International Monetary Fund lowers SA's economic growth forecasts

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Pakistan has not formally approached the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance despite its economic woes, the IMF's chief economist said on Tuesday.

In the World Economic Outlook report released in July, the Bretton Wood institution had projected that Nigeria's economy would grow by 2.1 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent in 2019.

The IMF said the balance of risks was now tilted to the downside, with a higher likelihood that financial conditions will tighten further as interest rates normalize, hurting emerging markets further at a time when USA -led demand growth will start to slow as some tax cuts expire.

China has responded in kind with its own barrage of levies, rattling nerves especially among other Asian economies and already vulnerable countries like Argentina, Turkey and Brazil.

The IMF-World Bank meeting is an annual summit to discuss global financial and economic issues, including global economic outlook, poverty eradication, and aid effectiveness. In addition, regulatory duties on non-essential imports have had to be introduced to curb the unnecessary growth in imports. "Risks to global growth skew to the downside in a context of elevated policy uncertainty".

Rising trade tensions are a key challenge to the world economy as "protectionist rhetoric increasingly turned into action".

President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on US$250 billion in Chinese goods this year, and Beijing has retaliated with levies US$110 billion of American products.

The increase in dollar has led to uncertainty in the market.

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And if it continues, the "escalation of trade tensions to an intensity that carries systemic risk is a distinct possibility without policy cooperation". The contract lost 0.1 percent to settle at $74.29 per barrel in NY.

"Growth is now much more uneven" than six months ago, he told reporters.

The US growth forecast for 2019 is down from 2.7% to 2.5%.

The IMF predicted United Kingdom growth to would be 1.4% in 2018, rising to 1.5% in 2019, while the eurozone 2018 growth forecast was cut to 2.0% from 2.2%. It urged the government to relax controls on its currency and to do more to help the poor to help lay the foundations for sustainable growth.

The fund also slightly lowered its forecast for Japan's economy to 1.1 per cent growth in 2018, down 0.1 of a percentage point from an April estimate, but maintained a prediction for a 0.9 per cent Japanese expansion in 2019.

Citing the U.S. tariffs on China and Beijing's retaliatory measures, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to impose global automobile and parts tariffs, International Monetary Fund chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said he regards "further disruption in trade policies" as major near-term downside risks.

The Federal Reserve, the USA central bank, has raised short-term US rates three times this year as the American economy gains strength more than nine years after the end of the Great Recession.

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