The pandemic sweeping the world will turn global economic growth “sharply negative” in 2020, triggering the worst fallout since the 1930s Great Depression, with only a partial recovery seen in 2021, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva painted a far bleaker picture of the social and economic impact of the new coronavirus than even a few weeks ago, noting governments had already undertaken fiscal stimulus measures of $8 trillion, but more would likely be needed.
She said the crisis would hit emerging markets and developing countries hardest of all, which would then need hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid.
“Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020,” she said on Thursday in remarks prepared for delivery ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings.
“Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”
If the pandemic faded in the second half of the year, the IMF expected a partial recovery in 2021, Georgieva said, but she warned the situation could also get worse.
“I stress there is tremendous uncertainty about the outlook: it could get worse depending on many variable factors, including the duration of the pandemic,” she said. [Reuters]