6 2.8 2.2 2.5 4.8 3.3




136 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.6 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Malaysia 2.7 1.5 1.4 1.8 1.0 1.5 3.0 3.6 2.0 5.8 3.4
Mexico 16.6 9.5 6.4 5.0 4.5 4.7 4.0 3.6 4.0 5.4 4.7
Nigeria 6.6 6.9 18.9 12.9 14.0 15.0 17.9 8.2 6.5 7.6 7.9
Pakistan 4.1 4.4 3.2 3.3 2.9 7.4 9.1 7.9 7.6 12.1 9.1
Peru 3.5 3.8 2.0 0.2 2.3 3.7 1.6 2.0 1.8 5.6 4.4
Philippines 5.9 4.0 6.8 3.0 3.5 6.0 7.6 6.2 2.8 8.8 7.0
Saudi Arabia -1.3 -1.1 -1.1 0.2 0.6 0.3 0.7 2.2 4.1 11.0 8.7
Singapore 0.0 1.4 1.0 -0.4 0.5 1.7 0.4 1.0 2.1 6.5 2.4
South Africa 5.2 5.4 5.7 9.2 5.8 1.4 3.5 4.6 6.5 11.2 7.0
Taiwan Province of China 0.2 1.3 0.0 -0.2 -0.3 1.6 2.3 0.6 1.8 3.7 1.7
Thailand 0.3 1.6 1.6 0.6 1.8 2.8 4.5 4.6 2.2 6.3 3.2
Turkey 64.9 54.9 54.4 45.0 21.6 8.6 8.2 9.6 8.8 10.2 8.5
Venezuela,
Bolivarian Republic of 23.6 16.2 12.5 22.4 31.1 21.8 16.0 13.7 18.7 31.2 31.3


Source: UN/DESA, based on IMF, International Financial Statistics.
a Data for country groups are weighted averages, where weights are based on GDP in 2005 prices and exchange rates.
b Partly estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.
d Special Administrative Region of China.




137Statistical annex


Table A.7
Developed economies: unemployment rates,a,b 1999-2009


Percentage of labour force


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008c 2009d


Developed economies .. 6.5 6.7 7.3 7.3 7.1 6.8 6.3 5.7 6.1 7.0


United States 4.2 4.0 4.7 5.8 6.0 5.5 5.1 4.6 4.6 5.7 7.2
Canada 7.6 6.8 7.2 7.7 7.6 7.2 6.8 6.3 6.0 6.1 6.4
Japan 4.7 4.7 5.0 5.4 5.3 4.7 4.4 4.1 3.8 3.8 3.8
Australia 6.9 6.3 6.8 6.4 6.1 5.5 5.1 4.9 4.4 4.2 5.0
New Zealand 6.8 6.0 5.3 5.2 4.6 3.9 3.7 3.8 3.6 3.9 3.9


European Union .. 8.7 8.5 8.9 9.0 9.0 8.9 8.2 7.1 7.3 8.1


EU-15 8.6 7.7 7.2 7.6 7.9 8.1 8.1 7.7 7.0 7.2 8.2


Austria 3.9 3.7 3.6 4.2 4.3 4.8 5.2 4.8 4.4 4.1 4.9
Belgium 8.5 6.8 6.6 7.5 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.3 7.5 7.1 7.4
Denmark 5.1 4.3 4.5 4.6 5.4 5.5 4.8 3.9 3.8 3.1 3.7
Finland 10.3 9.6 9.1 9.1 9.1 8.8 8.4 7.7 6.9 6.4 6.8
France 10.4 9.0 8.3 8.6 9.0 9.3 9.3 9.2 8.3 8.0 8.8
Germany 8.3 7.5 7.6 8.4 9.3 9.8 10.6 9.8 8.4 7.3 7.6
Greece 12.0 11.3 10.7 10.3 9.7 10.5 9.9 8.9 8.3 7.9 8.1
Ireland 5.7 4.2 4.0 4.5 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.7 6.2 8.1
Italy 11.0 10.2 9.1 8.7 8.5 8.1 7.7 6.8 6.2 7.0 7.5
Luxembourg 2.4 2.3 1.9 2.6 3.8 4.9 4.6 4.6 4.6 5.0 5.5
Netherlands 3.2 2.8 2.3 2.8 3.7 4.6 4.7 3.9 3.2 2.8 3.3
Portugal 4.5 4.0 4.0 5.1 6.4 6.8 7.7 7.8 8.1 7.5 8.3
Spain 12.5 11.1 10.4 11.1 11.1 10.6 9.2 8.5 8.3 11.1 15.1
Sweden 6.7 5.6 4.9 5.0 5.6 6.3 7.3 7.0 6.2 6.0 6.7
United Kingdom 5.9 5.4 5.0 5.1 5.0 4.7 4.8 5.4 5.3 5.6 6.3


New EU member States .. 12.2 13.0 13.7 12.9 12.8 11.9 10.0 7.6 7.8 7.8


Bulgaria 16.0 16.4 19.5 18.1 13.7 12.0 10.1 9.0 6.9 6.5 6.6
Cyprus .. 4.9 3.8 3.6 4.1 4.7 5.3 4.6 4.0 4.0 4.0
Czech Republic 8.6 8.7 8.0 7.3 7.8 8.3 7.9 7.2 5.3 5.5 5.8
Estoniae 11.3 12.8 12.4 10.3 10.0 9.7 7.9 5.9 4.7 5.5 6.8
Hungary 6.9 6.4 5.7 5.8 5.9 6.1 7.2 7.5 7.4 8.0 8.6
Latviae 14.0 13.7 12.9 12.2 10.5 10.4 8.9 6.8 6.0 5.8 7.0
Lithuaniae 13.7 16.4 16.5 13.5 12.4 11.4 8.3 5.6 4.3 4.6 5.4
Malta .. 6.7 7.6 7.5 7.6 7.4 7.2 7.1 6.4 6.5 6.5
Poland 13.4 16.1 18.3 20.0 19.7 19.0 17.8 13.9 9.6 9.6 9.0
Romania 7.1 7.3 6.8 8.6 7.0 8.1 7.2 7.3 6.4 7.0 6.8
Slovakia 16.4 18.8 19.3 18.7 17.6 18.2 16.3 13.4 11.1 10.9 11.2
Sloveniae 7.3 6.7 6.2 6.3 6.7 6.3 6.5 6.0 4.9 5.0 5.2


Other Europe 3.0 2.8 2.9 3.4 4.3 4.4 4.4 3.8 3.2 3.2 3.4


Icelande 1.9 1.3 1.4 2.5 3.4 3.1 2.0 1.3 1.0 1.3 3.4
Norway 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.9 4.5 4.4 4.6 3.5 2.6 2.8 2.9
Switzerland 3.0 2.6 2.6 3.2 4.3 4.4 4.4 4.0 3.6 3.5 3.7




138 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A7 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008c 2009d


Memorandum items:


Major developed economies 6.0 5.6 5.8 6.5 6.6 6.3 6.2 5.8 5.4 5.8 6.7
Euro zone 9.2 8.3 7.8 8.2 8.7 8.8 8.8 8.2 7.4 7.6 8.6


Source: UN/DESA, based on data of OECD and the Economic Commission for Europe.
a Unemployment data are standardized by OECD for comparability among countries and over time, in conformity with the definitions of the


International Labour Organization (see OECD, Standardized Unemployment Rates: Sources and Methods (Paris, 1985)).
b Data for country groups are weighted averages, where labour force is used for weights.
c Partly estimated.
d Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.
e Not standardized.




139Statistical annex


Table A.8
Economies in transition and developing economies: unemployment rates,a 1999-2008


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b


South-eastern Europe


Albaniac 18.4 16.8 16.4 15.8 15.0 14.4 14.2 13.9 13.2 13.5
Bosnia and Herzegovinac 39.0 39.4 39.9 42.7 44.0 44.9 46.6 47.7 46.0 46.0
Croatia 13.6 16.1 15.8 14.8 14.3 13.8 12.7 11.1 9.6 9.0
Montenegro .. 37.4 36.6 36.5 33.4 31.2 27.4 22.3 18.0 15.3
Serbia .. 12.1 12.2 13.3 14.6 18.5 20.8 20.9 18.1 15.5
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 32.4 32.2 30.5 31.9 36.7 37.2 37.3 36.0 34.9 34.4


Commonwealth of Independent States


Net fuel exporters


Azerbaijanc 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.1
Kazakhstan .. 12.8 10.4 9.3 8.8 8.4 8.1 7.8 7.3 6.9
Russian Federation 12.6 10.5 9.0 8.0 8.6 8.2 7.6 7.2 6.1 5.8
Turkmenistanc .. 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 .. .. .. ..
Uzbekistanc 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2


Net fuel importers


Armeniac 11.5 10.9 9.8 10.5 10.2 9.4 7.6 7.2 6.6 6.3
Belarusc 2.1 2.1 2.3 3.0 3.1 1.9 1.5 1.2 1.0 1.0
Georgia 13.8 10.3 11.1 12.6 11.5 12.6 13.8 13.6 13.3 13.3
Kyrgyzstanc 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.1 2.9 2.9 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.1
Republic of Moldovac .. 8.5 7.3 6.8 7.9 8.1 7.3 7.4 5.1 5.0
Tajikistanc 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.6 2.3 2.0 2.1 2.3 2.5 2.5
Ukraine 11.6 11.6 10.9 9.6 9.1 8.6 7.2 6.8 6.4 6.4


Africa


Algeria .. .. 27.3 25.9 23.7 17.7 15.3 12.3 13.8 ..
Botswana .. 15.8 19.6 .. 23.8 .. .. 17.6 .. ..
Egypt 8.1 9.0 9.2 10.2 11.9 10.3 11.2 10.7 9.0 8.7
Mauritius .. 6.7 6.9 7.3 7.7 8.5 9.6 9.1 8.5 7.8
Morocco 13.9 13.6 12.5 11.6 11.9 10.8 11.0 9.7 9.5 ..
South Africa .. 26.0 27.9 30.0 29.8 27.0 26.6 25.5 24.3 23.2
Tunisia 16.0 15.7 15.1 15.3 14.5 14.2 14.2 14.3 14.1 ..


