Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made the following remarks at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the economic impact of coronavirus.
“While the impact of the epidemic continues to unfold, the WHO’s assessment is that with strong and co-ordinated measures, the spread of the virus in China and globally can yet be contained and the human tragedy arrested. We are still learning about how this complex virus spreads and the uncertainties are too great to permit reliable forecasting. Many scenarios can play out, depending on how quickly the virus is contained and how fast the Chinese and other affected economies return to normal.
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.
In this scenario, 2020 growth for China would be 5.6 percent. This is 0.4 percentage points lower than the January WEO Update. Global growth would be about 0.1 percentage points lower.
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.
Global co-operation is essential to the containment of the COVID-19 and its economic impact, particularly if the outbreak turns out to be more persistent and widespread. To be adequately prepared, now is the time to recognise the potential risk for fragile states and countries with weak health care systems.
The IMF stands ready to help, including through our Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust that can provide grants for debt relief to our poorest and most vulnerable members.”