IMF Cuts Global Growth in 2021 amid Weak Momentum and Uncertainty

IMF lowered global economic growth to 5.9% from the previous projection of 6.0%, stating that global recovery continues, but the momentum has weakened and uncertainty has increased.

In the World Economic Outlook dated October 12, 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global GDP projection in 2021 by 0.1 percentage point to 5.9%.


IMF stated that the global economic recovery is continuing, even as the pandemic resurges. The fault lines opened up by COVID-19 are looking more persistent—near-term divergences are expected to leave lasting imprints on medium-term performance. Vaccine access and early policy support are the principal drivers of the gaps.


The global economy is projected to grow 5.9 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, 0.1 percentage point lower for 2021 than in the July forecast. The downward revision for 2021 reflects a downgrade for advanced economies—in part due to supply disruptions—and for low-income developing countries, largely due to worsening pandemic dynamics. This is partially offset by stronger near-term prospects among some commodity-exporting emerging markets and developing economies. Rapid spread of Delta and the threat of new variants have increased uncertainty about how quickly the pandemic can be overcome. Policy choices have become more difficult, with limited room to maneuver.


Despite recent increases in headline inflation in both advanced and emerging market economies, long-term inflation expectations remain anchored. Looking ahead, headline inflation is projected to peak in the final months of 2021 but is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2022 for most economies. But given the recovery’s uncharted nature, considerable uncertainty remains, and inflation could exceed forecasts for a variety of reasons. Clear communication, combined with appropriate monetary and fiscal policies, can help prevent “inflation scares” from unhinging inflation expectations.

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