“We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” the IMF’s chief economist, Gita Gopinath, said in the latest World Economic Outlook. She added that the revision was driven by better-than-expected growth in advanced economies and China during the second quarter of the year and signs of a more rapid recovery in the third quarter.
However, the outlook warned that the coronavirus crisis is far from over. The IMF projected “only limited progress” going forward and cut its gross domestic product growth expectations for next year to 5.2%, from an estimate of 5.4% made in June.
Emerging market and developing economies are seen contracting by 3.3% this year, but in places like India, GDP is seen falling by more than 10%. Meanwhile, the United States economy is set to fall by 4.3% this year, but the economic contractions in the U.K., France, Italy and Spain are around 10%.
The IMF has advised governments to keep some degree of accommodative policies to prevent a wider gap in income distribution, despite growing levels of public debt. National debt in advanced economies is set to reach 125% of GDP by the end of 2021 and to rise to about 65% of GDP in emerging markets during the same period. However, the fund is not particularly worried about soaring debt for now as interest rates are low and the economic rebound in 2021 should help in repaying some of the new debt.