IMF Report Says New COVID Mutations Worrying

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The World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said global prospects remain highly uncertain one year into the pandemic.

According to the report, new virus mutations and the accumulating human toll raise concerns, even as growing vaccine coverage lifts sentiment.

Economic recoveries are diverging across countries and sectors, reflecting variation in pandemic-induced disruptions and the extent of policy support.

The outlook depends not just on the outcome of the battle between the virus and vaccines—it also hinges on how effectively economic policies deployed under high uncertainty can limit lasting damage from this unprecedented crisis, the report said.

“Global growth is projected at 6 percent in 2021, moderating to 4.4 percent in 2022. The projections for 2021 and 2022 are stronger than in the October 2020 WEO.

“The upward revision reflects additional fiscal support in a few large economies, the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of 2021, and continued adaptation of economic activity to subdued mobility.

“High uncertainty surrounds this outlook, related to the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support to provide a bridge to vaccine-powered normalization, and the evolution of financial conditions,” the report said.

It added “One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the accumulating human toll continues to raise concerns, even as growing vaccine coverage lifts sentiment. High uncertainty surrounds the global economic outlook, primarily related to the path of the pandemic.

“The contraction of activity in 2020 was unprecedented in living memory in its speed and synchronized nature.

“But it could have been a lot worse. Although difficult to pin down precisely, IMF staff estimates suggest that the contraction could have been three times as large if not for extraordinary policy support.

“Much remains to be done to beat back the pandemic and avoid divergence in income per capita across economies and persistent increases in inequality within countries.”