The world economy will shrink by 4.9% because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday, a nearly 60 percent jump from its prediction only two months ago.
The IMF said the recovery also will be sluggish, according to The Washington Post.
All of the major economies will be affected, including the European Union, which will shrink by 10%, the United States, which will contract by 8%, and Japan, which will fare relatively well with only a 5.8% decline.
China, it said, will manage a 1% gain, its worst performance in decades.
“Maybe we can say the world has bottomed out, for now, and we’re in a recovery phase,” IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said. “But still, the strength of the recovery is highly uncertain because there is no solution yet to the health crisis.”
She predicted that the coronavirus will cost the global economy $12.5 billion in output by the end of 2021.
The IMF blamed government restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus, including “social distancing” and new hygiene and safety rules which have bludgeoned productivity.
It said government stimulus plans, including $11 trillion in spending and tax cuts, have kept the impact from being worse.
“Today’s IMF report is a warning to the world about what will happen if policymakers take their foot off the gas,” said John Lipsky, a former IMF senior adviser who is now with the Atlantic Council. “The uncertain spread of the virus, risk of rising trade tensions and debt vulnerabilities in emerging economies all lead to the same conclusion – we have not done enough.”