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

The COVID19 pandemic has caused a sharp decline in global trade, lower commodity prices, and tighter external financing conditions. Implications for current account balances and currencies vary widely across countries. In 2019 the global current account balance (the absolute sum of all surpluses and deficits) declined by 0.2 percentage point of world GDP, to 2.9 percent of world GDP. The overall configuration of external positions in 2019 implied persistent vulnerabilities and remaining policy challenges on the eve of the pandemic. The IMF’s multilateral approach suggests that about 40 percent of overall current account surpluses and deficits were excessive in 2019, only slightly less than in 2018.