IMF World Economic Outlook 2018 identifies plateau in economic growth and highlights the importance of trade

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its World Economic Outlook noting that while current growth projections are an improvement over those seen between 2012-2016, growth now appears to have “plateaued.” The 3.7 percent growth predicted for 2018-2019 is lower than the 3.9 rate that the institution had previously forseen. The leaders of the IMF, World Bank Group (WBG), World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) issued a joint call stressing the value of trade for spurring economic growth and urging governments to act to lower trade tensions. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde outlined three core challenges that the global economy facing: “building a better trade system; guarding against fiscal and financial turbulence; and rebuilding trust in policymaking and institutions.” She also highlighted the possibility of plurilateral deals being celebrated at the WTO, if agreements involving the full organisation’s membership are not viable. In parallel, WBG President Jim Yong Kim, called upon countries to recommit themselves to the effort to meet the “twin goals” of eradicating poverty and boosting shared prosperity, in line with the SDGs. The IMF, WTO and WBG launched a joint report on ‘Reinvigorating Trade and Inclusive Growth’ in September 2018.