Too soon to tell economic impact of virus: IMF chief
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.