Trade rows cloud global economy as officials fret over slowdown:The Asahi Shimbun

15 April, 2019, 21:28 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Global growth skewed to downside: IMFC

Risks include "trade tensions, policy uncertainty, geopolitical risks, and a sudden sharp tightening of financial conditions against a backdrop of limited policy space, historically high debt levels, and heightened financial vulnerabilities", the committee said.

The statement from the International Monetary and Financial Committee, or IMFC, was released at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.

The sober mood among finance leaders at the meetings this week was a stark contrast to the optimism that characterized the gathering one year ago when officials were heralding a rare period of robust and synchronized growth.

The global economy is very likely to pull out of a brief expansion slump later this season - with a bit of help from the world's central banks and also from USA and Chinese trade negotiators.

The Managing Director, IMF Christine Lagarde made this call in response to questions on the role expected of central banks of countries in view of the anticipated slower global economic growth, during a press briefing titled "Global outlook and policy priorities" at the just concluded 2019 World Bank/IMF Meeting in Washington DC, USA.

"Despite the expected improvement in global economic growth, if economic slowdowns in major economies feed into other economies, the prospects for growth might deteriorate, bringing uncertainty across the entire global economy", Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said in his statement to the International Monetary Fund committee.

"To protect the expansion, we will continue to mitigate risks, enhance resilience, and, if necessary, act promptly to shore up growth for the benefit of all", officials said.

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There is some cause for optimism.

"Central bank decisions need to remain well communicated and data-dependent", it said.

In Europe, numerous global factors weighing on growth appear to be waning, keeping alive expectations for a recovery in the second half of the year, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said. They are battling over US allegations that China deploys predatory tactics - including cybertheft and forcing foreign firms to hand over trade secrets - in a sharp-elbowed effort to challenge American technological dominance.

Earlier, China took a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policies at the center of the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies, including tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

The World Bank, a major source of development lending, needs to make more progress in shifting its loans away from fast-growing economies such as China and devoting more support to the world's poorest nations, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday. The Fund warned that if China and the USA don't strike an agreement, the entire global economy could suffer the consequences of a subsequent trade standoff.

"I don't see an alternative to a multilateral work", she said, noting that many important issues, such as trade, climate change, cyber security and global taxation, all require that countries cooperate and come up with joint solutions.

But Chen Yulu, deputy governor of People's Bank of China, struck a less positive stance in his remarks to the International Monetary Fund policy committee, contending that rising trade protectionism in the form of punitive tariffs had already begun to disrupt global supply changes.

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