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IMF reviews global growth forecast

IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath

Oct. 13, 2020 3 min read

The International Monetary Fund is projecting a deep recession in 2020 with global growth projected to be -4.4% in its latest update to the World Economic Outlook forecast, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath says.

World Economic Outlook is a Survey by the IMF staff usually published twice a year. It presents IMF staff economists' analyses of global economic developments during the near and medium term. Chapters give an overview as well as more detailed analysis of the world economy; consider issues affecting industrial countries, developing countries, and economies in transition to market; and address topics of pressing current interest.

The IMF says the global economy is climbing out from the depths to which it had plummeted during the Great Lockdown in April. But with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, many countries have slowed reopening and some are reinstating partial lockdowns to protect susceptible populations. While recovery in China has been faster than expected, the global economy’s long ascent back to pre-pandemic levels of activity remains prone to setbacks.


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“So we continue to project a deep recession in 2020 with global growth projected to be -4.4%.  This is a small upgrade relative to our June numbers. We expect growth to rebound partially in 2021, coming back to 5.2 percent. However, with the exception of China, all advanced economies and emerging and developing economies, excluding China we are projecting output will remain below 2019 levels well into 2021. Therefore, we see that the recovery from this catastrophic collapse will likely be long and even highly uncertain,” she said ahead of the report’s release.

As the world tries to bounce back from the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gopinath argues that there will be risks to the recovery, but also a chance things can improve.

“There are broad risks to the upside and to the downside. On the upside, we could have positive development in terms of treatments and vaccines that could hasten the end of this health crisis. And we could also have more policy support that would help. But there are many downside risks. We could have worse news on the health front, and we could have greater financial turmoil at a time when debt is at the highest level in recorded history. And we have rising geopolitical tensions that could also derail the recovery,” she said from her home in Boston.

Gopinath added that the road to recovery will be a difficult ascent and gave recommendations on how policies could be designed to put economies on a healthy growth path.

“First, it is essential that fiscal and monetary policy are not prematurely withdrawn as this crisis is far from over. Second, we need much greater international collaboration to end this health crisis by making sure that when once new treatments and vaccines are available, then it will be produced a sufficient scale to be available widely in all countries. And lastly, policies should be designed towards putting economies on a path towards more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous growth,” said Gopinath.

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