Serrari Group

In a remarkable year marked by an influx of national elections worldwide, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is advocating for fiscal prudence. With a staggering 88 countries, representing over half of the global population, currently undergoing or having completed national elections in 2024, the IMF’s message resonates with urgency.

The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor publication underscores the financial complexities of what has been termed the ‘Great Election Year.’ Governments, prone to increased spending and reduced taxation during election cycles, are urged to exercise caution to avoid budget overruns and unsustainable deficits.

Historical data reveals a concerning trend: deficits in election years typically exceed forecasts by 0.4 percentage points of GDP compared to non-election years. This trend is further exacerbated by heightened demands for social spending, placing additional strain on public finances.

Compounding these challenges are slowing growth prospects and persistently high interest rates, limiting fiscal maneuverability across most economies. Despite a modest forecast of 3.2% global GDP growth for both 2024 and 2025, the IMF warns of lingering economic challenges, particularly concerning high debt levels and fiscal deficits.

Advanced economies, excluding the United States, continue to grapple with elevated spending levels, remnants of pandemic-era fiscal policies. Meanwhile, emerging market economies face their own fiscal pressures, necessitating reforms to bolster revenue streams and curb spending.

The IMF emphasizes the urgent need for countries to phase out crisis-era fiscal support measures and prioritize the rebuilding of fiscal buffers. Advanced economies with aging populations are encouraged to reform healthcare and pension systems, while all nations are urged to enhance tax revenue through comprehensive tax reforms and improved institutional capacity.

Failure to address burgeoning deficits could see global public debt soar to nearly 99% of GDP by 2029, with countries like China and the United States poised to surpass historical debt peaks.

As nations navigate the economic uncertainties of the post-pandemic era amidst heightened democratic activities, the IMF’s call for fiscal prudence serves as a timely reminder of the imperative to safeguard long-term fiscal sustainability.

photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

18th April, 2024

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