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Surging inflation and severe meltdowns in the United States and China on Tuesday pushed the International Monetary Fund, IMF to downgrade its outlook for the global economy this year and next, while giving an even grimmer assessment of what may lie ahead.
‘The outlook has darkened significantly since April,” said IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas. ‘The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession, only two years after the last one.’
‘The world’s three largest economies, the United States, China, and the euro area are stalling with important consequences for the global outlook,’ he said at a briefing.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund cut the 2022 global GDP estimate to 3.2 percent, four-tenths of a point lower than the April forecast, and about half the rate seen last year.
Last year’s ‘tentative recovery’ from the pandemic downturn “has been followed by increasingly gloomy developments in 2022 as risks began to materialize,” the report said.
‘Several shocks have hit a world economy already weakened by the pandemic,” including the war in Ukraine which has driven up global prices for food and energy, prompting central banks to raise interest rates sharply, the IMF said.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns and a worsening real estate crisis have hindered economic activity in China, while the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes are slowing US growth sharply.
But the bad news may not stop there, IMF warned, saying that ‘risks to the outlook are overwhelmingly tilted to the downside,’ and if they materialize could push the global economy into one of the worst slumps in the past half-century.
Key among concerns is the fallout from the Ukraine war including the potential for Russia to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe, as well as a further spike in prices and the specter of famines due to the war’s chokehold on grain supplies.
In an scary warning, the WEO said “such shocks could, if sufficiently severe, cause a combination of recession accompanied by high and rising inflation (‘stagflation’).”
That would slam the brakes on growth, slowing it to 2.0 percent in 2023. The global growth rate has only been slower five times since 1970, the report said.