Developing America


Argentinad,e 14.3 15.1 17.4 19.7 17.3 13.6 11.6 10.2 8.5 8.2
Barbados 10.4 9.2 9.9 10.3 11.0 9.8 9.1 8.7 7.4 ..
Boliviad 7.2 7.5 8.5 8.7 9.2 6.2 8.1 8.0 7.7 ..
Brazilf,g 7.6 7.1 6.2 11.7 12.3 11.5 9.8 10.0 9.3 8.5
Chile 10.1 9.7 9.9 9.8 9.5 10.0 9.2 7.7 7.1 8.0
Colombiah 19.4 17.3 18.2 17.6 16.7 15.4 13.9 13.0 11.4 12.0
Costa Rica 6.2 5.3 5.8 6.8 6.7 6.7 6.9 6.0 4.8 5.0
Dominican Republic 13.8 13.9 15.6 16.1 16.7 18.4 18.0 16.2 15.6 ..
Ecuadori 15.1 14.1 10.4 8.6 9.8 9.7 8.5 8.1 7.4 8.2
El Salvador 6.9 6.5 7.0 6.2 6.2 6.5 7.3 5.7 .. ..
Guatemala .. .. .. 5.4 5.2 4.4 .. .. .. ..




140 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.8 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b


Honduras 5.3 .. 5.9 6.1 7.6 8.0 6.5 4.9 4.0 ..
Jamaica 15.7 15.5 15.0 14.2 11.4 11.7 11.3 10.3 9.9 ..
Mexico 3.7 3.4 3.6 3.9 4.6 5.3 4.7 4.6 4.8 4.4
Nicaragua 10.7 7.8 11.3 11.6 10.2 9.3 7.0 7.0 6.9 ..
Panama 13.6 15.2 17.0 16.5 15.9 14.1 12.1 10.4 7.8 6.0
Paraguayd 9.4 10.0 10.8 14.7 11.2 10.0 7.6 8.9 7.2 ..
Perud,j 9.2 8.5 9.3 9.4 9.4 9.4 9.6 8.5 8.4 8.0
Trinidad and Tobago 13.2 12.2 10.8 10.4 10.5 8.4 8.0 6.2 5.9 ..
Uruguayd 11.3 13.6 15.3 17.0 16.9 13.1 12.2 11.4 9.6 8.2
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 15.0 13.9 13.3 15.8 18.0 15.3 12.4 10.0 8.4 8.2


Developing Asia


China 3.1 3.1 3.6 4.0 4.3 4.2 4.2 4.1 4.0 4.0
Hong Kong SARk 6.2 4.9 5.1 7.3 7.9 6.8 5.6 4.8 4.0 3.6
India .. 4.3 .. .. .. 5.0 .. .. .. ..
Indonesia 6.4 6.1 8.1 9.1 9.5 9.9 11.2 10.3 .. ..
Iran, Islamic Republic of .. .. .. 12.8 .. 10.3 11.5 .. .. ..
Israel 8.9 8.8 9.4 10.3 10.7 10.4 9.0 8.4 7.3 6.1
Jordan .. 13.7 14.7 14.4 14.8 12.5 14.8 14.0 13.1 12.9
Korea, Republic of 6.3 4.4 4.0 3.3 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.2 3.2
Malaysia 3.5 3.1 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.3 3.2 3.5
Occupied Palestinian Territory 11.8 14.1 25.2 31.3 25.6 26.8 23.5 23.6 21.5 25.7
Pakistan 5.9 7.8 7.8 8.3 8.3 7.7 7.7 6.2 5.3 ..
Philippinesl,m 9.6 10.1 9.8 10.2 10.2 10.9 7.8 7.9 7.3 7.7
Saudi Arabia 4.3 4.6 4.6 5.3 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.3 5.6 ..
Singapore 2.8 2.7 2.7 3.6 4.0 3.4 3.1 2.7 2.3 2.1
Sri Lanka 9.1 8.0 7.7 8.7 9.2 8.5 7.2 6.5 6.0 5.4
Taiwan Province of China 2.9 3.0 4.6 5.2 5.0 4.4 4.1 3.9 3.9 4.0
Thailand 4.2 3.6 3.3 2.4 2.2 2.1 1.8 1.5 1.4 1.4
Turkey 7.7 6.5 8.4 10.3 10.5 10.3 10.3 9.9 9.9 10.0
Viet Namd 6.7 6.4 6.3 6.0 5.8 5.6 5.3 4.8 4.6 ..


Sources: UN/DESA, based on data of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE); ILO LABORSTAT database and KILM 5th edition; Economic
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); national sources.
a As a percentage of labour force.
b Partly estimated.
c End-of-period registered unemployment data (as a percentage of labour force).
d Urban areas.
e Break in series: new methodology starting in 2003.
f 6 main cities.
g Break in series: new methodology starting in 2002.
h 13 main cities.
i Covers Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca from 2000.
j Metropolitan Lima.
k Special Administrative Region of China.
l Philippines definition: this partly adopts the ILO definition, that is to say, it does not include one ILO criterion which is “currently available for work”.
m Break in series: new methodology starting in 2005.




141Statistical annex


Table A.9
Major developed economies: quarterly indicators of growth, unemployment and inflation, 2006-2008


Percentage


2006 quarters 2007 quarters 2008 quarters


I II III IV I II III IV I II III


Growth of gross domestic producta
(percentage change in seasonally adjusted data from preceding quarter)


Canada 4.2 1.6 1.1 2.1 4.1 3.9 2.3 0.8 -0.6 0.6 1.3
France 2.6 4.1 0.3 2.0 2.2 2.3 2.9 1.4 1.6 -1.1 0.6
Germany 3.4 6.1 2.8 4.3 1.7 1.4 2.4 1.4 5.7 -1.7 -2.1
Italy 2.8 2.0 1.3 4.0 1.1 0.5 0.7 -1.8 2.1 -1.8 -2.0
Japan 1.7 3.0 1.8 3.7 3.5 -1.2 2.3 1.8 2.5 -3.7 -0.4
United Kingdom 4.6 2.7 1.8 3.5 3.6 3.0 3.1 2.0 1.1 0.0 -2.0
United States 4.8 2.7 0.8 1.5 0.0 4.8 4.8 -0.2 0.9 2.8 -0.5
Major developed
economies 3.8 3.1 1.3 2.5 1.5 2.8 3.4 0.6 1.7 0.3 -0.7
Euro zone 3.3 4.4 2.1 3.4 2.9 1.9 2.2 1.4 2.7 -0.7 -0.8


Unemployment rateb
(percentage of total labour force)


Canada 6.4 6.2 6.4 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.9 5.9 6.1 6.1
France 9.6 9.2 9.1 8.9 8.8 8.4 8.2 7.9 7.7 7.7 7.9
Germany 10.5 10.0 9.6 9.2 8.7 8.5 8.3 8.0 7.6 7.4 7.2
Italy 7.3 6.8 6.6 6.5 6.1 6.0 6.2 6.3 6.7 6.8 ..
Japan 4.2 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.9 4.0 4.1
United Kingdom 5.2 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.3 5.1 5.1 5.3 5.6
United States 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.4 4.5 4.5 4.7 4.8 4.9 5.3 5.9
Major developed
economies 6.0 5.8 5.8 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.6 ..
Euro zone 8.7 8.3 8.1 7.9 7.6 7.4 7.4 7.3 7.2 7.4 7.5


Change in consumer pricesc
(percentage change from preceding quarter)


Canada 2.0 4.5 0.2 -1.2 3.8 6.1 0.0 -0.1 1.3 8.5 4.3
France 1.2 4.2 0.5 -0.4 0.5 4.2 0.9 3.9 2.9 5.7 0.7
Germany 1.5 2.4 1.1 0.4 3.4 3.2 2.2 3.4 2.9 3.1 2.9
Italy 2.0 3.1 2.2 0.0 1.6 2.6 2.3 2.9 4.5 4.6 4.0
Japan -0.4 1.7 1.1 -1.1 -2.1 1.9 0.8 1.6 -0.4 3.5 4.0
United Kingdom 0.1 5.3 2.6 2.9 0.6 4.2 -0.5 4.1 1.8 8.3 5.1
United States 2.1 6.9 2.3 -3.3 4.2 7.9 1.1 2.9 4.6 9.2 4.6
Major developed
economies 1.4 4.8 1.7 -1.5 2.3 5.4 1.1 2.8 3.0 6.9 4.0
Euro zone 0.4 5.6 0.4 1.1 0.7 5.6 0.2 5.1 2.5 6.8 1.1


Sources: UN/DESA, based on Eurostat, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and national sources.
a Expressed as annualized rate. Major developed economies is calculated as a weighted average, where weights are based on annual GDP valued in


2005 prices and exchange rates.
b Seasonally adjusted data as standardized by OECD.
c Expressed as annualized rate. Major developed economies is calculated as a weighted average, where weights are based on 2005 GDP in United


States dollars.




