IMF chief warns of risks from a prolonged China slowdown

The International Monetary Fund on April 19 cut its growth forecast for China this year to 4.4 per cent. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A prolonged slowdown in China would have substantial global spillovers, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday (April 21), but added that Beijing has room to adjust policy to provide support.

The IMF on Tuesday cut its growth forecast for China this year to 4.4 per cent, well below Beijing's target of around 5.5 per cent, on the risks of widespread Covid-19 lockdowns and supply chain disruptions.

In a video speech to the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Ms Georgieva said China's actions to counter its economic slowdown are vital for the global recovery.

"Fortunately, China has policy space to provide macroeconomic policy support, including shifting the focus towards vulnerable households to strengthen consumption, which can also help support China's climate goals by steering economic activity to lower-carbon sectors," Ms Georgieva added.

"Stronger policy efforts in the property sector can also help secure a balanced recovery."

At the same venue, China's President Xi Jinping said China's economy is resilient and that its long-term trend had not changed.

In the light of growing headwinds, foreign brokerages have also been slashing gross domestic product forecasts for China, after weakness in March activity data raised outlook risks as the lockdown in the mega city of Shanghai drags on.

Barclays on Tuesday cut their already below-consensus forecast to 4.3 per cent, from 4.5 per cent previously, while Bank of America downgraded its forecast for this year to 4.2 per cent, from 4.8 per cent before.

Nomura on Thursday revised their forecast to 3.9 per cent this year, from 4.3 per cent previously, and second-quarter growth is expected to expand by a meagre 1.8 per cent, according to their baseline estimates.

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