The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) could have rippling effects on the world economy if it is not contained soon, a top official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Sunday.
“It is going to affect the global value chains. It is already affecting tourism and travel,” said Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director.
Georgieva was in Dubai on Sunday to attend a forum on women. The IMF official hinted that the forecast on global economic growth could be revised and reduced by a few percentage points due to the economic impact of the virus.
“China today has a bigger share of the world economy than during the SARS outbreak. Now it’s 19 percent. This is not good news for the world,” she said.
The global growth was earlier projected to rise from an estimated 2.9 percent in 2019 to 3.3 percent in 2020. The forecast was expected to pick up to 3.4 percent next year. However, given the economic repercussions of the virus, the global economy could be looking at a downward revision of .01 to .02 percentage points, according to Georgieva.
“Now we’re saying 3.3 percent is our forecast, but there may be a cut. We’re hoping it will be in .01 to .02 percentage space,” said the IMF official. However, she cautioned against jumping “prematurely into a conclusion.” The virus has infected more than 69,000 people globally as of Sunday, February 16. The number of deaths related to the virus has reached more than 1,600.
The UAE’s travel and hospitality operators had earlier expressed concern that the outbreak could hurt their business, as travel and flight restrictions have dampened visitor numbers from one of the biggest source markets of Gulf tourism.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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