142 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.10
Selected economies in transition: quarterly indicators of growth and inflation, 2006-2008


Percentage


2006 quarters 2007 quarters 2008 quarters


I II III IV I II III IV I II III


Rates of growth of gross domestic producta


Armenia .. .. .. .. 11.5 11.6 13.5 13.8 9.1 10.3 10.4
Belarus 11.3 9.6 8.7 10.7 8.2 8.7 8.4 7.3 10.9 10.1 ..
Georgia 9.2 7.1 9.9 11.1 11.4 13.4 13.2 11.7 9.3 7.9 ..
Kazakhstan 7.5 9.3 10.5 10.7 10.6 10.4 9.6 8.9 6.1 5.4 ..
Kyrgyzstan 2.8 4.8 1.7 4.0 7.9 8.8 7.8 8.5 11.7 .. ..
Russian Federation 6.3 7.4 7.5 8.0 7.4 8.1 7.3 9.5 8.5 7.5 ..
Ukraine 4.7 7.5 8.3 10.4 8.9 8.7 7.7 7.6 6.5 6.5 6.9


Change in consumer pricesa


Armenia -2.0 1.7 6.7 5.8 4.9 4.3 2.1 6.3 7.8 10.1 11.3
Belarus 7.8 7.1 6.3 6.6 7.5 6.8 8.0 10.7 12.8 15.5 16.3
Croatia 3.5 3.8 3.3 2.3 1.6 2.1 2.8 4.9 5.8 6.5 7.5
Georgia 5.0 9.1 13.0 9.6 10.4 7.5 7.6 11.3 11.2 11.4 11.0
Kazakhstan 8.4 9.0 8.7 8.3 8.0 7.9 9.7 17.3 18.7 19.5 19.5
Kyrgyzstan 6.2 5.7 5.2 5.0 4.7 4.8 9.8 21.2 22.3 28.8 ..
Republic of Moldova 10.8 11.8 14.2 14.1 11.8 10.6 13.2 13.8 15.0 16.4 12.0
Russian Federation 10.9 9.4 9.4 9.1 7.7 8.0 8.9 11.5 12.9 14.8 14.9
Ukraine 9.7 7.1 8.0 11.4 10.2 11.4 14.1 15.5 22.5 30.1 25.8


Sources: UN/DESA, based on data of the Economic Commission for Europe and national sources.
a Percentage change from the corresponding period of the preceding year.




143Statistical annex


Table A.11
Major developing economies: quarterly indicators of growth, unemployment and inflation, 2006-2008


Percentage


2006 quarters 2007 quarters 2008 quarters


I II III IV I II III IV I II III


Rates of growth of gross domestic producta


Argentina 8.8 7.9 8.8 8.6 8.0 8.4 8.8 9.1 8.3 7.5 ..
Brazil 3.9 1.2 4.4 5.0 4.0 4.8 5.1 5.3 5.5 5.7 ..
Chile 5.0 4.4 3.2 4.8 6.2 6.2 3.9 4.0 3.3 4.5 4.8
China 10.2 10.9 10.7 11.0 11.1 11.5 11.5 11.2 10.6 10.4 9.9
Colombia 6.2 5.9 7.8 7.2 8.5 8.0 6.5 8.0 4.5 3.7 ..
Ecuador 4.8 4.1 4.9 1.8 1.6 1.1 1.4 5.8 6.9 8.8 ..
Hong Kong SARb 9.0 6.2 6.4 6.6 5.5 6.2 6.8 6.9 7.3 4.2 1.7
India 10.2 9.6 10.1 9.3 9.7 9.2 9.3 8.8 8.8 7.9 7.6
Indonesia 5.0 5.0 5.9 6.1 6.1 6.4 6.5 6.3 6.3 6.4 6.1
Israel 5.3 6.9 4.8 3.8 5.5 4.2 4.9 6.8 5.2 4.9 5.1
Korea, Republic of 6.3 5.2 5.0 4.2 4.0 4.9 5.1 5.7 5.8 4.8 3.9
Malaysia 5.9 6.0 5.9 5.3 5.5 5.7 6.7 7.3 7.1 6.7 4.7
Mexico 6.0 5.1 4.9 3.7 2.5 2.6 3.4 4.2 2.6 2.7 1.6
Philippines 5.7 5.6 5.2 5.5 7.0 8.3 7.1 6.4 4.7 4.4 4.6
Singapore 10.4 8.2 7.4 7.0 7.0 9.1 9.5 5.4 6.9 2.3 -0.6
South Africa 4.9 4.9 4.8 6.6 5.8 4.9 5.1 4.6 3.8 4.4 2.9
Taiwan Province
of China 5.0 4.9 5.5 3.9 3.8 5.5 7.0 6.4 6.2 4.6 -1.0
Thailand 6.4 5.3 4.8 4.5 4.4 4.4 5.1 5.7 6.0 5.3 4.0
Turkey 5.9 9.7 6.3 5.7 8.1 4.1 3.3 3.6 6.7 1.9 ..
Venezuela,
Bolivarian Republic of 10.3 9.4 10.2 11.4 8.8 7.6 8.6 8.5 4.9 7.2 4.6


Unemployment ratec


Argentina 11.4 10.4 10.2 8.7 9.8 8.5 8.1 7.5 8.4 8.0 7.8
Brazil 9.9 10.3 10.4 9.2 9.8 10.0 9.3 8.1 8.4 8.1 7.8
Chile 8.0 8.8 8.4 6.7 6.4 6.8 7.4 7.4 7.4 8.0 8.1
Colombia 9.4 8.5 9.7 8.9 9.8 11.2 10.9 9.8 12.1 11.1 11.4
Hong Kong SARb 4.9 4.9 5.1 4.4 4.1 4.3 4.4 3.6 3.2 3.3 3.5
Israel 8.4 8.4 8.8 8.1 7.3 7.4 7.6 7.0 5.9 5.7 6.4
Korea, Republic of 3.9 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.6 3.3 3.1 3.0 3.4 3.1 3.1
Malaysia 3.8 3.4 3.1 3.0 3.4 3.4 3.1 3.0 3.6 3.5 ..
Mexico 3.5 3.2 4.0 3.6 4.0 3.4 3.9 3.5 4.0 3.5 4.2
Philippines 8.1 8.2 8.0 7.3 7.8 7.4 7.8 6.3 7.4 8.0 7.4
Singapore 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.6 2.9 2.3 1.7 1.7 2.0 2.2 2.2
Taiwan Province
of China 3.9 3.9 4.0 3.9 3.8 3.9 4.0 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.2
Thailand 1.9 1.7 1.2 1.3 1.6 1.6 1.2 1.1 1.7 1.4 1.2
Turkey 11.5 9.2 9.0 9.8 10.9 9.2 9.0 10.1 11.2 9.2 9.0
Uruguay 12.6 10.8 10.7 9.6 9.9 9.5 9.0 8.1 8.5 7.5 7.6
Venezuela,
Bolivarian Republic of 11.1 10.0 10.1 8.9 10.3 8.4 8.5 6.7 8.2 7.3 7.1




144 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.11 (cont’d)


2006 quarters 2007 quarters 2008 quarters


I II III IV I II III IV I II III


Change in consumer pricesa


Argentina 11.6 11.4 10.6 10.1 9.5 8.8 8.6 8.5 8.5 9.1 9.0
Brazil 5.5 4.3 3.8 3.1 3.0 3.3 4.0 4.3 4.7 5.6 6.3
Chile 4.1 3.8 3.5 2.2 2.7 2.9 4.8 7.2 8.0 8.9 9.3
China 1.2 1.4 1.3 2.0 2.7 3.6 6.1 6.6 8.0 7.8 5.3
Colombia 4.3 4.0 4.5 4.3 5.2 5.7 5.3 5.4 6.1 6.9 7.7
Ecuador 3.9 3.4 2.8 2.0 2.1 1.7 2.5 2.8 5.3 9.1 9.9
Hong Kong SARb 1.6 2.1 2.3 2.2 1.7 1.3 1.7 3.5 4.6 5.7 4.6
India 4.5 5.9 6.2 6.5 7.0 6.3 6.7 5.5 6.3 7.8 9.0
Indonesia 16.9 15.5 14.9 6.1 6.3 6.1 6.5 6.7 7.6 10.2 11.9
Israel 3.1 3.6 2.0 -0.2 -0.6 -1.1 0.9 2.8 3.6 5.0 5.1
Korea, Republic of 2.1 2.2 2.5 2.1 2.0 2.4 2.3 3.4 3.8 4.8 5.5
Malaysia 3.8 4.1 3.6 3.0 2.6 1.5 1.8 2.2 2.6 4.8 8.4
Mexico 3.7 3.1 3.5 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.9 4.9 5.5
Philippines 7.3 6.9 6.1 4.8 2.9 2.4 2.5 3.3 5.5 9.7 12.2
Singapore 1.4 1.2 0.7 0.6 0.5 1.0 2.8 4.1 6.6 7.5 6.5
South Africa 3.8 4.0 5.2 5.5 5.9 7.0 7.0 8.4 9.9 11.7 13.5
Taiwan Province
of China 1.3 1.5 -0.3 -0.1 0.9 0.3 1.5 4.5 3.6 4.2 4.5
Thailand 5.7 6.0 3.6 3.3 2.5 1.9 1.6 2.9 5.0 7.5 7.2
Turkey 8.1 9.6 10.8 9.8 10.3 9.5 7.1 8.2 8.8 10.3 11.7
Venezuela,
Bolivarian Republic of 12.6 11.2 14.6 16.1 19.1 19.5 16.1 20.1 26.2 30.0 33.6


Source: IMF, International Financial Statistics, and national sources.
a Percentage change from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
b Special Administrative Region of China.
c Reflects national definitions and coverage. Not comparable across economies.




