Global slowdown taking higher toll on India: IMF

Washington: The largest emerging market economies like India are experiencing an even "more pronounced" effect of the global downturn, new IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva has said, warning that the global economy is witnessing "synchronized slowdown" which will result in slower growth for 90 percent of the world this year.

The Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) pointed out that the widespread deceleration means that growth this year will fall to its lowest rate since the beginning of the decade.

She said the World Economic Outlook to be released next week will show downward revisions for 2019 and 2020. "In 2019, we expect slower growth in nearly 90 percent of the world. The global economy is now in a synchronized slowdown," Georgieva said on Tuesday in her curtain raiser speech for the IMF and World Bank's annual meeting here next week.

The headline numbers reflect a complex situation, she said. Despite this overall deceleration, close to 40 emerging market and developing economies are forecast to have real GDP growth rates above 5 per cent — including 19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the IMF chief said. In the United States and Germany, unemployment is at historic lows. Yet across advanced economies, including in the US, Japan and especially the euro area, there is a softening of economic activity, she said.

"In some of the largest emerging market economies, such as India and Brazil, the slowdown is even more pronounced this year. In China, growth is gradually coming down from the rapid pace it saw for many years," Georgieva said.

The precarious outlook presents challenges for countries already facing difficulties — including some of the Fund's programme countries, she noted. The Reserve Bank of India on Friday lowered India's GDP growth estimate for the year to 6.1 per cent from the earlier figure of 6.9 per cent due to the on-going period of economic slowdown.

Georgieva called for using monetary policy wisely and enhancing financial stability. "Now is the time for countries with room in their budgets to deploy — or get ready to deploy — fiscal firepower.

In fact, low interest rates may give some policymakers additional money to spend," she said. Referring to a new IMF research, which shows how structural reforms can raise productivity and generate enormous economic gains, she said these changes are the key to achieving higher growth over the medium and long-term.

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