Pakistan to seek International Monetary Fund bailout, stocks gain

Punjab CM Usman Buzdar welcoming PM Imran Khan. — PTI

The IMF said the global economy would grow 3.7 per cent this year, the same as in 2017 but down from the 3.9 per cent it was forecasting for 2018 in July.

"Nonetheless, despite trade tensions and continued monetary policy normalisation in a few advanced economies, global financial markets have remained buoyant and appear complacent about the risk of a sudden, sharp tightening in financial conditions". The S&P 500 index edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,884.43, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent to 26,486.78. It now expects the global economy to only expand by 3.7% in 2018 and 2019, down from 3.9% before.

They show that a burst of strong growth, fueled partly by USA tax cuts and rising demand for imports, was starting to wane.

The fund kept its forecast for growth in the Chinese economy unchanged at 6.6 percent this year.

"The downward revisions reflect to an important extent the worsening of growth prospects for Iran, following the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions", it said.

It also said inflation in India is on the rise, estimated at 3.6 per cent in fiscal year 2017/18 and projected at 4.7 per cent in fiscal year 2018/19, compared with 4.5 per cent in fiscal year 2016/17, amid accelerating demand and rising fuel prices. In addition, regulatory duties on non-essential imports have had to be introduced to curb the unnecessary growth in imports.

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Pakistan's current accounts deficit has been widening since before the July 25 election that brought Khan to power, but his new government wanted to explore options outside the International Monetary Fund including additional bridge loans from China and deferred payments scheme for oil with Saudi Arabia.

The euro zone's 2018 growth forecast was cut to 2% from 2.2% previously, with Germany particularly hard hit by a drop in manufacturing orders and trade volumes.

In addition to trade tensions, the International Monetary Fund mentioned aging populations, rising interest rates and unexpectedly high inflation as other potential economic risks.

The fund cut its 2019 U.S. growth forecast from 2.7 per cent to 2.5 per cent, and the China growth forecast from 6.4 per cent to 6.2 per cent. The US growth forecast was cut by 0.2 percentage points in 2019 tp 2.5pc.

Pressure on the lira saw inflation rates soar to almost 25 percent in September, marking the highest levels since President Erdogan came to power 15 years ago.

However, stimulus measures by Beijing are likely to soften the impact of the tariffs. Output could fall by more than 1.6 per cent in China and over 0.9 per cent in the USA next year, according to the IMF's models.

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