145Statistical annex


Table A.12
Major developed economies: financial indicators, 1999-2008


Percentage


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a


Short-term interest ratesb


Canada 4.9 5.7 4.0 2.6 3.0 2.3 2.8 4.2 4.6 3.5
Francec 3.0 4.4 4.3 3.3 2.3 2.1 2.2 3.1 4.3 4.8
Germanyc 3.0 4.4 4.3 3.3 2.3 2.1 2.2 3.1 4.3 4.8
Italyc 3.0 4.4 4.3 3.3 2.3 2.1 2.2 3.1 4.3 4.8
Japan 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.7 0.7
United Kingdom 5.4 6.1 5.0 4.0 3.7 4.6 4.7 4.8 5.9 5.8
United States 5.3 6.5 3.7 1.7 1.2 1.6 3.5 5.2 5.3 3.0


Long-term interest ratesd


Canada 5.5 5.9 5.5 5.3 4.8 4.6 4.1 4.2 4.3 3.7
France 4.6 5.4 4.9 4.9 4.1 4.1 3.4 3.8 4.3 4.3
Germany 4.5 5.3 4.8 4.8 4.1 4.0 3.3 3.8 4.2 4.1
Italy 4.7 5.6 5.2 5.0 4.3 4.3 3.6 4.1 4.5 4.7
Japan 1.7 1.7 1.3 1.3 1.0 1.5 1.4 1.7 1.7 1.5
United Kingdom 5.1 5.3 4.9 4.9 4.5 4.9 4.4 4.5 5.0 4.7
United States 5.6 6.0 5.0 4.6 4.0 4.3 4.3 4.8 4.6 3.8


General government financial balancese


Canada 1.6 2.9 0.7 -0.1 -0.1 0.8 1.6 1.0 1.0 -0.2
France -1.8 -1.5 -1.6 -3.2 -4.1 -3.6 -2.9 -2.4 -2.7 -3.0
Germany -1.5 1.3 -2.8 -3.6 -4.0 -3.8 -3.3 -1.5 -0.2 0.0
Italy -1.8 -0.9 -3.1 -3.0 -3.5 -3.5 -4.3 -3.4 -1.6 -2.5
Japanf -7.4 -7.6 -6.3 -8.0 -7.9 -6.2 -6.7 -1.4 -2.2 -2.0
United Kingdom 1.1 4.0 0.9 -1.7 -3.3 -3.4 -3.4 -2.7 -2.8 -4.2
United States 0.9 1.6 -0.4 -3.8 -4.8 -4.3 -3.1 -2.1 -2.8 -5.8


Sources: UN/DESA, based on IMF, International Financial Statistics; OECD Economic Outlook; and Eurostat.
a Average for the first nine months.
b Money market rates.
c From January 1999 onwards, represents the three-month Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR), which is an interbank deposit bid rate.
d Yield on long-term government bonds.
e Surplus (+) or deficit (-) as a percentage of nominal GNP or GDP. Estimates for 2008.
f Deferred tax payments on postal savings accounts are included in 2000 and 2001.




146 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.13
Selected economies: real effective exchange rates, broad measurement,a 1999-2008


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b


Developed economies


Australia 104.4 100.0 95.7 99.6 110.8 120.2 126.8 132.1 140.7 145.5
Bulgaria 92.5 100.0 107.9 112.1 120.5 125.1 127.5 135.3 142.9 148.2
Canada 101.2 100.0 96.5 94.6 102.4 104.5 108.0 111.7 112.5 106.0
Czech Republic 99.7 100.0 106.6 118.2 117.0 121.2 129.0 133.2 138.7 157.5
Denmark 106.3 100.0 102.5 106.5 113.6 114.2 111.6 109.6 109.5 109.8
Euro zone 108.9 100.0 101.6 105.3 117.3 121.2 120.1 121.2 126.0 133.3
Hungary 100.7 100.0 107.1 113.3 115.0 118.8 118.9 115.5 119.6 122.3
Japan 95.0 100.0 88.7 82.8 82.7 83.4 79.0 72.0 67.1 71.1
New Zealand 111.5 100.0 99.4 111.4 130.5 140.2 147.2 135.9 146.3 138.6
Norway 100.2 100.0 102.9 108.9 108.7 110.5 116.7 122.0 131.1 136.5
Poland 95.0 100.0 110.7 107.2 99.0 101.8 111.0 113.3 117.1 127.8
Romania 86.8 100.0 107.8 112.9 116.9 126.6 153.2 170.9 190.3 180.9
Slovakia 95.0 100.0 102.1 104.0 112.3 116.8 116.8 118.2 128.3 130.2
Sweden 105.0 100.0 91.5 93.9 97.7 97.1 94.1 95.0 98.6 93.9
Switzerland 107.1 100.0 103.1 109.3 111.0 108.9 104.7 100.2 95.3 96.6
United Kingdom 101.9 100.0 97.2 98.2 95.5 99.6 97.1 96.9 98.9 89.0
United States 99.2 100.0 106.0 106.1 98.0 91.8 89.2 86.8 82.6 77.7


Economies in transition


Croatia 98.5 100.0 105.5 106.5 109.6 113.5 114.3 115.2 116.4 123.7
Russian Federation 88.5 100.0 120.8 126.6 130.9 140.5 154.4 170.3 180.1 191.7


Developing economies


Argentina 102.3 100.0 105.0 56.1 62.4 60.8 60.0 58.4 57.7 57.9
Brazil 84.1 100.0 90.2 89.7 98.5 105.8 129.6 140.7 155.5 180.2
Chile 95.4 100.0 94.7 93.0 91.9 100.0 111.7 117.9 117.2 122.4
China 97.7 100.0 105.5 102.9 97.9 95.9 98.2 101.1 103.3 111.7
Colombia 107.3 100.0 100.4 99.1 88.0 94.7 104.8 102.8 110.4 116.0
Ecuador 78.0 100.0 102.5 110.9 114.3 114.7 121.1 130.6 125.9 143.2
Egypt 98.0 100.0 91.1 81.6 65.4 66.1 71.9 74.1 76.3 87.9
Hong Kong SARc 106.4 100.0 101.9 101.5 95.0 89.9 86.4 84.1 79.9 72.3
India 98.2 100.0 102.6 99.1 98.4 99.1 102.3 99.2 106.5 101.4
Indonesia 103.8 100.0 96.3 116.5 123.2 113.5 113.8 142.0 149.3 165.8
Israel 93.7 100.0 99.7 89.7 87.5 85.4 86.3 86.8 87.9 97.8
Korea, Republic of 93.8 100.0 90.6 93.5 92.8 95.0 104.9 110.0 107.6 93.9
Kuwait 97.5 100.0 107.5 109.3 102.3 94.9 96.2 95.2 93.2 96.7
Malaysia 99.3 100.0 103.9 101.6 98.6 100.7 103.3 107.0 112.7 112.7
Mexico 90.0 100.0 107.9 109.5 100.0 98.2 103.1 106.0 106.0 108.8
Morocco 99.6 100.0 98.2 98.5 98.7 97.1 94.5 94.5 93.4 93.1
Nigeriad 98.8 100.0 111.1 111.0 104.9 107.8 124.2 133.1 130.6 136.0
Pakistan 99.6 100.0 95.5 100.1 100.9 100.4 102.2 105.8 105.6 106.0
Peru 100.0 100.0 104.2 104.0 100.0 99.5 99.3 99.4 99.6 105.9
Philippines 103.0 100.0 107.6 112.5 107.6 100.7 107.1 129.5 136.0 129.7




147Statistical annex


Table A.13 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b


Saudi Arabia 99.4 100.0 103.6 102.3 94.3 87.6 84.9 84.1 81.8 81.4
Singapore 99.4 100.0 97.8 95.9 95.4 102.2 106.7 112.1 119.5 125.3
South Africa 101.0 100.0 90.6 80.5 105.7 115.2 117.5 113.4 109.2 101.2
Taiwan Province of China 96.2 100.0 96.1 93.8 89.6 90.8 89.1 89.0 87.8 86.1
Thailand 102.5 100.0 97.0 101.2 100.3 100.0 102.7 111.6 124.8 124.2
Turkey 91.0 100.0 87.5 100.5 110.5 116.0 124.3 120.4 127.6 126.9
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 96.4 100.0 109.4 92.6 93.5 98.8 99.2 107.9 119.7 132.2


Sources: JPMorgan Chase and IMF, International Financial Statistics.
a Indices based on a “broad” measure currency basket of 46 currencies (including the euro). The real effective exchange rate, which adjusts the


nominal index for relative price changes, gauges the effect on international price competitiveness of the country’s manufactures due to currency
changes and inflation differentials. A rise in the index implies a fall in competitiveness and vice versa. The relative price changes are based on
indices most closely measuring the prices of domestically produced finished manufactured goods, excluding food and energy, at the first stage of
manufacturing. The weights for currency indices are derived from 2000 bilateral trade patterns of the corresponding countries.


b Average for the first ten months.
c Special Administrative Region of China.
d Data is from International Financial Statistics (IFS) only. Data for 2008 is until July.




