G20 sees need to coordinate coronavirus response as IMF trims global growth forecasts.

RIYADH : The world's top economies called on Saturday for a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund [IMF] predicted would lower China's growth this year to 5.6 percent and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva presented the outlook to central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20 countries, but said the IMF continued to look at more dire scenarios. The China outlook is 0.4 percentage points lower than it was last month.

China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases on Saturday, but the World Health Organization [WHO] warned that it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak and said it concerned about the number of new infections in other countries with no clear link to China such as travel history or contact with a confirmed case.

''In our current baseline scenario, announced policies are implemented and China's economy would return to normal in the second quarter. As a result, the impact on world economy would be relatively minor and short-lived,'' Georgieva said.

Japan's finance minister said almost all the G20 countries mentioned the risk posed by the coronavirus during the gathering in Riyadh and that he had warned of a serious impact on the global economy if it spreads further.

Georgieva said the global cooperation was essential to contain the virus and its economic impact, particularly if the outbreak turned out to be more persistent and widespread.

She said it was imperative to recognize the potential risk for fragile states and countries with weak health care systems, adding that the IMF was ready to provide grants for debt relief to the poorest and most vulnerable members. [Reuters]


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