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videos | IST

Watch: How economists like Gita Gopinath of IMF make predictions

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Every six months, the IMF publishes a report called the World Economic Outlook – where it gives the forecast for the global economy.

Every six months, the IMF publishes a report called the World Economic Outlook – where it gives the forecast for the global economy.
Forecasts like these are a big undertaking. So how are they made? We’re going to give you a behind-the-scenes look inside the process.
The World Economic Outlook is a nearly 200 page-long report that includes hundreds of thousands of data points from 189 member countries of the IMF.
It’s released twice a year and includes economic predictions for the next two years, along with thematic chapters that look at big-picture themes like productivity, climate change or technology.
So how do economists even get to predictions in reports like the World Economic Outlook?
First, teams collect data from countries all over world. Government agencies measure and report stats like GDP, inflation or trade balances – this is called “hard data.”
There’s also “soft data” - which includes surveys of businesses and consumers about how they feel about the economic environment now and in the future.3 The IMF’s country teams then send this data back to Washington.
It’s not just the big points they look at. GDP, for example, helps provide a snapshot of a country’s overall economy, but individual gauges are also important.