148 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.14
Indices of prices of primary commodities, 1999-2008


Non-fuel commodities Combined index
Manufac-


tured
export
prices


Real
prices of
non-fuel
commo-
ditiesa


Memo-
randum


item:
Crude


petroleumbFood
Tropical


beverages


Vegetable
oilseeds
and oils


Agricul-
tural raw
materials


Minerals
and


metals Dollar SDR


1999 98 118 125 97 89 98 95 105 94 63.3
2000 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100.0
2001 103 79 94 96 89 96 100 98 98 83.8
2002 102 89 117 94 87 97 99 99 98 88.3
2003 104 94 137 112 98 105 99 108 97 101.8
2004 119 100 155 123 137 126 112 117 108 130.6
2005 127 126 141 132 173 141 126 120 118 183.5
2006 151 134 148 152 278 184 165 123 150 221.3
2007 164 148 226 169 313 207 179 133 156 250.4


2005 I 129 132 139 126 165 139 121 123 113 159.7
II 125 132 144 129 167 138 122 120 115 178.8
III 125 120 139 137 173 140 126 118 118 204.4
IV 130 120 139 138 188 147 135 117 125 191.1


2006 I 151 136 137 149 220 167 153 119 141 209.0
II 155 129 141 162 285 188 168 123 153 234.6
III 148 133 149 155 301 189 168 125 151 238.4
IV 151 139 164 143 304 190 169 127 150 203.1


2007 I 155 143 179 165 288 192 169 129 149 198.0
II 154 142 209 169 336 207 180 131 158 235.5
III 165 150 236 164 322 210 181 133 158 259.0
IV 183 157 278 179 307 220 185 138 159 308.1


2008 I 223 182 342 207 358 262 216 140 187 335.2
II 273 184 358 221 381 295 240 144 205 425.7
III 244 191 305 219 355 271 226 .. .. 411.3


Sources: UNCTAD, Monthly Commodity Price Bulletin; United Nations, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics; and Middle East Economic Survey, available from
http://www.mees.com/Energy_Tables/basket.htm.
a Combined index of non-fuel commodity prices in dollars deflated by manufactured export price index.
b Effective 16 June 2005, OPEC basket is composed of 13 crudes.




149Statistical annex


Table A.15
World oil supply and demand, 2000-2009


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


World oil supplyc,d
(millions of barrels per day) 76.9 77.1 76.9 79.8 83.3 84.3 85.0 85.6 86.4 86.3


Developed economies 18.5 18.3 18.3 17.8 17.4 16.5 16.3 16.4 16.2 16.4
Economies in transition 8.1 8.7 9.6 10.5 11.6 12.0 12.4 12.9 12.9 13.2
Developing economies 48.6 48.3 47.3 49.7 52.5 54.0 54.4 54.2 55.1 54.4


OPECe 30.8 30.4 28.8 30.8 33.1 34.2 34.3 35.9 37.1 36.1
Non-OPEC 17.8 17.9 18.5 18.9 19.4 19.8 20.1 18.4 18.0 18.3


Processing gainsf 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.1 2.2 2.3


World total demandg 76.2 77.3 77.7 79.3 82.5 83.8 85.1 86.1 86.1 85.8


Oil prices (dollars per barrel)
OPEC Basketh 27.6 23.1 24.4 28.1 36.1 50.6 61.1 69.1 96.9 60.2
Brent Oil 28.3 24.4 25.0 28.9 38.3 54.4 65.4 72.7 101.0 64.0


Sources: United Nations, World Bank, International Energy Agency, U.S. Energy Information Administration, and Middle East Economic Survey, available
from http://www.mees.com/Energy_Tables/basket.htm (accessed on 13 November 2008).
a Partly estimated.
b Baseline scenario forecasts.
c Including crude oil, condensates, natural gas liquids (NGLs), oil from non-conventional sources and other sources of supply.
d Totals may not add up due to rounding.
e Includes Angola and Ecuador as of January 2007 and December 2007, respectively.
f Net volume gains and losses in refining process (excluding net gain/loss in the economies in transition and China) and marine transportation


losses.
g Including deliveries from refineries/primary stocks and marine bunkers, and refinery fuel and non-conventional oils.
h New OPEC reference basket introduced on 16 June 2005 is currently composed of 13 crudes.




150 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.16
World trade: changes in value and volume of exports and imports, by major country group, 1999-2009


Annual percentage change


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Dollar value of exports


World 3.6 13.4 -3.9 4.8 16.4 21.5 13.8 14.9 15.6 18.9 -4.4
Developed economies 1.8 7.3 -2.8 3.6 15.1 18.5 8.3 11.9 14.4 13.9 -7.3


North America 4.5 13.4 -6.6 -4.2 5.0 15.1 10.8 11.3 9.7 12.8 2.0
EU plus Other Europe -0.1 3.5 1.1 6.7 19.0 19.3 7.7 12.5 16.3 13.9 -11.7
Developed Asia 7.0 14.0 -13.6 3.1 13.3 20.2 7.0 9.3 11.2 15.4 4.3


Economies in transition -1.4 34.2 -0.7 6.3 26.4 36.3 36.2 27.6 25.1 46.2 -4.1
South-eastern Europe -6.5 16.6 3.1 6.5 20.6 30.8 24.4 17.5 27.4 26.1 0.8
Commonwealth of
Independent States -0.4 37.7 -1.0 6.3 26.8 36.7 36.9 28.1 25.0 47.2 -4.3


Developing economies 8.7 27.3 -6.3 7.2 18.2 26.1 21.9 18.4 16.3 23.2 -0.5
Latin America and the Caribbean 5.8 19.7 -3.6 1.0 8.5 23.0 20.8 18.2 12.5 21.3 -2.5
Africa 12.6 26.1 -8.2 3.4 23.4 29.3 37.1 18.6 20.1 38.3 -7.1
Western Asia 24.8 81.4 -7.0 5.0 22.5 31.0 33.1 19.1 17.3 37.7 -18.7
East and South Asia 7.2 19.2 -6.7 9.9 19.4 25.6 18.1 18.3 16.4 18.2 6.0
China 6.1 27.9 6.8 22.4 34.6 35.4 27.7 26.5 25.1 20.8 14.8


Dollar value of imports


World 3.7 12.9 -3.5 3.7 16.3 22.0 13.8 14.8 15.6 18.9 -3.9
Developed economies 5.0 10.3 -3.6 3.0 16.0 19.3 11.8 13.2 13.6 14.7 -10.4


North America 11.5 17.6 -6.2 1.5 7.9 16.4 13.9 10.5 5.9 11.4 -7.1
EU plus Other Europe 1.1 5.3 -1.2 4.3 20.4 20.6 10.2 14.8 17.5 14.7 -12.9
Developed Asia 10.4 17.8 -8.3 -0.3 15.6 19.8 15.9 11.2 11.0 24.7 -1.6


Economies in transition -21.0 14.8 14.1 12.0 25.6 28.6 26.2 29.7 39.0 36.4 12.2
South-eastern Europe -6.8 12.9 13.9 20.2 19.1 21.9 17.4 15.2 30.7 24.5 3.5
Commonwealth of
Independent States -26.2 15.6 14.1 10.3 27.1 30.0 28.0 32.4 40.4 38.2 13.4


Developing economies 2.7 19.7 -4.4 5.0 16.4 27.9 17.4 16.9 17.5 25.3 5.7
Latin America and the Caribbean -2.4 15.8 -2.1 -7.0 3.4 22.0 18.7 19.4 19.0 26.8 0.2
Africa -6.6 1.0 0.2 3.4 20.3 26.3 22.5 19.5 25.5 29.1 6.6
Western Asia 2.1 21.7 0.0 7.2 17.4 36.5 15.2 14.7 28.1 23.2 -0.1
East and South Asia 4.1 20.6 -6.7 8.7 19.5 28.1 16.9 16.5 14.4 24.8 8.1
China 18.2 35.2 8.1 21.3 39.8 35.8 17.6 19.7 20.3 28.6 19.1


Volume of exports


World 4.3 13.2 -1.1 4.4 5.6 11.2 8.0 8.8 6.3 4.4 2.1
Developed economies 4.4 12.6 -0.9 2.2 2.5 8.9 5.6 7.5 4.5 3.1 0.0


North America 3.5 14.0 -5.5 -2.4 0.5 9.0 6.3 5.5 4.8 4.6 1.3
EU plus Other Europe 4.8 11.9 2.3 3.1 2.1 8.2 5.4 8.2 3.9 3.6 0.4
Developed Asia 4.7 12.7 -6.6 6.6 8.1 12.1 5.5 7.6 6.8 -1.4 -4.0


Economies in transition 5.8 15.2 3.8 7.9 13.2 15.5 0.8 6.6 8.9 5.0 4.5
South-eastern Europe -4.7 13.5 5.5 5.2 7.5 17.6 18.1 8.9 13.7 9.2 6.6
Commonwealth of
Independent States 7.8 15.4 3.6 8.0 13.6 15.4 -0.2 6.4 8.6 4.7 4.4




151Statistical annex


Table A.16 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008a 2009b


Developing economies 4.0 14.5 -1.9 8.6 10.8 15.0 12.5 10.9 8.8 6.2 4.8
Latin America and the Caribbean 0.5 4.6 -0.1 1.7 4.4 11.3 8.9 7.3 1.9 -2.0 4.1
Africa 3.1 -9.2 -2.0 4.7 10.0 9.0 17.9 0.2 10.1 10.6 3.6
Western Asia 7.9 37.2 3.0 4.5 8.9 8.0 6.0 5.6 6.2 5.8 3.9
East and South Asia 3.8 15.3 -3.5 12.0 13.0 17.8 14.0 13.6 10.5 7.4 5.2
China 17.6 35.8 9.3 29.8 28.5 28.6 25.4 21.4 19.2 9.5 6.2


Volume of imports


World 6.1 13.8 -0.5 4.1 6.5 11.8 8.3 8.9 6.4 4.6 2.2
Developed economies 7.6 11.0 -0.6 2.5 4.6 9.5 6.5 7.0 3.9 1.1 -1.1


North America 11.1 12.3 -3.6 3.2 4.7 10.8 6.8 5.0 1.4 -4.1 -4.1
EU plus Other Europe 5.9 10.7 1.0 2.0 4.1 9.0 6.5 8.3 5.2 3.2 1.2
Developed Asia 6.6 9.0 0.3 3.1 7.1 8.2 5.7 5.5 3.7 5.8 -5.5


Economies in transition -18.4 21.8 14.0 11.8 16.2 19.3 8.8 18.4 25.0 17.5 15.5
South-eastern Europe -6.8 17.4 15.3 17.0 3.6 9.6 12.2 9.8 17.0 12.1 8.0
Commonwealth of
Independent States -22.9 23.9 13.8 10.7 19.1 21.2 8.2 20.1 26.3 18.3 16.7


Developing economies 4.0 20.8 -0.9 7.4 10.3 16.3 11.7 12.0 9.8 9.8 6.3
Latin America and the Caribbean -0.9 17.5 -0.4 -4.1 6.2 7.5 10.4 13.0 9.1 8.6 3.6
Africa -1.3 1.8 6.3 5.0 10.5 10.7 17.5 11.6 17.6 15.2 10.5
Western Asia 4.0 22.9 2.4 7.3 7.7 23.5 8.8 9.8 15.6 9.8 8.5
East and South Asia 4.6 20.3 -2.4 11.4 11.9 18.0 12.0 12.1 8.3 9.4 6.0
China 25.2 38.4 10.7 28.0 27.5 23.1 13.9 16.2 12.8 7.0 10.6


Sources: UN/DESA Statistics Division, ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA and IMF.
a Partly estimated.
b Baseline scenario forecasts, based in part on Project LINK.




