2020 IMF/WBG Annual Meetings, to be Held Virtually in Oct. 12-18
Govt. to Support Small Business Digitalization
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki. (Photos: MOEF)
The 2020 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG) will be held virtually this year on October 12-18, 2020, to ensure the health and safety of participants and staff given health concerns around the COVID-19 virus.
Registration is required to attend virtual events. Registration confirmation letters will include instructions on how to login to a password-protected page containing curated event content based on attendee type and event sign-up or viewing links.
Delegates are governmental officials of the member countries of the World Bank Group and IMF, who will register through their respective Executive Director’s office.
The Boards of Governors of the IMF and the WBG normally meet once a year to discuss the work of their respective institutions.
The Annual Meetings, which generally take place in September/October, have customarily been held in Washington for two consecutive years and in another member country in the third year.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Boards of Governors was held in Savannah, Georgia, USA in March 1946. The first Annual Meetings were held in Washington in 1946.
The Annual Meetings include meetings of the Development Committee, the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the Group of Ten, the Group of Twenty-Four, and various other constituencies.
At the conclusion of their meetings, the Development Committee and the International Monetary and Financial Committee, as well as several other groups, issue communiqués.
The Annual Meetings include a plenary session, at which Governors take up matters of business. At the Annual Meetings, the Boards of Governors make decisions on how current international monetary issues should be addressed and approve corresponding resolutions.
The Annual Meetings are chaired by a Governor of the IMF and the WBG, with the chairmanship rotating among the membership each year. Every two years it elects Executive Directors. Each year any new members are welcomed into the IMF the WBG.
Because the Annual Meetings bring such a large number of member country officials together, they provide opportunities for consultations large and small, formal and informal.
Numerous seminars are held in conjunction with the meetings, including seminars conducted by staff members for members of the press.
These seminars are designed to foster creative dialogue among the private sector, government delegates, and senior IMF and Bank officials.
The Per Jacobsson Lecture will not take place during the 2020 Annual Meetings owing to the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki chairs the virtual 53rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank at the Seoul Government Complex on Sept. 18.
Govt. to Support Small Business Digitalization
Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki presided over the 16th Meeting of the Central Economic Response Headquarters, that is the 3rd Ministerial Meeting on the Korean New Deal, held on Sept. 17, and discussed plans to support digital transformation in small businesses and revise laws to back up the launch of Korean New Deal funds.
DPM Hong also talked about OECD’s growth outlook revision released the previous day and asked the National Assembly to fast pass the 4 the extra budget bill to deliver the new COVID-19 package before the Chuseok holiday.
The deputy prime minister announced government’s decision to relax some of the rules on chemicals control to help companies get through the pandemic.
The following is a summary of DPM Hong’s keynote address. The OECD released its interim report on economic outlook on Sept. 16, Korea’s 2020 growth outlook being revised down to a 1.0 percent contraction.
Although the outlook has been downgraded by 0.2 percentage points from the August outlook, the economy is among the three the organization expects to rebound to the pre-pandemic level in 2021 and is projected to post the fastest recovery according to the outlook.
This, along with the recent success in dollar and euro sovereign bond sales, reflects global views about the Korean economy, and we will continue to work with confidence to help the economy regain growth momentum.
The government will do the following to help small businesses with digital transformation.
- Help digitalize workplaces, such as an online ordering system, and smart shops with sales robots
- Help bridge the digital divide: Provide 50,000 shop owners with training opportunities by 2025, and raise 40 billion won worth of funds by 2023 to provide kiosks and digital payment terminals
- Provide infrastructure: Build a big data platform for business and market information, work on a convenient payment system that can lower fees to over 1 percent of a transaction, and provide 400 billion won worth of fiscal support and 200 billion won worth of special guarantees to help digitalize workplaces, including the purchases of solutions and equipment needed.
Current Economy Situation
Manufacturing and service output continued to improve in July, completed construction works picking up.
Retail sales and facilities investment went down. Industrial production rose 0.1 percent from the previous month in July.
Mining and manufacturing improved (up 1.6%, m-o-m and down 2.5%, y-o-y), as well as service output (up 0.3%, m-o-m and down 1.3%, y-o-y). Industrial production fell 1.6 percent year on year.
Retail sales (down 6.0%, m-o-m and up 0.5%, y-o-y) and facilities investment (down 2.2%, m-o-m and up 6.7%, y-o-y) dropped in July. Completed construction works (up 1.5%, m-o-m and down 0.6%, y-o-y) picked up.
Exports fell 9.9 percent year-on-year in August, the fall getting steeper from a 7.1 percent drop in the previous month partly due to fewer days worked (1.5 days). Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, fell from a year ago (US $1.87 billion (August 2019) → US $1.80 billion (August 2020)).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) improved 4.0 points in August to 88.2. The business sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector rose 7 points to 66, and the BSI outlook for September went up 7 points to 68.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for July increased 0.2 points to 97.2, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index improved 0.4 points to 100.3.
The economy lost 274,000 jobs year-on-year in August. Job loss slowed from 277,000 of the previous month as service jobs and construction jobs declined at a slower rate.
The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points from a year ago to 3.1 percent. Consumer prices rose 0.7 percent from a year ago in August. Farm product prices soared due to heavy rains. Core inflation rose 0.8 percent.
KOSPI rose in August on expectations of economic recovery at home and abroad. The won strengthened and Korea treasury yields rose on concerns over rising issuance.
Housing prices rose slowly in August (up 0.61% → up 0.47%, m-o-m), and Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices showed a steeper slope (up 0.32% → up 0.44%, m-o-m).
Although the economy showed signs of recovery as exports and manufacturing improve, the recovery has faltered due to strengthened social distancing amid worries over the resurgence of COVID-19. Major economies’ indicators have been improving, but at a slow rate as the pandemic lingers.
The government will renew its disease prevention efforts and work to support businesses and households hit by social distancing through emergency assistance programs, including those financed by the 4th extra budget.