Brazil’s GDP performance has been lackluster since the post-crisis rebound in 2010. Prospects for 2013 look a little better: unemployment rates have remained low, and data from the first quarter of the year suggest improving growth rates. Investment also rose ahead of consumption, which may mean a more balanced growth pattern (see Chart 1).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is taking a new look at Sovereign Debt Restructuring. There are at least two major reasons for this: First, it is expected that official creditors play a unique role during sovereign debt crises, since lending of last resort becomes the only bridge over default and/or drastically forced adjustments when a country faces very restricted market access. Therefore it makes sense that a number of recent cases warrant an update on what has worked well or not. Second, particularly in light of the recent experiences of Argentina and Greece, the existing framework for sovereign debt restructurings has increasingly been seen as in need of fixing – perhaps even a revamping - if it is to facilitate more orderly processes and outcomes in the future.
Despite tremendous progress in poverty reduction over the last two decades, poverty still persists. Along with South Asia, Africa is a region where large numbers of people continue to live in extreme poverty. It is also a region where there is clearly room for higher foreign trade levels (see Chart). Given that trade can generate growth – and thus poverty reduction – focus on trade-related reforms (e.g. lower tariffs, better logistics, and trade facilitation) deserves to be a high priority of the region.