152 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.17
Balance of payments on current accounts, by country or country group, summary table, 1999-2007


Billions of dollars


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Developed economies -182.6 -322.8 -265.2 -287.7 -317.8 -330.7 -505.0 -597.7 -555.3


Japan 114.5 119.6 87.8 112.6 136.2 172.1 165.7 170.4 211.0
United States -299.8 -417.4 -382.4 -461.3 -523.4 -625.0 -729.0 -788.1 -731.2
Europea 25.8 -27.2 21.8 66.2 90.5 144.5 87.0 51.8 19.1


EU-15 11.3 -60.5 -6.8 38.6 48.9 107.6 25.6 -6.0 -28.9
New EU member States -23.2 -21.8 -18.6 -20.2 -27.4 -41.7 -35.7 -53.5 -79.9


Economies in transition 21.4 47.0 31.0 25.3 30.7 56.7 81.0 89.5 60.3


South-eastern Europe -2.5 -1.3 -2.2 -5.0 -5.4 -7.0 -7.2 -8.0 -13.9
Commonwealth of
Independent States 23.9 48.3 33.2 30.4 36.1 63.8 88.2 97.4 74.2


Developing economies 39.8 102.3 78.1 127.4 224.6 274.5 485.1 685.0 776.0


Net fuel exporters -7.9 79.5 32.6 29.5 76.7 121.6 279.1 360.4 336.4
Net fuel importers 47.7 22.9 45.5 97.9 147.9 152.9 205.9 324.7 439.6


Latin America and the Caribbean -55.8 -47.3 -52.5 -15.2 9.1 21.5 37.0 50.2 18.7


Net fuel exporters -22.8 -14.1 -21.1 -0.6 11.0 12.6 26.6 35.3 21.0
Net fuel importers -33.0 -33.2 -31.4 -14.6 -1.8 8.9 10.4 14.8 -2.3


Africa -11.4 18.4 5.2 -7.7 2.6 12.3 35.5 53.7 29.6


Net fuel exporters -2.3 26.7 12.0 -2.4 11.4 27.7 56.4 81.7 66.5
Net fuel importers -9.1 -8.3 -6.8 -5.3 -8.8 -15.4 -20.9 -27.9 -36.9


Western Asia 3.0 37.8 32.2 23.9 44.9 63.1 152.5 190.5 181.5


Net fuel exporters 7.7 50.3 32.4 27.1 52.3 77.6 174.9 216.6 221.2
Net fuel importers -4.7 -12.4 -0.2 -3.2 -7.3 -14.5 -22.4 -26.1 -39.7


East and South Asia 103.9 93.4 93.3 126.4 167.9 177.5 260.0 390.7 546.3


Net fuel exporters 9.4 16.6 9.4 5.4 2.0 3.7 21.2 26.8 27.8
Net fuel importers 94.5 76.8 83.9 121.0 165.9 173.9 238.8 363.8 518.5


World residualb -121.5 -173.5 -156.0 -134.9 -62.5 0.6 61.1 176.8 281.0


Sources: IMF, World Economic Outlook, October 2008; and IMF, Balance of Payments Statistics.
a Europe consists of EU-15, new EU member States plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
b Statistical discrepancy.




153Statistical annex


Table A.18
Balance of payments on current accounts, by country or country group, 1999-2007


Billions of dollars


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Developed economies


Trade balance -157.9 -296.4 -260.2 -264.3 -314.9 -423.7 -639.9 -780.1 -759.6
Services, net 89.4 82.3 76.4 96.4 113.6 166.3 206.6 256.1 344.7
Income, net 17.4 27.6 41.7 18.9 48.3 125.3 153.8 161.2 142.9
Current transfers, net -131.5 -136.3 -123.0 -138.7 -164.9 -198.6 -225.5 -234.9 -283.3
Current-account balance -182.6 -322.8 -265.2 -287.7 -317.8 -330.7 -505.0 -597.7 -555.3


Japan


Trade balance 121.3 114.9 69.2 92.5 104.0 128.5 93.8 81.1 105.1
Services, net -52.2 -45.9 -42.7 -40.7 -31.4 -34.3 -24.1 -18.2 -21.2
Income, net 57.4 60.4 69.2 65.8 71.2 85.7 103.5 118.2 138.6
Current transfers, net -12.1 -9.8 -7.9 -4.9 -7.5 -7.9 -7.6 -10.7 -11.6
Current-account balance 114.5 119.6 87.8 112.6 136.2 172.1 165.7 170.4 211.0


United States


Trade balance -346.0 -454.7 -427.2 -485.0 -550.9 -669.6 -787.2 -838.3 -819.4
Services, net 82.7 74.9 64.4 61.2 54.0 61.8 75.6 85.0 119.1
Income, net 13.9 21.1 31.7 27.4 45.3 67.2 72.4 57.2 81.8
Current transfers, net -50.4 -58.7 -51.3 -65.0 -71.8 -84.5 -89.8 -92.0 -112.7
Current-account balance -299.8 -417.4 -382.4 -461.3 -523.4 -625.0 -729.0 -788.1 -731.2


Europea


Trade balance 48.7 2.5 48.8 96.8 107.1 86.1 18.2 -54.7 -71.2
Services, net 63.4 56.3 58.9 78.6 96.4 145.8 164.3 201.2 262.8
Income, net -16.4 -17.3 -20.8 -40.3 -27.7 18.2 31.4 36.5 -14.2
Current transfers, net -69.8 -68.8 -65.1 -69.0 -85.4 -105.6 -126.9 -131.3 -158.3
Current-account balance 25.8 -27.2 21.8 66.2 90.5 144.5 87.0 51.8 19.1


EU-15


Trade balance 67.2 8.0 51.9 95.2 105.6 81.9 3.6 -65.0 -65.6
Services, net 39.7 28.5 32.7 52.7 68.4 114.2 127.4 156.4 206.6
Income, net -27.6 -28.5 -26.9 -40.7 -38.4 18.6 19.3 36.1 -8.0
Current transfers, net -68.0 -68.4 -64.5 -68.5 -86.8 -107.1 -124.6 -133.5 -161.9
Current-account balance 11.3 -60.5 -6.8 38.6 48.9 107.6 25.6 -6.0 -28.9


New EU member States


Trade balance -28.7 -28.5 -26.1 -25.2 -28.5 -33.1 -33.1 -48.2 -66.8
Services, net 7.5 9.0 9.2 8.1 7.6 8.6 11.7 14.4 19.7
Income, net -6.9 -7.4 -7.9 -10.7 -16.3 -27.7 -26.8 -34.4 -49.3
Current transfers, net 4.9 5.1 6.2 7.6 9.8 10.4 12.5 14.8 16.5
Current-account balance -23.2 -21.8 -18.6 -20.2 -27.4 -41.7 -35.7 -53.5 -79.9


Economies in transition


Trade balance 24.9 53.7 37.8 34.4 43.5 71.8 107.4 130.0 112.5
Services, net -1.9 -4.3 -7.2 -8.3 -7.1 -10.8 -12.6 -11.7 -17.8
Income, net -8.0 -9.6 -6.8 -8.9 -16.5 -17.0 -28.5 -44.9 -51.3
Current transfers, net 6.4 7.2 7.2 8.2 10.8 12.8 14.7 16.1 16.9
Current-account balance 21.4 47.0 31.0 25.3 30.7 56.7 81.0 89.5 60.3




154 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.18 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


South-eastern Europe


Trade balance -8.9 -9.0 -10.9 -14.1 -18.3 -22.1 -22.5 -24.4 -32.2
Services, net 1.9 2.6 3.5 3.5 6.0 6.3 6.8 7.8 9.1
Income, net 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.0 -0.4 -0.3 -0.9 -1.3 -1.6
Current transfers, net 4.1 4.9 5.2 5.6 7.3 9.1 9.3 10.0 10.9
Current-account balance -2.5 -1.3 -2.2 -5.0 -5.4 -7.0 -7.2 -8.0 -13.9


Commonwealth of
Independent States


Trade balance 33.8 62.7 48.7 48.5 61.8 93.9 129.9 154.4 144.7
Services, net -3.8 -6.9 -10.7 -11.8 -13.2 -17.1 -19.4 -19.5 -26.9
Income, net -8.4 -9.7 -6.9 -8.9 -16.0 -16.7 -27.5 -43.6 -49.6
Current transfers, net 2.3 2.3 2.0 2.5 3.5 3.7 5.3 6.1 6.0
Current-account balance 23.9 48.3 33.2 30.4 36.1 63.8 88.2 97.4 74.2


