Pakistan says it will seek International Monetary Fund bailout as reserves dwindle

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday downgraded its outlook for the world economy, warning that the imposition of import tariffs between the United States and China were taking its toll on global trade.

Analysts say Pakistan hopes to secure $8 billion in loans to avoid an economic meltdown.

Among major middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa, SA has the lowest projected growth rate for 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund, after Cameroon and Zambia, both projected to grow at 3.8% in 2018.

At the same time, they note that the growth is becoming less balanced and in some leading economies, it may already have peaked.

The United States and China - the world's two biggest economies - are sparring over Beijing's aggressive effort to challenge American technological dominance. The Fund's analysts point out that the steady recovery, which has been occurring since mid-2016, continues, while the growth of the world economy for 2018-2019 is projected to remain at the 2017 level.

"We have not been formally approached yet", said Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF's top economist, during the fund's annual meeting in Bali.

"Notwithstanding the present demand momentum, we have downgraded our 2019 USA growth forecast owing to the recently enacted tariffs on a wide range of imports from China and China's retaliation". Not only have some downside risks that the last WEO identified been realised, the likelihood of further negative shocks to our growth forecast has risen.

If projections are true, then India would regain the tag of fastest growing major economies of the world, crossing China with more than 0.7 percentage point in 2018 and an impressive 1.2 percentage point growth lead in 2019. China's expected 2019 growth is also marked down.

"An intensification of trade tensions and the associated further rise in policy uncertainty could dent business and financial market sentiment, trigger financial market volatility, and slow investment and trade", the report said.

"Notwithstanding the present demand momentum, we have downgraded our 2019 USA growth forecast owing to the recently enacted tariffs on a wide range of imports from China and China's retaliation." .

It said interest rates could go up quickly depending on events in the US.

The possible failure of Brexit negotiations also dampened the eurozone's growth outlook.

"An increase in trade barriers would disrupt global supply chains, which have become an integral part of production processes in the past decades, and slow the spread of new technologies, ultimately lowering global productivity and welfare".

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said she would meet with Pakistani officials on Thursday, with expectations that Islamabad will request a bailout of its economy.

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