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The Commodity Markets Outlook in six charts

John Baffes's picture
Oil prices will moderate from their current highs and be lower on average in 2019 than in 2018 on slower-then-expected global growth and rising non-OPEC production, according to our latest Commodity Markets Outlook. Metal, agriculture prices are on track to stage a partial recovery, with momentum likely to pick up in 2020.
Commodity prices reversed declines in early 2019

Most commodity prices accelerated up in the first quarter of 2019 following last year’s declines, and many have recovered from drops in the last quarter of 2018.

Why it's never too early to think about getting old

Alena Sakhonchik's picture

This blog is a part of a series using data from the Women, Business and the Law project. The data explores legal and regulatory challenges faced by women through different stages of their working lives. Launched in February 2019, Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform analyses data for eight indicators over the past decade for 187 economies.

Regardless of our gender, sooner or later we will reach an age when we will retire from our jobs. When that time comes, pensions will play a critical role as a source of income, poverty prevention and insurance to safeguard long lives. Yet in some countries, financing and eligibility criteria can make pensions less favorable for women.

The Getting a Pension indicator in the Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform report assesses laws affecting women’s pensions by examining retirement ages and pension credits for periods of interrupted employment due to childcare.

Want to bring transit-oriented development to your city? There’s a toolkit for that!

Gerald Ollivier's picture

Let’s say you are a transport specialist or an urban planner who wants to implement a transit-oriented development plan, because you know that TOD, as a planning and design strategy, can help transform your city.

TOD, as an urban development approach, concentrates high-density development and economic clusters around rapid transit stations. Concentrating housing and activities such as jobs, within a 5 to 10-minute walking distance from these stations encourages more people to take public transport and reduces the need for motorized trips. In addition, if done well, TOD enhances universal accessibility and the quality of public space while offering green and efficient urban mobility options.

Although these all sound attractive for you to implement your plan, you need to convince others, including the city officials you are working with. How do you do that?

Supporting Vietnam’s economic success through greener, cheaper, and more efficient trucking

Yin Yin Lam's picture

Vietnam has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with annual GDP growth averaging 5 to 8% over the last few decades. These impressive numbers are largely related to the country’s success in manufacturing and trading, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty.

The trucking industry has played a crucial role in the country’s economic transformation, and currently moves 77% of the total freight-ton volume. Although in 2018, Vietnam jumped from 64th to rank 39th in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index—many challenges persist.

At 21% of GDP, logistics costs are a serious pain point that has been stifling the competitiveness of Vietnam’s exports.

The environmental impact of the sector represents another important concern. The Vietnamese fleet comprises mostly small and older trucks, with a significant impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and traffic congestion. Overall, the transport sector accounts for about 10% of GHG emissions in the country.

To address these issues, our team conducted the first-ever comprehensive study of Vietnam’s trucking sector, which drew on a nationwide survey of more than 1,400 truck drivers, interviews with 150 private and public stakeholders, and a detailed review of the key factors influencing logistics costs and emissions.

Investing in modern hydromet services for a climate-resilient Africa

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture

In Sub-Saharan Africa, if no action is taken, an estimated 40 million people could fall back into poverty by 2030 because of weather and climate shocks.
To help reduce these impacts, modernized weather – or “hydromet” – services bring together meteorological and hydrological agencies, disaster risk managers, and end-users across all sectors to deliver actionable, timely, and usable climate and weather information to support decision making.
Hydromet and early warning services provide life-saving information that protect people and assets, preserve livelihoods, and promote prosperity in climate and disaster risk prone areas. For example, early warning systems reduce the impacts of floods, droughts, storms and other natural hazards while protecting citizens, assets, and businesses.

Joint Learning Network: Mobilizing domestic resources for health

Ajay Tandon's picture

The Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) collaborative cohosted its recent meeting with the Efficiency Collaborative on February 27-28 in New Delhi, India. This was the third in-person meeting of the DRM collaborative.


A game changer for climate action: Finance ministers step up

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu's picture

​In a packed World Bank board room on April 13, 2019, Finance Ministers from over 20 countries came together as part of a Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. It was an inspiring moment, to see history being made by Finance Ministers who are clear not only about the costs of climate change – running into the hundreds of billions annually – but also the opportunities of being bold on climate action.

Taking digital banking services to remote villages in north eastern India

Priti Kumar's picture
Ang Dolma Sherpa, an expert carpet weaver in West Sikkim is one of the 200-300 women weavers in the region who are benefiting from the project’s interventions
Ang Dolma Sherpa, an expert carpet weaver in West Sikkim is one of the 200-300 women weavers in the region who are benefiting from the project’s interventions. Photo: World Bank

Until six months ago, people in the remote corners of India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim had to travel long distances over the hillsides to do simple banking transactions.

When they did reach a bank, it was usually overcrowded and understaffed. This made it difficult for rural folk, unfamiliar with formal financial systems to deposit or withdraw money, let alone borrow to meet their needs.
Now change is in the air. Ever since the North East Rural Livelihoods Project (NERLP) - supported by the World Bank - helped banks in Sikkim’s western and southern districts engage local women self-help group (SHG) members as their business correspondents, people in these distant parts have been able to bank at their doorsteps.
While the concept is not new in India, the two correspondents - one for each district - have proved to be nothing short of a miracle for this far-flung region. They have fanned out across mountain villages, equipped with palm-sized micro-ATMs, biometric readers, and internet-connected thermal printers. Villagers can now deposit their money easily, earn interest, and withdraw whenever needed.
In the six months since the correspondents were first introduced, business has soared. “In November 2018, when we first began, I did about 160 transactions worth Rs.1.2 million. As awareness has grown, this has risen steadily, and in March 2019 I did over 260 transactions worth Rs. 2.4 million,” explained Lila Shilal, business correspondent for the IDBI Bank in West Sikkim’s Jorethang block.
Shilal has also benefitted in the process. She has started earning more than Rs.10,000 a month from the bank in transaction fees and commission and has used the amount to set herself up as an entrepreneur.
The project has introduced another financial service as well, this time at the bank itself. Here, bank sakhis - or female banker friends – help village folk and SHG members fill out forms and apply for loans.
This new cadre of women business correspondents and bank sakhis has not only benefitted local communities and given SHG members a new livelihood opportunity, it has also made life simpler for the region’s bankers.

The promise and limitations of cash transfers to adolescent females

Berk Ozler's picture

When you have to redo your literature review for a “revise and resubmit,” you know two things: first, the publishing process in economics is slow, and second, the evidence is accumulating fast in your subject matter. The former is what it is and the latter is good. Into the rapidly growing literature regarding the effects of cash transfers on sustained human capital accumulation for adolescent females comes this paper by Baird, McIntosh, and Özler (forthcoming in the Journal of Development Economics).