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What is the World Economic Outlook?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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The World Economic Outlook is a report that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) attempts to publish on a biannual basis. According to the IMF, the publication provides its “staff's analysis and projections of economic developments at the global level, in major country groups (classified by region, stage of development, etc.), and in many individual countries.” The publication is accessible online and may be downloaded for free, and it is also available in print. English, Spanish, and Arabic are a few of the languages in which the report is available.

Some of the information in this publication is the reporting and summary of actual figures, which can be used to show the changes that have occurred since the last version was issued. A portion of the publication, however, is speculation, which some people rely on to determine what the global economic state will be in the future. While many of the same types of statistics are used in each version, the focus in one may differ from the focus in the preceding one.

Each World Economic Outlook is usually organized by chapters, which are broken down into sections with subheadings. Information in the report, such as statistics, is often discussed in detail. Additionally, there are a number of colored tables and graphs, which are used as easily interpretable visual aids of this information.

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The information contained in the report may analyze the same findings but from several different perspectives. There is often a global view which provides information about the world’s economy as a whole. The same information that is assessed in this way may be also be analyzed on a regional and national basis. Some information may also be compared by classifying countries as having advanced or emerging economies and assessing certain data that pertains to each group. Examples of the type of figures analyzed and reported in the World Economic Outlook include gross domestic product, export volumes, and investment levels.

The World Economic Outlook is generally available for free download from the IMF website. Those who wish to have a copy should be aware that the file tends to be large and the publication tends to be lengthy. It is also available in a print version, although fees will normally be charged. Many people simply rely on summaries of the report, which are often printed in business and investment publications. Summaries may also be found in publications that report on public policy.

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