Wed | May 27, 2020

IMF head sees worst economic downturn since Great Depression

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 4:55 PM
In this February 14, 2020 file photo, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, attends a session on the first day of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic will push the global economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression, with the world’s poorest countries suffering the most, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.

“We anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Thursday in remarks previewing next week’s virtual meetings of the 189-nation IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.

She said that the IMF will release an updated world economic forecast on Tuesday that will show just how quickly the coronavirus outbreak has turned what had been expected to be a solid year of growth into a deep downturn.

Just three months ago, the IMF was forecasting that 160 nations would enjoy positive income growth on a per capita basis. Now the expectation is that over 170 nations will have negative per capita income growth this year.

Emerging markets and low-income nations across Africa, Latin America and much of Asia are at high risk, she said.

“With weak health systems to begin with, many face the dreadful challenge of fighting the virus in densely populated cities and poverty-stricken slums, where social distancing is hardly an option,” Georgieva said.

Georgieva said there was no question that 2020 will be an “exceptionally difficult” year.

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