Developing economies


Trade balance 138.6 211.7 181.5 223.4 299.3 355.8 552.8 736.8 813.9
Services, net -45.6 -53.0 -58.3 -60.8 -57.8 -59.0 -85.1 -100.4 -122.1
Income, net -109.0 -116.7 -111.7 -113.8 -117.4 -140.0 -132.1 -120.5 -110.5
Current transfers, net 55.9 60.3 66.7 78.6 100.5 117.6 149.4 169.0 194.7
Current-account balance 39.8 102.3 78.1 127.4 224.6 274.5 485.1 685.0 776.0


Net fuel exporters


Trade balance 64.7 168.6 115.7 121.0 171.1 231.5 386.0 478.2 488.0
Services, net -45.9 -53.9 -51.4 -54.5 -58.4 -70.7 -83.4 -106.2 -134.5
Income, net -21.9 -30.0 -27.1 -35.0 -39.2 -48.8 -44.4 -29.5 -32.5
Current transfers, net -4.8 -5.2 -4.6 -2.0 3.2 9.7 20.9 17.9 15.4
Current-account balance -7.9 79.5 32.6 29.5 76.7 121.6 279.1 360.4 336.4


Net fuel importers


Trade balance 73.8 43.1 65.8 102.4 128.2 124.3 166.8 258.7 325.9
Services, net 0.3 1.0 -7.0 -6.3 0.6 11.8 -1.7 5.9 12.4
Income, net -87.1 -86.7 -84.6 -78.8 -78.2 -91.1 -87.7 -91.0 -78.0
Current transfers, net 60.7 65.5 71.3 80.6 97.3 107.9 128.5 151.1 179.3
Current-account balance 47.7 22.9 45.5 97.9 147.9 152.9 205.9 324.7 439.6


Latin America and the Caribbean


Trade balance -9.3 1.6 -5.9 21.9 43.7 59.3 82.8 100.4 74.1
Services, net -13.6 -14.3 -16.4 -14.6 -11.8 -14.8 -35.4 -40.8 -48.8
Income, net -53.0 -56.0 -56.3 -52.1 -59.1 -66.0 -61.9 -70.6 -69.4
Current transfers, net 20.2 21.5 26.1 29.6 36.3 43.0 51.5 61.2 62.8
Current-account balance -55.8 -47.3 -52.5 -15.2 9.1 21.5 37.0 50.2 18.7


Africa


Trade balance -2.5 31.8 16.4 5.9 18.1 33.3 63.9 81.5 74.5
Services, net -7.0 -7.3 -7.9 -9.4 -9.3 -11.3 -15.6 -17.8 -22.4
Income, net -16.7 -22.0 -19.6 -22.0 -27.1 -35.0 -44.2 -44.6 -62.1
Current transfers, net 14.9 15.9 16.4 17.8 21.0 25.4 31.4 34.6 39.6
Current-account balance -11.4 18.4 5.2 -7.7 2.6 12.3 35.5 53.7 29.6




155Statistical annex


Table A.18 (cont’d)


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Western Asia


Trade balance 27.1 67.8 64.8 64.2 86.4 112.3 188.2 237.9 248.3
Services, net -18.9 -20.2 -21.0 -23.8 -21.5 -28.2 -31.3 -51.8 -72.8
Income, net 1.8 -1.6 -1.7 -5.6 -8.6 -11.4 3.8 17.5 24.7
Current transfers, net -7.0 -8.2 -9.9 -11.0 -11.4 -9.5 -8.1 -13.0 -18.8
Current-account balance 3.0 37.8 32.2 23.9 44.9 63.1 152.5 190.5 181.5


East Asia


Trade balance 135.4 119.7 117.6 139.2 166.4 180.7 255.2 367.7 484.1
Services, net -6.0 -11.9 -13.9 -13.9 -17.0 -11.2 -13.3 -7.4 -0.3
Income, net -34.9 -29.5 -27.5 -26.8 -14.8 -20.3 -19.8 -13.0 6.5
Current transfers, net 8.7 9.0 9.6 14.2 19.4 25.0 33.5 38.2 50.1
Current-account balance 103.1 87.3 85.9 112.7 154.0 174.1 255.6 385.5 540.4


South Asia


Trade balance -12.1 -9.2 -11.3 -7.8 -15.3 -29.8 -37.3 -50.6 -67.2
Services, net -0.1 0.8 0.8 0.8 1.9 6.6 10.5 17.5 22.3
Income, net -6.2 -7.6 -6.6 -7.3 -7.9 -7.2 -10.0 -9.8 -10.1
Current transfers, net 19.2 22.1 24.6 27.9 35.2 33.8 41.0 48.1 60.9
Current-account balance 0.8 6.1 7.4 13.7 13.9 3.4 4.3 5.2 5.9


World residualb


Trade balance 5.6 -31.1 -40.9 -6.6 27.9 3.9 20.4 86.7 166.7
Services, net 41.9 25.0 10.8 27.4 48.7 96.6 108.9 144.1 204.8
Income, net -99.6 -98.6 -76.8 -103.8 -85.6 -31.7 -6.7 -4.3 -18.9
Current transfers, net -69.3 -68.8 -49.1 -52.0 -53.6 -68.2 -61.4 -49.7 -71.7
Current-account balance -121.5 -173.5 -156.0 -134.9 -62.5 0.6 61.1 176.8 281.0


Sources: IMF, World Economic Outlook, October 2008; and, IMF, Balance of Payments Statistics.
a Europe consists of EU-15, new EU member States plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
b Statistical discrepancy.




156 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.19
Net ODA from major sources, by type, 1987-2007


Donor group
or country


Growth rate of ODAa
(2006 prices and
exchange rates)


ODA as a
percentage


of GNI


Total ODA
(millions


of dollars)


Percentage distribution of ODA by type, 2007


Bilateral Multilateral


1987- 1996 1997- 2006 2007 2007 Total Grantsb
Technical


cooperation Loans Total
United


Nations Other


Total DAC
countries 0.22 4.02 0.28 103 655 69.1 71.4 13.5 -2.3 30.9 6.6 24.2


Total EU 1.17 3.56 0.40 62 095 60.2 62.8 16.0 -2.6 39.8 7.4 32.3


Austria 1.30 8.94 0.49 1 798 72.9 74.5 9.5 -1.5 27.1 2.6 24.5
Belgium -1.80 5.97 0.43 1 953 63.7 65.2 38.2 -1.5 36.3 3.1 33.2
Denmark 3.80 0.82 0.81 2 563 64.4 67.2 2.5 -2.8 35.6 13.6 22.0
Finland -2.85 6.87 0.40 973 58.4 56.9 10.5 1.6 41.6 11.5 30.1
Francec 1.87 0.38 0.39 9 940 63.4 67.8 25.6 -4.4 36.6 1.5 35.2
Germany 0.45 2.10 0.37 12 267 65.8 67.6 29.8 -1.8 34.2 1.9 32.4
Greece .. 5.11 0.16 501 49.8 49.8 27.6 .. 50.2 3.0 47.3
Ireland 6.96 13.61 0.54 1 190 69.3 69.3 1.9 .. 30.7 13.0 17.7
Italy -3.56 2.03 0.19 3 929 31.2 30.3 2.2 0.9 68.8 11.3 57.5
Luxembourg 13.95 12.23 0.90 365 69.5 69.5 2.2 .. 30.5 11.1 19.4
Netherlands 0.76 2.87 0.81 6 216 75.1 77.8 6.4 -2.7 24.9 8.5 16.4
Portugal 20.34 5.63 0.19 403 50.4 45.9 24.1 4.5 49.6 3.1 46.5
Spain 14.77 5.59 0.41 5 744 46.7 42.5 9.2 4.2 53.3 20.8 32.5
Sweden 0.71 5.02 0.93 4 334 68.2 68.0 4.2 0.2 31.8 12.1 19.7
United Kingdom 1.48 7.87 0.36 9 921 52.3 62.2 12.2 -9.8 47.7 7.8 39.9


Australia 0.11 1.84 0.30 2 471 85.5 83.7 44.7 1.8 14.5 2.8 11.7
Canada -0.88 1.70 0.28 3 922 78.4 79.3 14.3 -0.9 21.6 5.7 15.9
Japan 1.67 0.90 0.17 7 691 75.8 78.5 24.3 -2.7 24.2 7.2 17.0
New Zealand -0.50 5.22 0.27 315 77.3 77.3 14.7 .. 22.7 11.2 11.6
Norway 1.32 3.27 0.95 3 727 76.4 69.5 12.2 6.9 23.6 16.0 7.6
Switzerland 3.11 4.14 0.37 1 680 75.4 74.4 .. 1.0 24.6 7.6 17.0
United States -3.34 8.06 0.16 21 753 86.9 90.6 .. -3.7 13.1 3.0 10.2


Source: UN/DESA, based on OECD, The DAC Journal Development Co-operation Report 2007.
a Average annual rates of growth, calculated from average levels in 1985-1987,1994-1996 and 2004-2006.
b Including technical cooperation.
c Excluding flows from France to the Overseas Departments, namely Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Réunion.




157Statistical annex


Table A.20
Total net ODA flows from DAC countries, by type of flow, 1995-2007


1995-1996
average 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Net disbursements at current prices and exchange rates
(millions of dollars)


Official Development Assistance 57 186 58 297 69 065 79 432 107 099 104 421 103 655
Bilateral grants and grant-like flows 36 380 39 818 50 888 57 246 83 453 79 450 74 009
of which:


Technical co-operation 14 220 15 452 18 352 18 672 20 753 22 252 13 989
Humanitarian aid 2 152 2 779 4 360 5 193 7 110 6 751 6 282
Debt forgiveness 3 561 4 538 8 317 7 134 24 999 18 600 ..


