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IMF issues fresh warning, says trade war risks weighing on global economy

While the US trade war with China has cooled with a recent truce and renewed talks, the world's second-largest economy has slowed amid President Donald Trump's tariffs

Jeff Kearns | Bloomberg  |  Washington 

Gita Gopinath, IMF chief economist, gopinath, CG
Gita Gopinath

The Monetary Fund (IMF) said more work is needed to further reduce global trade imbalances amid increasing tensions, while issuing a fresh warning that such conflicts are weighing on the global

“It is imperative that all countries avoid policies that distort trade,” the said in its annual External Sector Report released Wednesday in Washington. “Against a backdrop of escalating trade tensions, greater urgency is needed in tackling persistent excess imbalances.”

The report comes as the Washington-based fund confronts a surge in protectionism around the world that’s seen dragging on global growth, with output slowing in major economies from China to Europe and Mexico. leadership also is in flux with Managing Director Christine Lagarde set to succeed Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank.

While the US trade war with China has cooled with a recent truce and renewed talks, the world’s second-largest has slowed amid President Donald Trump’s tariffs. China’s government said this week that the eased to the weakest pace since quarterly data began in 1992, highlighting effects of the ongoing trade dispute with the US.

“With prolonged trade uncertainty, it’s weighing on business sentiment everywhere in the world, which then has implications for global demand,” Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said at a press conference Wednesday. “We welcome the trade truce between the US and China that came toward the end of June at the G-20 meetings, and we would hope that the world would continue to work cooperatively to not only not trigger these trade tensions but also to address the issues with the multilateral trading system.”

First Published: Thu, July 18 2019. 03:18 IST