International Monetary Fund cuts growth outlook for Canada in 2019

The seal of the International Monetary Fund is seen outside of the headquarters building in Washington

The 198 report put together by the research department of the IMF looks at the global economy, opportunities, threats as well as reviewing the economics 189 members of the Fund.It is based on historical data and projection based on information picked up by IMF country desk offices in the contest of their mission to the member countries.

"With improvements expected in the second half of 2019, global economic growth in 2020 is projected to return to 3.6 percent".

"Although a 3.3 per cent global expansion is still reasonable, the outlook for many countries is very challenging, with considerable uncertainties in the short term, especially as advanced economy growth rates converge toward their modest long-term potential", the report read.

In its April 2019 World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released Tuesday evening Manila time, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund cut its growth projection for this year from 6.6 percent previously, even as it projected growth next year at a slightly faster 6.6 percent.

Cuts 2020 China forecast to 6.1% from 6.3%.

The IMF published the latest edition of its World Economic Outlook on Tuesday. Growth in systemic economies such as the euro area and China may surprise on the downside, and the risks surrounding Brexit remain heightened.

It blamed the slowdown on the trade spat and tariff hikes between the USA and China, besides "a decline in business confidence, a tightening of financial conditions, and higher policy uncertainty across many economies".

And while the recent signs that officials in Washington and Beijing are engineering a trade deal have calmed some of the nerves in financial markets, the solution is by no means certain.

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The outlook for Germany, one of the main drivers of European growth, suffered from weaker demand for its exports, softer consumer spending and new emissions standards that have depressed auto sales. This recovery is precarious and predicated on a rebound in emerging market and developing economies, where growth is projected to increase from 4.4 percent in 2019 to 4.8 percent in 2020.

"Iran; and civil tensions and conflict across several other economies, including Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, where recovery from the collapse associated with the war is now expected to be slower than previously anticipated", the report stated.

The challenge to policymakers is they have little ammunition with which to counteract a slowdown since interest rates are low and most central banks already have stopped raising or started cutting rates, while debt levels are high, crimping the ability to provide fiscal stimulus.

The fund has also warned of "more subdued" momentum next year. There was also weakened spending on consumer durables and automobiles, export orders fell as a result of the US-China trade actions, and growth fell to 6.0% in the second half of 2018, from 6.8% in the first half. But inflation pressures remained muted despite the new duties, which raised the costs of hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of imports. "Growth in advanced economies will slow slightly in 2020, despite a partial recovery in the euro area, as the impact of USA fiscal stimulus fades and growth tends toward the modest potential for the group, given aging trends and low productivity growth".

RBI effected two back-to-back rate cuts by 25bps each to boost growth.

The IMF cut its 2019 growth forecasts for Canada and Latin America as well as for the Middle East and North African countries.

"The downward revision in the growth of 0.2 percentage points for 2019 from the January projection is also broad-based".

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