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IMF Predicts Protracted Downturn, Extreme Poverty

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IMF logo | Image by Reuters

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that 2023 will feel like a recession for much of the world.

The IMF now anticipates the global economic growth rate will slow to 2.7% next year, down from July estimates of 2.9% growth. The group still expects 2022 to finish with 3.2% growth overall, a substantial decrease from the 6% experienced last year.

Outside of the global financial crisis and the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IMF says predictions for next year are “the weakest growth profile since 2001.”

According to the group’s World Economic Outlook report published earlier this week, “The worst is yet to come, and for many people, 2023 will feel like a recession.” The United Nations and World Bank have raised similar warnings.

Over one-third of the world’s economy is expected to experience two consecutive quarters of negative growth, criteria popularly used to define a recession. While the United States is not likely to experience negative growth, the economy will still likely slow next year.

“Next year is going to feel painful,” according to the IMF’s chief economist, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas. “There’s going to be a lot of slowdown and economic pain.”

The IMF detailed three major events impacting their growth predictions: ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe, skyrocketing inflation, and China’s economic slowdown. Combined, according to the group’s report, the events have created a “volatile” economic environment.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in particular, continues to “powerfully destabilize the global economy,” according to the international organization.

Energy prices have surged over the past year. Since 2021, natural gas prices have more than quadrupled. Russia exports less than 20% of the total natural gas it exported last year.

Food prices have also experienced a steep rise. Wheat futures jumped 7.9% on Monday following Russia’s heightened bombing campaign in Ukraine, which is often referred to as the bread basket of Europe.

The IMF predicts inflation will peak at 8.8% this year before lowering to 6.5% in 2023 and 4.1% in 2024. Despite that encouraging trend, interest rates will “remain elevated for longer than previously expected.”

Regarding China, the international organization noted the country’s zero-COVID policy had slowed its economy. If lockdowns were not enough, Beijing continues to wrestle with a deteriorating property market that makes up roughly 20% of its entire economy.

The World Bank’s managing director of operations, Axel Van Trotsenburg, was explicit at a recent annual meeting between his group and the IMF. “We see extreme poverty again increasing,” he said.

“The number of people living on $7 … That’s 47% of the world population [who are living] in poverty. So this is very clear; people are hurting.

As the world’s economy braces for a challenging winter, the IMF was clear that the coming downturn will persist beyond the holiday season.

The organization warned, “The geopolitical re-alignment of energy supplies in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine is broad and permanent.”

Their prediction: “Winter 2022 will be challenging for Europe, but winter 2023 will likely be worse.”

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retta
retta
1 month ago

Were doomed