By Adedapo Adesanya
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut the growth forecast for 2019 to 3 percent according to the latest World Economic Outlook report and lowered the 2020 estimate to 3.4 percent.
This is a result of the global economic growth which is in its slowest pace since the 2008 financial crisis and down from a 3.8 percent pace seen in 2017.
The latest World Economic Outlook indicated that the IMF shaved global growth this year by 0.2 percentage points and 0.1 percentage point next year, compared with the organization’s view from July.
The IMF said it was pessimistic about the global economy as higher import tariffs are strangling manufacturing activity and international trade.
According to its chief economist Gita Gopinath, the global outlook remains precarious and warned there was no room for policy mistakes.
“With a synchronized slowdown and uncertain recovery, there is no room for policy mistakes, and an urgent need for policymakers to co-operatively de-escalate trade and geopolitical tensions,” she said.
This year’s slowdown according to the IMF was caused largely by trade disputes, which resulted in higher tariffs being imposed on many goods.
Although the world largest economies, the United States and China reached a temporary cease-fire in their trade fight when President Donald Trump agreed to suspend a tariff hike on $250 billion of Chinese products, but with no formal agreement reached and many issues yet to resolved, further talks will be needed to achieve any meaningful breakthrough.
The IMF forecast then predicted that about half the increase in growth expected next year will result from recoveries in countries where economies slowed significantly this year, mainly in Mexico, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
In addition to trade and geopolitical risks, the IMF predicted threats arising from a potential exit by Britain from the European Union (EU) on October 31 and as a result of this, The IMF urged policymakers to intensify their efforts to avoid economically damaging mistakes.
“As policy priorities go, undoing the trade barriers put in place with durable agreements and reining in geopolitical tensions top the list,” Gopinath said.
“Such actions can significantly boost confidence, rejuvenate investment, halt the slide in trade and manufacturing and raise world growth.” She added.
The new IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, who is set to preside over her first IMF meetings after succeeding Christine Lagarde this month as the fund’s director, said that the various trade disputes could produce a loss of around $700 billion in output by the end of next year or about 0.8 percent of world output.
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