The International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment of the global economy in its October World Economic Outlook is depressing and worrying. Its message is that the worst economic outcomes are yet to come, and policymakers must carefully calibrate policies to lessen the blow for people while preparing the economy for a rebound. There is also advice for South African policymakers on fiscal support to households: it must be temporary and well-targeted.

Four main policy issues stand out. The first is that inflation is persistent and broadening, which means that it's no longer just driven by food, energy and supply-side bottlenecks. Demand pressures are building, which can be seen through rising prices and volumes of goods. If it was just supply constraints, volumes should be falling, but instead they are rising, perhaps less than prices...

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