WorldAccess to vaccines widens inequalities in economic recovery, IMF...

Access to vaccines widens inequalities in economic recovery, IMF says

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The recovery is expected to be faster than expected in developed economies, but slower for emerging countries, due in particular to unequal access to anti-Covid 19 vaccines, warns the IMF, which maintains its global growth forecast of 6 % in 2021.

“Access to vaccines has become the main line of rupture dividing the global recovery into two blocks,” the IMF said on Tuesday in its updated global economic forecasts, published on Tuesday.

On the one hand, most advanced economies, which have access to vaccines and “can expect business to normalize this year”. On the other, countries that have little or no access to it and “will continue to face a resurgence of Covid-19 infections”.

Unequal repeats

Gross domestic product (GDP) should therefore grow faster than expected in the developed economies, by 5.6% in 2021 (0.5 point more than in the latest forecasts in April).

In contrast, emerging markets and developing economies are expected to grow 6.3% this year, strong growth but less than expected (-0.4 point).

In particular, the strong expected slowdown in growth in India, to 9.5% (-3 points), a country ravaged by a resurgence of the virus because of the delta variant. The situation is also deteriorating for China, to 8.1% (-0.3 point).

“It was already divergent and it is getting worse”

“The improvement for advanced economies (is) fully offset by a deterioration for emerging economies,” detailed Gita Gopinath, chief economist of the IMF, Tuesday morning at a press conference.

“It was already divergent and it is getting worse” in particular because of “unequal access to vaccination” but also “budget support (which) is much easier to maintain in advanced economies which have easy access to financing, ”she said.

Thus, the United States is expected to experience growth of 7% this year and 4.9% in 2022 thanks to plans for massive investments in infrastructure and social spending that may soon be adopted in Congress. Ditto in the euro zone, where the “Next Generation” stimulus plan should stimulate growth, now expected at 4.6% in 2021. The situation should also be better than expected in the United Kingdom, with GDP up 7 , 0%

. “More worried than in April”

Nearly 40% of the population of advanced economies is fully vaccinated, compared to 11% in emerging market economies and a tiny fraction in low-income developing countries, details the IMF, which recently proposed a $ 50 billion plan to vaccinate at least 40% of the world’s population by the end of the year.

“We are more worried than we were in April,” even told AFP Petya Koeva Brooks, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Delta variant “is of great concern. Even if we have included part of it in our forecasts, there is still a significant downside risk, depending on the trend, ”Gita Gopinath noted.

The highly contagious variants could cost the global economy $ 4.5 trillion by 2025, she warned in a blog post also published on Tuesday.

Concern over inflation

Another source of concern is inflation. The IMF believes that it “should return to its pre-pandemic levels in most countries in 2022”, despite “the risk that transitional pressures may become more persistent”.

However, it is expected to “remain high until 2022 in some emerging markets and developing economies, in part due to continued pressure on food prices and currency depreciations, thus creating a new gap,” Gita Gopinath pointed out in the blog.

The IMF recommends that central banks maintain their support for the economies and not try to counter this price increase by tightening their monetary policies now. It now expects, for developed economies, 2.4% inflation in 2021 (+0.8 point), and 5.4% (+0.5 point) in developing countries. In the longer term, for 2022, the forecast for global GDP growth is raised by 0.5 point to 4.9%.

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