Global growth projected at −4.4 percent in 2020: IMF

According to the World Economic Outlook (WEO), October 2020, released by the International Monetary Fund, global growth is projected at −4.4 percent in 2020, a less severe contraction than forecast in the June 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update. The revision reflects better- than-anticipated second quarter GDP outturns, mostly in advanced economies, where activity began to improve sooner than expected after lockdowns were scaled back in May and June, as well as indicators of a stronger recovery in the third quarter. Global growth is projected at 5.2 percent in 2021, a little lower than in the June 2020 WEO Update. 

The report states that after the rebound in 2021, global growth is expected to gradually slow to about 3.5 percent into the medium term. “This implies only limited progress toward catching up to the path of economic activity for 2020–25 projected before the pandemic for both advanced and emerging market and developing economies”. 

Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist writes in the forward: “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June fore-cast. The revision is driven by second quarter GDP outturns in large advanced economies, which were not as negative as we had projected; China’s return to growth, which was stronger than expected; and signs of a more rapid recovery in the third quarter. Outturns would have been much weaker if it weren’t for sizable, swift, and unprecedented fiscal, monetary, and regulatory responses that maintained disposable income for households, protected cash flow for firms, and supported credit provision. Collectively these actions have so far prevented a recurrence of the financial catastrophe of 2008-09.  

While the global economy is coming back, the ascent will likely be long, uneven, and uncertain. Indeed, compared to our forecast in June, prospects have worsened significantly in some emerging market and developing economies where infections are rising rapidly. Consequently, emerging market and developing economies, excluding China, are projected to incur a greater loss of output over 2020-21 relative to the pre-pandemic projected path when compared to advanced economies. These uneven recoveries “significantly worsen the prospects for global convergence in income levels”. 

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