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IMF warns coronavirus will retard world economic growth

The fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak will likely lower China’s economic growth this year to 5.6%, down 0.4 percentage points from its January outlook, and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth, the IMF said on Saturday.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva presented the outlook to central bankers and finance ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies gathered in Riyadh, but said the IMF continued to look at more dire scenarios.

China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases of the coronavirus on Saturday but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries.

“In our current baseline scenario, announced policies are implemented and China’s economy would return to normal in the second quarter. As a result, the impact on the world economy would be relatively minor and short-lived,” Georgieva said.

“But we are also looking at more dire scenarios where the spread of the virus continues for longer and more globally, and the growth consequences are more protracted.”

The latest draft communique from the G20 meeting gives less prominence to the outbreak of the coronavirus as a growth risk, saying only that the G20 would “… enhance global risk monitoring, including the recent outbreak of COVID-19,” the medical acronym for the coronavirus.

The coronavirus outbreak may curb demand for oil in China, which has reported more than 2,000 deaths, and other Asian countries, further depressing oil prices, industry body the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said on Friday.

Georgieva said the IMF was ready to provide grants for debt relief to its poorest and most vulnerable members.

Source: Reuters

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