Global Economic Forecasts Are Dropping Fast

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1 **The International Monetary Fund’s new World Economic Outlook expects growth to slow to 3.6 percent this year. The group is one of many to slash their forecasts recently.** WASHINGTON — The world economy has entered a period of intense uncertainty as a capricious pandemic and the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine are fueling inflation and weighing on an already fragile global recovery. These colliding challenges are confronting policymakers and central bankers in the United States and Europe as they seek to bring down inflation without slowing growth so much that they tip their economies into recession. In the last week, international organizations and think tanks have begun slashing their forecasts for growth and trade as they assess the war’s disruptions to global energy, food and commodity supplies, as well as China’s sweeping lockdowns to contain a renewed coronavirus outbreak. The pall over the world economy was underscored on Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund, which said in its World Economic Outlook that global output was expected to slow this year to 3.6 percent, from 6.1 percent in 2021. That is a downgrade from a January forecast of 4.4 percent growth this year. “Global economic prospects have been severely set back, largely because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the I.M.F.’s chief economist, wrote in a blog post accompanying the report. “This crisis unfolds even as the global economy has not yet fully recovered from the pandemic.” The economic concerns are a central topic for policymakers convening in Washington this week for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Mr. Gourinchas said the war was slowing growth and spurring inflation, which he described as a “clear and present danger” for many countries. He added that disruptions to Russian supplies of oil, gas and metals, along with Ukrainian exports of wheat and corn, will ripple through commodities markets and across the global economy “like seismic waves.” But he acknowledged that the trajectory of the global economy would depend on how the war proceeded and the ultimate breadth of the sanctions that the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia imposed on Russia.