Thursday, 14 November, 2019

International Monetary Fund warns of Asia's darkening growth outlook as trade war bites

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA
Travis Berry | 20 October, 2019, 00:07

She said the global body had understood how important Nigeria is to the economy of Africa, adding that this was why it had consistently advised the need for a major improvement in the fiscal space particularly in relation to revenue, economic diversification and corruption.

All the meetings, which are scheduled to conclude Saturday, are expected to be dominated by debate over the best way to cool rising trade tensions, which have seen the world's two biggest economies, the United States and China, impose punitive tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's exports.

"Trade tensions are now taking a toll on business confidence and investment", she said in her opening address to the finance officials.

"Our hope is to move from a trade truce to a trade peace", she told reporters.

Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist who had held the No. 2 job at the World Bank, was tapped last month to take over at the International Monetary Fund, succeeding Christine Lagarde.

The IMF's managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, cited the fallout from a variety of factors: the U.S.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said US trade policies, which have included tariffs on billions of dollars of imports from China and other nations, are meant to improve the rules for global trade.

World Bank President David Malpass said the slowdown in global growth was hurting efforts to help the 700 million people around the globe mired in extreme poverty, especially in nations trying to cope with a flood of refugees from regional conflicts. So far those efforts have made little headway.

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But the current disputes have created uncertainty and growth in worldwide commerce has come to a virtual standstill, Georgieva said, noting that problems go beyond bilateral disagreements and extend to outdated trade rules.

In his first comments since talks with U.S. president Donald Trump last week, China's top trade negotiator Liu He said Saturday the countries have "made substantial progress in many aspects and laid an important foundation for a phase one agreement". That process, completed in 2010, needed approval of the U.S. Congress, and it was not closed out till early 2016. -China trade agreement announced last week should lessen the damage slightly, but solid global growth would not return until the two countries resolved their differences.

"Our hope is to move from a trade truce to a trade peace", she told reporters.

The Washington-based lender, founded in the wake of World War II, has traditionally been controlled by the United States and western European countries.

Trump announced a "substantial" deal on October 11 after negotiations with Liu's delegation, which he said included a promise to increase purchases of United States farm products and protections for intellectual property.

"Even if growth picks up in 2020", Georgieva said in her speech last week, "the current rifts could lead to changes that last a generation", such as "broken supply chains" and "siloed trade sectors".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday that the US and Chinese negotiators were working to hammer out details on this "phase one" agreement with a goal of having a deal that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping can sign at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in mid-November.

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