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IMF Chief Warns of Global Economic Crisis Due to COVID-19 

Kristalina Georgieva headshot, as International Monetary Fund Managing Director, graphic element on gray

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning the coronavirus pandemic is causing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and will take a massive response to ensure recovery.

In a video preview of next week’s 2020 Virtual Spring Meetings, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said even in the best case, the IMF expects only a "partial recovery" next year, assuming the virus fades later this year, allowing normal business to resume as the lockdowns imposed to contain its spread are lifted.

She cautioned, "it could get worse," and "there is tremendous uncertainty around the outlook" and the duration of the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, Georgieva said the IMF had predicted positive per capita income growth for 160 countries. Now they see more than 170 countries with negative income growth.

She said emerging markets have already lost about $100 billion in investments, more than three times the capital in the 2008 global financial crisis.

While nations have already taken steps worth a combined $8 trillion to stimulate their economies and support businesses, Georgieva urged governments to do more to provide "life lines" for businesses and households to "avoid a scarring of the economy that would make the recovery so much more difficult."

Tuesday, the IMF will release its World Economic Outlook with forecasts for its member nations for this year and next.

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