IMF predicts global growth to increase from 2.9 percent to 3.3 percent in 2020

A file photo showing the logo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the entrance of the Headquarters of the IMF, also known as building HQ2, in Washington, DC, USA. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

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The IMF predicts that the global growth is expected to increase modestly from 2.9 percent in 2019 to 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent in 2021.

Trade policy uncertainty, geopolitical tensions, and idiosyncratic stress in key emerging market economies continued to weigh on global economic activity—especially manufacturing and trade—in the second half of 2019. Intensifying social unrest in several countries posed new challenges, as did weather-related disasters—from hurricanes in the Caribbean, to drought and bushfires in Australia, floods in eastern Africa, and drought in southern Africa.

The projected recovery for global growth remains uncertain.

The slight downward revision of 0.1 percent for 2019 and 2020, and 0.2 percent for 2021, is owed largely to downward revisions for India. The projected recovery for global growth remains uncertain. It continues to rely on recoveries in stressed and underperforming emerging market economies, as growth in advanced economies stabilizes at close to current levels.

There are preliminary signs that the decline in manufacturing and trade may be bottoming out. This is partly from an improvement in the auto sector as disruptions from new emission standards start to fade. A US-China Phase I deal, if durable, is expected to reduce the cumulative negative impact of trade tensions on global GDP by end 2020—from 0.8 percent to 0.5 percent.

Overall, the risks to the global economy remain on the downside, despite positive news on trade and diminishing concerns of a no-deal Brexit. New trade tensions could emerge between the United States and the European Union, and US-China trade tensions could return. Such events alongside rising geopolitical risks and intensifying social unrest could reverse easy financing conditions, expose financial vulnerabilities, and severely disrupt growth.

Importantly, even if downside risks appear to be somewhat less salient than in 2019, policy space to respond to them is also more limited. It is therefore essential that policymakers do no harm and further reduce policy uncertainty, both domestic and international. This will help to revive investment, which remains weak.

Growth in the euro area is projected to pick up from 1.2 percent in 2019 to 1.3 percent in 2020 (a downward revision of 0.1 percentage point) and 1.4 percent in 2021. Projected improvements in external demand support the anticipated firming of growth. The October 2019 WEO projections for Franceand Italy remain unchanged, but the projections have been marked down for 2020 in Germany, where manufacturing activity remains in contractionary territory in late 2019, and for Spain due to carryover from stronger-than-expected deceleration in domestic demand and exports in 2019.

In the United Kingdom, growth is expected to stabilize at 1.4 percent in 2020 and firm up to 1.5 percent in 2021—unchanged from the October WEO. The growth forecast assumes an orderly exit from the European Union at the end of January followed by a gradual transition to a new economic relationship.

IMF

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