IMF Chief Christean Lagarde in her message in the IMF Annual Report 2018 says that countries should promote an open and rule basis multilateral trading system, and should strive to make new technologies work for all – boosting rather than undermining inclusive growth and financial stability.
According to her, the growth momentum of the global economy is under pressure from a slow erosion / weakening of trust in institution due to, a) the lingering effects of the global financial crisis. b) perception that the rewards of economic growth and globalization are not being shared fairly and equitably. c) anxiety over future of jobs and economic opportunity. d) weak governance frameworks that often facilitate corruption. She further emphasizes that population ageing and over-funding of pension schemes are holding back economic momentum. Income disparities are widening and if unaddressed the climate change is likely to severely disrupt economic wellbeing in the decades ahead.
Lagarde urged that European Union (EU) leaders need to redouble their efforts to lift living standards across the continent as populist movements question the merits of integration. The poorer southern countries in the EU have not caught up with their richer northern peers – a gap that has worsened since the global financial crisis. Between 2008 and 2017, the average annual growth in real income per person, was negative in the five southern members of the euro zone, hit hardest by the crisis.
She urged EU countries to reform their labor markets so that firms have greater flexibility in hiring and firing workers and their business climate becoming more welcoming to investment. These developments it is hoped, would increase spending on research and development.
Lagarde’s remarks come amid a turbulent debate over Britain’s exit from the EU, as well as amidst signs of spluttering growth in the world’s biggest economic bloc. The IMF partly blamed softening demand across Europe for having to cut its 2019 forecast for global growth, for the second time in three months.
South Asia to remain fastest growing region in world
The World Bank Global Economic Prospects Report released on 05th February 2019, expects South Asian regional growth to accelerate to 7.1 percent in 2019, under pinned by strengthening investment and robust consumption. India is forecast to grow by 7.3 percent as consumption remains robust and investment growth continues. Bangladesh is expected to grow by 7.0 percent supported by strong construction and infrastructure investments. Nepal growth forecast to moderate to 5.9 percent. Sri Lanka is anticipated to grow by 4.0 percent supported by domestic demand and infrastructure projects. Pakistan is projected to decelerate by 3.3 percent with financial conditions tightening.