Trump and Xi's battle for pride is eating into global growth

Global economic growth is projected to slow to 2.9 per cent in 2019 from a downwardly revised 3 per cent in 2018 amid rising downside risks, the World Bank has said.

In its newly-released Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank on Tuesday said the outlook for the global economy "has darkened" as global financing conditions have tightened, trade tensions "have intensified," and some large emerging market and developing economies have experienced significant financial market stress, Xinhua reported.

"Faced with these headwinds, the recovery in emerging market and developing economies has lost momentum," the report said, expecting emerging market and developing economies to grow at 4.2 per cent in 2019, 0.5 percentage points lower than previously projected in June.

Growth in advanced economies is estimated to slow to 2 per cent in 2019 from 2.2 per cent in 2018, as major central banks continue to withdraw monetary policy accommodation, according to the report.

"Downside risks have become more acute and include the possibility of disorderly financial market movements and an escalation of trade disputes," the report said, warning that intensifying trade tensions could result in weaker global growth and disrupt globally interconnected value chains.

The report estimated that China's economic growth will slow to 6.2 per cent in 2019 from 6.5 per cent in 2018 as domestic and external rebalancing continue.

"Authorities in China have shifted to looser monetary and fiscal policies in response to a more challenging external environment...these policy steps are expected to largely offset the direct negative impact of higher tariffs on China's exports," the report said.

"At the beginning of 2018 the global economy was firing on all cylinders, but it lost speed during the year and the ride could get even bumpier in the year ahead," World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

"As economic and financial headwinds intensify for emerging and developing countries, the world' s progress in reducing extreme poverty could be jeopardized," she said.

The report suggested that the "most urgent priority" for policymakers in emerging market and developing economies is to "prepare for possible bouts of financial market stress and rebuild macroeconomic policy buffers as appropriate".

"Equally critically, policymakers need to foster stronger potential growth by boosting human capital, removing barriers to investments, and promoting trade integration within a rules-based multilateral system," the report said.
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