According to its latest World Economic Outlook, published on Tuesday, the organization now expects global gross domestic product to grow 4.4% this year, down from its October 2021 forecast of 4.9%.
“The global economy enters 2022 in a weaker position than previously expected,” the report finds, citing the rapid spread of Omicron, supply chain disruptions and high inflation as reasons for the downgrade.
The world’s largest economies, the U.S. and China, play a large role in the global growth markdown, as the IMF lowered its outlook for both countries significantly.
The falling through of Biden’s Build Back Better plan as well as the expected tightening of monetary policy contributed to a 1.2 percentage-point cut of U.S. GDP growth forecast, while disruptions caused by China’s zero-tolerance Covid policy resulted in a 0.8 percentage-point downgrade of the country’s growth prospects.
Elevated inflation in many countries is another major contributor to the more cautious outlook, as high energy prices and supply chain disruptions continue to put upward pressure on prices in 2022.
Looking ahead, the IMF notes that “risks to the global baseline are tilted to the downside,” meaning that the current growth forecast could well see another downward correction in light of possible new Covid-19, tighter monetary policy and an abundance of other global risks.
In closing, the IMF once again stresses the importance of equitable access to vaccines in the fight against Covid-19, as a truly global approach is “essential to reduce the risk of further dangerous COVID-19 variants.”