The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that the outlook for the global economy is “somewhat less dire” as advanced economies and China have rebounded quicker than expected from coronavirus lockdowns.
The IMF forecasts a 2020 global contraction of 4.4 percent in its latest World Economic Outlook, an improvement over a 5.2 percent contraction predicted in June, when pandemic-related business closures reached their peak.
The International Monetary Fund expects the global economy to return to growth of 5.2 percent in 2021, but the rebound will be slightly weaker than forecast in June, partly due to the extreme difficulties for many emerging markets and a slowdown in the reopening of economies due to the continued spread of the virus.
Gita Gopinath, the IMF's Chief Economist, said some $12 trillion in fiscal support and unprecedented monetary easing from governments and central banks had helped to limit the damage from the pandemic and support must be maintained.
Even then, ending the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s depends on conquering the virus, she said in a news conference.
"The virus is resurging with localized lockdowns being reinstituted," Gopinath said.
"Now, if this worsens and prospects for treatments and vaccines deteriorate, the toll on economic activity would be severe and likely amplified by severe financial market turmoil."
She warned of a divergent path between wealthier countries and China, which are recovering more quickly, whereas emerging markets and poorer countries "are headed towards worse futures than advanced economies".