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World Economic Survey 1985

Current Trends and Policies in the World Economy

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The crucial role of international trade in reinforcing global demand was evident in 1984, as the growth of world output gradually regained the pace of the late 1970s. Yet the geographical spread of the recovery remained limited, and economic growth in half of the developing countries was still so low that income per capita either continued to fall or stagnated. This uneven recovery, its sources and the policies conditioning its transmission, as well as its short-term prospects, are the focus of the World Economic Survey 1985.

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Current account imbalances and international financial relations

The first half of the present decade has been marked by significant shifts in the pattern of current account balances, intimately related to changes in international financial flows. The debt situation of developing countries has figured prominently in the trends and prospects for private financial flows, which in any event are undergoing an evolution in institutional forms that has implications for the access of different countries to private finance. Overall, there appears to be a heightened degree of international instability and uncertainty arising from financial and trade developments in response to which developing countries — indeed, most countries of the world — have been attempting to rebuild the levels of official international liquidity. As the current trends are partly the result of policies already implemented, for example, with respect to official development assistance and other official international finance, there are opportunities to improve upon the current outlook through international policy initiatives.

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