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IMF: US Tariffs and Emerging Market Woes Lower Growth Outlook

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to meet with global finance officials in Indonesia this week during IMF and World Bank summits, though as of Monday he had no meetings scheduled with Chinese officials - as reported by Reuters. It left 2018 growth forecasts for the two countries unchanged at 2.9 percent for the USA and 6.6 percent for China.

The International Monetary Fund has downgraded SA's GDP expansion forecast for 2018, joining the World Bank and the SA Reserve Bank in lowering growth projections.

"Notwithstanding the present demand momentum, we have downgraded our 2019 United States growth forecast owing to the recently enacted tariffs on a wide range of imports from China and China's retaliation".

The global finance agency dropped its projection for world economic growth by two-tenths of a percentage point for both 2018 and 2019 to 3.7 percent, the first time it had trimmed its economic outlook in more than two years.

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Last year, China shipped goods worth $375 billion more to the USA than it took in from the United States, a figure Trump has often said he wants to curb sharply in an effort to promote American businesses. "As the government is expecting inflows from friendly countries, Saudi Arabia and China, and inflow of investment in the CPEC project, the country may achieve 5 percent growth rate", Dr. Bilal Ahmed, an economic analyst, said. The Trump administration has penalized almost half of all imports from China and has threatened more for the other half. The 0.2 percentage point downgrade to the 2019 growth forecast is attributable to the negative effect of recent tariff actions, assumed to be partially offset by policy stimulus, it said. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.4 per cent to 7,201.

A disorderly Brexit could also "adversely affect market sentiment", the International Monetary Fund warns.

"In the United States, momentum is still strong as fiscal stimulus continues to increase, but the forecast for 2019 has been revised down due to recently announced trade measures, including the tariffs imposed on $200 billion of USA imports from China", IMF report said.

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The IMF said that trade policy tensions and the imposition of import tariffs were taking a toll on commerce while emerging markets struggle with tighter financial conditions and capital outflows.

This is down from its July forecast of 3.9 percent growth for both years. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gave up 1.0 per cent to 6,041.10.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile items such as energy, will vary from country to country, it added.

"In several key economies, moreover, growth is being supported by policies that seem unsustainable over the long term", he said.

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It also said inflation in India is on the rise, estimated at 3.6 per cent in fiscal year 2017/18 and projected at 4.7 per cent in fiscal year 2018/19, compared with 4.5 per cent in fiscal year 2016/17, amid accelerating demand and rising fuel prices. "Policymakers must take a long-term perspective to address this malaise".

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