IMF Blog

Global Shipping Costs Are Moderating, But Pressures Remain 

Global Shipping Costs Are Moderating, But Pressures Remain

JANUARY 13, 2022

Shipping costs soared over the past year as consumers unleashed pent-up savings to buy new merchandise while the pandemic continued to snarl the world’s supply chains. Container rates have more than quadrupled since the start of the pandemic, with some of the biggest gains concentrated in the first three quarters of last year.

Lockdowns, labor shortages, and strains on logistics networks led to shipping-cost increases and significantly lengthened delivery times, though those pressures are easing. Our Chart of the Week shows how global container rates began to pull back from their record in September and have since declined by 16 percent.

PREVIOUS CHARTS OF THE WEEK
Higher Shipping Costs May Lift Asia’s Low Inflation 
Higher Shipping Costs May Lift Asia’s Low Inflation

December 22, 2021

This chart of the week shows how Asia’s inflation has been more moderate versus other regions, affording central banks room to keep interest rates low and support economic recovery. However, Asia’s tepid price gains may see greater momentum next year. The outlook remains uncertain, and central banks should be ready to tighten policy if inflation pressures and expectations mount.

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The World’s Top Recipients of Foreign Direct Investment 
The World’s Top Recipients of Foreign Direct Investment

December 16, 2021

According to the latest results of our Coordinated Direct Investment Survey, the world’s top ten recipients of direct investment by end-2020 were the United States, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, China, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland, and Germany. Total reported foreign direct investment positions increased by $2.2 trillion—or six percent—from 2019 to 2020 (among economies that reported data for both 2019 and 2020).

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Food Inflation in Sub-Saharan Africa
Food Inflation in Sub-Saharan Africa

December 6, 2021

Inflation is rising around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, one item is driving the trend more than others: food prices. Our chart of the week shows how food inflation is outpacing and contributing to the pick-up in overall consumer price inflation in sub-Saharan Africa, which rose to about 9%in October, up from around 6% in 2019.

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Global Financial Safety Net—A Lifeline for an Uncertain World 
Global Financial Safety Net—A Lifeline for an Uncertain World

November 30, 2021

When economic crises hit, such as the one caused by the pandemic, countries have a number of financial resources—both internal and external—to draw on. The global financial safety net is a set of institutions and mechanisms that provide insurance against crises and financing to mitigate their impact.

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Insights and analysis on economics and finance

The IMF Chart of the Week is part of the IMF Blog, a forum for the views of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff and officials on pressing economic and policy issues of the day.

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In the Race to Vaccinate Sub-Saharan Africa Continues to Fall Behind 
In the Race to Vaccinate Sub-Saharan Africa Continues to Fall Behind

November 22, 2021

Sub-Saharan Africa's vaccination rate is stalling even as advanced economies have started ramping up booster shots. The lack of vaccines weighs on the region’s growth outlook, contributing to the dangerous divergence with advanced economies. Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to be the world’s slowest growing region in 2021, with a permanently lower path of real GDP that could have long-lasting consequences for social and political stability.

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Latin America's Inflation Challenge 
Latin America's Inflation Challenge

November 16, 2021

Inflation has surged in the largest economies of Latin America, prompting large central banks in the region to raise interest rates before economic activity has fully recovered. Our latest Regional Economic Outlook shows how rapidly inflation is rising. In the first year of the pandemic, average inflation in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru—the LA5—was below the average for other emerging market economies. It’s now higher, averaging 8 percent year-on-year in October and in the case of Brazil, surpassing 10.5 percent.

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The Unequal COVID Saving and Wealth Surge 
The Unequal COVID Saving and Wealth Surge

November 9, 2021

Our chart shows that the net wealth of the top 1% richest households rose by nearly 35% of the economy’s disposable income compared to a modest 5% increase for households in the bottom 50%.

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Brave New World: Tracking Trade from Space 
Brave New World: Tracking Trade from Space

November 2, 2021

New IMF staff research shows that some of the large data gaps routinely faced by small fragile states could be filled using satellite data. Specifically, trade volumes can be measured and tracked in real time, which is a critical input for policy decisions.

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