BUENOS AIRES : The International Monetary Fund [IMF] warned world economic leaders on Saturday that a recent wave of  trade tariffs would significantly-

Harm global growth a day after the US President Donald Trump threatened major escalation in a dispute with China.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she would present the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Buenos Aires with a report detailing the impacts of of the restrictions already announced on global trade.

"It certainly indicates the impact that it could have on GDP [gross domestic product], which is the worst case scenario under current measures - is in the range of 0.5 percent of GDP on a global basis," Lagarde said at a joint news conference with Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne.

In the briefing note prepared for G20 ministers, the IMF said global growth may peak at 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019, while downside risks have increased due to to growing trade conflict.

Her warning came shortly after the top US economic official,  Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin, told reporters in the Argentine capital there was no "macroeconomic" effect yet on the world's largest economy.

Long simmering trade tensions have burst into the open in recent months, with the United States and China  -the world's No 2. economy - slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other goods so far.

The weekend meeting in Buenos Aires comes amid a dramatic escalation in rhetoric on both sides. Trump on Friday threatened  tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese exports to the United States.

Mnuchin will try to rally  G7 allies over the weekend to join the  United States in more aggressive action against China, but they maybe reluctant to cooperate because US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union and Canada which prompted retaliatory measures.

The last G20 finance meeting in Buenos Aires in late March ended with no firm agreement by ministers on trade policy except for a commitment to "further dialogue.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz said he would use the meeting to advocate for  rules-based trading system, but that expectations were low. [Reuters].


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