IMF, World Bank meet amid growing global economic fears
Bali — Finance ministers and central bankers worldwide will be among 32,000 delegates in earthquake-stricken Indonesia for the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank, which is expected to deal with rising protectionism, vulnerable emerging markets and record debt levels.
The gathering will be held from Tuesday to Sunday at the resort island of Bali, about 1,125km from Palu, the city on Sulawesi wracked by an earthquake and tsunami on September 28, leaving more than 1,500 dead and 1,000 missing.
But the meeting’s focus is averting economic disasters. US President Donald Trump’s trade war against China, along with disputes with allies such as the EU, Mexico and Canada, is a key source of concern.
Like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which lowered its economic growth forecast for the world economy to 3.7% for 2018, IMF chief Christine Lagarde signalled the fund would cut the outlook, which in July stood at 3.9%.
After sounding the alarm in recent years about threats to the global economy, Lagarde said last week "some of those risks have begun to materialise" and "there are signs that global growth has plateaued". The rise in trade barriers was slowing trade and dampening investment and manufacturing as uncertainty increased, she said.
Argentina and Turkey have been hit by headwinds, seeing their currencies collapse and forcing Buenos Aires to go to the IMF for help.
Economist Monica de Bolle of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said Brazil was likely to see market turbulence in 2019 and SA was also vulnerable. "This is not going to end well," she said of the emerging-market outlook.