A weakening global expansion amid growing risks. That is how International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist Gita Gopinath summed up the state of the world economy in January. More recently, in a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington on April 2, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde warned that while there is no prospect of a recession, the global economy is in a "precarious" state and vulnerable to policy mistakes. This is a delicate moment that requires us to handle with care, she added.
The IMF's latest predictions, put out in January, depict a sobering picture. Except for Japan, all major economies - the United States, the euro zone and China - are forecast to weaken this year compared with 2018. In fact, the slowdown will extend to about 75 per cent of the global economy. Ms Lagarde cautioned that the January forecasts - already downgraded from last October's - will be cut even further in the IMF's forthcoming World Economic Outlook report, which will be released on the eve of the April 12-14 spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. The meetings give economic policymakers an opportunity to address some of the issues that lie behind the sombre outlook.