Bilateral loans 3 404 939 -1 153 -2 942 -1 008 -2 490 -2 342
Contributions to multilateral institutionsa 17 401 17 540 19 330 25 127 24 653 27 461 31 988


Share of total net flows
(percentage)


Official Development Assistance 32 80 55 50 35 34 ..
Bilateral grants and grant-like flows 20 55 41 36 28 26 ..
of which:


Technical co-operation 8 21 15 12 7 7 ..
Humanitarian aid 1 4 3 3 2 2 ..
Debt forgiveness 2 6 7 4 8 6 ..


Bilateral loans 2 1 -1 -2 0 -1 ..
Contributions to multilateral institutionsa 10 24 15 16 8 9 ..


Source: UN/DESA, based on OECD, The DAC Journal of Development Co-operation Report 2007 and DAC online database, available from
http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/idsonline (accessed on 14 November 2008).
a Grants and capital subscriptions. Does not include concessional lending to multilateral agencies.




158 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A.21
Commitments and net flows of financial resources, by selected multilateral institutions, 1998-2007


Millions of dollars


1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007


Resource commitmentsa 95 118 65 568 63 085 72 177 95 292 67 593 55 895 71 712 64 738 74 493


Financial institutions,
excluding IMF 57 928 42 770 36 882 41 787 38 523 43 053 45 678 51 385 55 700 66 620


Regional development
banksb 21 133 19 437 16 235 19 349 16 751 20 393 21 468 23 039 23 088 31 330
World Bank Group 36 352 22 899 20 238 22 004 21 382 22 230 23 743 27 677 31 901 34 691c


International Bank for
Reconstruction and
Development (IBRD) 24 687 13 789 10 699 11 709 10 176 10 572 10 792 13 611 14 195 12 829
International
Development
Association (IDA) 7 325 5 691 5 861 6 859 8 040 7 550 8 387 8 696 9 506 11 867
International Financial
Corporation (IFC) 4 340 3 419 3 678 3 436 3 166 4 108 4 564 5 370 8 200 9 995


International Fund
for Agricultural
Development (IFAD) 443 434 409 434 390 430 467 669 711 599


IMF (billions of dollars) 33 19 22 26 52 18 3 13 1 2
United Nations operational
agenciesd 4 290 4 198 3 803 4 690 4 569 6 740 7 617 7 708 8 345 6 255


Net flows 28 825 -7 450 -10 859 14 931 2 001 -11 655 -20 235 -39 609 -25 864 -6 772


Financial institutions,
excluding IMF 9 525 5 150 -59 1 431 -11 199 -14 755 -10 235 835 5 208 -11 403


Regional development
banksb 7 971 4 229 327 1 696 -3 904 -8 025 -6 570 -1 668 2 965 5 940
World Bank Group 1 554 921 -386 -265 -7 295 -6 730 -3 665 2 503 2 243 5 463


International Bank for
Reconstruction and
Development (IBRD) -2 723 -3 019 -4 079 -4 570 -12 126 -11 241 -8 930 -2 898 -5 087 -1 767
International
Development
Association (IDA) 4 276 3 940 3 693 4 432 4 831 4 511 5 265 5 401 7 330 7 230


IMF (billions of dollars) 19 -13 -11 14 13 3 -10 -40 -31 -18


Memorandum item:
(in units of 2000 purchasing power)e


Resource commitments 87 264 62 446 63 085 73 650 97 237 62 586 47 774 59 760 54 863 56 010
Net flows 26 445 -7 095 -10 859 15 236 2 042 -10 792 -17 295 -33 008 -21 919 -5 091


Sources: Annual reports of the relevant multilateral institutions, various issues.
a Loans, grants, technical assistance and equity participation, as appropriate; all data are on a calendar-year basis.
b African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), European Bank for Reconstruction and


Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) (including Inter-American Investment Corporation (IaIC)).
c Data is for fiscal year 2007.
d United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World


Food Programme (WFP).
e Totals deflated by the United Nations index of manufactured export prices (in dollars) of developed economies: 2000=100.




159Statistical annex


Table A.22
Greenhouse gas emissionsa of Annex 1 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


Teragram CO2 equivalent


1990 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Annual
growth rate
1990-2009


Cumulative
change


between 1990
and 2009


Australia 416 495 510 518 524 530 536 550 554 553 1.5 32.8
Austria 79 81 87 93 92 93 91 93 93 92 0.8 16.1
Belarus 127 70 68 70 74 76 81 84 83 82 -2.3 -35.4
Belgium 145 146 143 146 146 142 137 136 133 128 -0.6 -11.2
Bulgaria 117 69 66 71 71 71 71 65 60 54 -4.0 -53.6
Canada 592 718 717 741 743 734 721 716 708 695 0.8 17.4
Croatia 33 26 28 30 30 31 31 32 33 34 0.2 3.0
Czech
Republic 194 147 145 146 147 146 148 158 163 165 -0.8 -14.9
Denmark 70 69 70 75 69 65 72 66 63 59 -0.9 -15.8
Estonia 42 18 18 20 20 19 19 17 14 11 -7.0 -74.6
Finland 71 70 77 85 81 69 80 86 82 80 0.6 12.4
France 566 560 553 557 557 560 547 540 533 517 -0.5 -8.8
Germany 1 228 1 019 1 017 1 030 1 028 1 005 1 005 979 958 910 -1.6 -25.9
Greece 105 128 129 134 134 134 133 134 135 135 1.3 28.7
Hungary 98 78 77 81 79 80 79 76 73 70 -1.8 -28.7
Iceland 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 0.0 0.6
Ireland 56 69 69 69 69 70 70 71 66 59 0.4 6.9
Italy 517 552 559 574 578 578 568 575 572 562 0.4 8.8
Japan 1 272 1 348 1 356 1 361 1 355 1 358 1 340 1 361 1 358 1 338 0.3 5.2
Latvia 26 10 11 11 11 11 12 11 10 9 -5.8 -67.6
Liechtenstein — — — — — — — — — — 1.1 21.2
Lithuania 49 19 21 21 22 23 23 23 22 21 -4.4 -57.9
Luxembourg 13 10 11 12 13 13 13 13 13 12 -0.6 -10.7
Monaco — — — — — — — — — — -1.1 -18.2
Netherlands 212 214 215 216 218 212 207 202 194 187 -0.7 -11.8
New Zealand 62 71 73 76 75 77 78 78 77 76 1.1 22.7
Norway 50 53 53 54 55 54 54 54 54 53 0.3 6.7
Poland 454 389 373 385 384 386 400 402 396 383 -0.9 -15.6
Portugal 59 82 88 83 85 87 83 85 88 88 2.1 49.2
Romania 248 139 150 157 159 152 157 158 160 158 -2.3 -36.1
Russian
Federation 3 326 2 038 2 064 2 106 2 120 2 123 2 190 2 295 2 382 2 433 -1.6 -26.8
Slovakia 74 49 49 50 50 49 49 48 46 42 -2.9 -42.7
Slovenia 19 19 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 21 0.7 13.8
Spain 288 385 403 410 426 441 433 467 472 462 2.5 60.7
Sweden 72 68 70 71 70 67 66 65 63 60 -0.9 -16.2
Switzerland 53 52 52 53 53 54 53 54 56 58 0.5 9.6
Turkey 170 280 271 286 297 312 332 348 358 366 4.1 115.1




160 World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009


Table A22 (cont’d)


1990 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008b 2009c


Annual
growth rate
1990-2009


Cumulative
change


between 1990
and 2009


Ukraine 922 395 403 417 417 426 443 436 451 446 -3.7 -51.6
United
Kingdom 772 674 657 662 661 659 656 631 595 545 -1.8 -29.4
United States 6 135 7 003 6 953 6 978 7 061 7 107 7 017 6 975 6 859 6 610 0.4 7.7


All Annex 1
Parties 18 734 17 616 17 628 17 871 17 995 18 039 18 019 18 110 18 000 17 577 -0.3 -6.2


Source: UN/DESA, based on data of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) online database available from
http://unfccc.int/ghg_emissions_data/ghg_data_from_unfccc/time_series_annex_i/items/3814.php (accessed on 17 November 2008).
Note: Based on the historical data provided by the UNFCCC for the GHG emissions of the Annex 1 Parties up to 2006, DESA/DPAD extrapolated the
data to 2009. The extrapolation is based on the following procedure:


First, GHG/GDP intensity for each country is modelled using time-series regression techniques, to reflect the historical trend of GHG/GDP. While the •
trend for each individual country would usually be a complex function of such factors as change in structure of the economy, technology change,
emission mitigation measures, as well as other economic and environmental policies, the time-series modelling could be considered as a reduced
form of a more complex structural modelling for these relations between economic output and GHG emissions.
Second, GHG/GDP intensity for each country is extrapolated for the out-of-sample period (i.e., 2007-2009), using parameters derived from the •
time-series regression model.
Third, in some cases, the extrapolated GHG/GDP intensity for individual countries was adjusted to take account for announced emission control •
measures taken by Governments.
Finally, the projected GHG emissions were estimated using GDP estimates according to the • World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009 baseline
forecast and the extrapolated GHG/GDP intensity.


a Without land use, land-use change and forestry.
b Estimated.
c Baseline scenario forecasts.






Litho in United Nations, New York United Nations publication
08-57855—January 2009—4,860 Sales No. E.09.II.C.2
ISBN 978-92-1-109158-8






Published by the United Nations


ISBN 978-92-1-109158-8
Sales No. E.09.II.C.2


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