Too soon to tell economic im­pact of virus: IMF chief

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Wash­ing­ton, US – It is still too soon to gauge the economic im­pact of the virus out­break on China’s econ­omy, be­yond the first three months of the year, In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Ge­orgieva said.

“It would be ir­re­spon­si­ble to of­fer any spec­u­la­tions around what may hap­pen,” Ge­orgieva said at a fo­rum.

She cited the ex­pe­ri­ence of the SARS epi­demic in 200203, which slowed growth in the short term, but then the econ­omy righted it­self.

How­ever, that epi­demic oc­curred at a time when the Chi­nese econ­omy was boom­ing. The out­break comes as au­thor­i­ties are man­ag­ing a slow­down amid the bat­ter­ing from the trade con­flict with the US. “We have travel, tourism, man­u­fac­tur­ing in China, and a lit­tle bit be­yond China in Asia be­ing im­pacted,” Ge­orgieva said, adding that for this quar­ter, very likely there would be some neg­a­tive im­pact.

But be­yond that ‘ we just ob­serve and as­sess’.

The IMF on Jan­uary 20 pro­jected the global econ­omy would grow by 3.3 per cent in 2020, above the 2.9 per cent level last year, due in part to an eas­ing in US-China trade ten­sions.

Last week, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told re­porters the fund is mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion ‘very closely,’ and read­ing ‘the economic in­di­ca­tors on a real-time ba­sis’.

“If global sup­ply chains were sys­tem­at­i­cally af­fected or global fi­nan­cial mar­kets were sig­nif­i­cantly im­pacted by in­creas­ing un­cer­tainty, then ob­vi­ously the im­pact would be greater,” Rice said, adding that the ef­fects would be more se­vere if the ail­ment spreads to other parts of Asia from China.

Kristalina Ge­orgieva

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