Coronavirus outbreak to lower China 2020 GDP growth to 5.6% - IMF

Author: Nurluqman Suratman

2020/02/24

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The coronavirus outbreak could lower China's economic growth to 5.6% this year and cut global growth by 0.1 percentage point, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva said over the weekend.

The growth projection for China is 0.4 percentage point lower than the previous IMF estimate made in January this year.

In 2019, the world’s second-biggest economy posted a 6.1% growth – its slowest in nearly 30 years.

“In our current baseline scenario, announced policies are implemented and China’s economy would return to normal in the second quarter. As a result, the impact on the world economy would be relatively minor and short-lived," Georgieva said in a statement.

Georgieva made the comments at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Saudi Arabia.

“But we are also looking at more dire scenarios where the spread of the virus continues for longer and more globally, and the growth consequences are more protracted," she added.

The IMF projected global growth to strengthen from 2.9% last year to 3.3% this year.

The novel coronavirus, which emerged late last year in the Chinese central city of Wuhan in Hubei province, causes respiratory illness. It has since spread to more than 30 countries and territories.

As of Monday morning, China has 77,262 cases of infection, with 2,595 deaths, according to official data.

Globally, the total number of confirmed cases stood at 79,360, with South Korea now having highest number of infections outside of China.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional 161 cases of the coronavirus early on Monday, bringing the total to 763 in the country.

In Europe, Italy has become the worst-hit with a total of 157 confirmed cases as of early Monday morning. Almost all of the cases were clustered in the north of the country, with about a dozen towns in lockdown, according to media reports.

In the Middle East, Iran has 43 cases of the coronavirus, with the death toll at eight – the highest recorded outside China.

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Photo: Novel coronavirus (Covid-19) patients recuperate in a temporary hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province.(Source: AP/Shutterstock)

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