Fears that the world’s two biggest economies, the US and China, are heading toward a trade war are set to dominate discussions at this week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
After a decade of ho-hum growth, the global economy is buzzing again.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, says the fund remains optimistic on the state of the global economy. It predicted 3.9 percent growth for the world in January and is likely to reinforce that forecast or tinker only modestly with it when it releases its new estimates on Tuesday.
But the IMF is also increasingly concerned about the rising threats of protectionism and the tit-for-tat tariff wars that the US and China have begun to engage in. The World Trade Organization warned last week that any escalation by the US or China could put a damper on what is otherwise expected to be a strong year for global trade, one of the main drivers of broader growth in recent years.