Mar 24, 2020 09:41 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Mar 26, 2020 22:11 Asia/Tehran]
  • IMF says Mideast, Central Asia countries asking for coronavirus support

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the coronavirus pandemic will cause a global recession in 2020 that could be worse than the one triggered by the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Iran Press/AmericaIMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries to boost health systems and protect affected companies and workers, and steps taken by central banks to ease monetary policy. "Even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front," she said.

"The human costs of the Coronavirus pandemic are already immeasurable and all countries need to work together to protect people and limit the economic damage," Georgieva said.

More countries are imposing lockdown measures to contain the rapidly spreading virus, which has infected 337,500 people across the world and killed over 14,600.

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Earlier this month, Georgieva had warned that 2020 world growth would be below the 2.9% rate seen in 2019 but stopped short of predicting a recession. Trade wars pushed global growth last year to the lowest rate since a 0.7% contraction in 2009.

Advanced economies were generally in better shape to deal with the crisis, but many emerging markets and low-income countries face significant challenges, including outward capital flows.

Investors have already removed $83 billion from emerging markets since the start of the crisis, the largest capital outflow ever recorded, Georgieva said.

Meanwhile, IMF announced that it has been approached by a dozen countries in the Middle East and Central Asia who have asked for financial support in dealing with the coronavirus impact on their economies.

The challenge would be especially daunting for fragile and conflict-torn states such as Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia said in his blog.

The escalating outbreak in Iran has killed hundreds of Iranians and infected more than 10,000. The outbreak has damaged Iranian businesses and is bound to hit its non-oil exports after many neighboring countries and trade partners shut their borders.

Iranian Central Bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page that “in a letter addressed to the head of IMF, I have requested five billion US dollars emergency fund to help our fight against the Coronavirus”.

Similarly, Venezuela’s government has made a formal request to the IMF for $5 billion in financing to strengthen the country’s health system to tackle the coronavirus.

Despite US disagreements, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on 23 March that the EU backs Iran and Venezuela in their requests for emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help them fight the coronavirus outbreak. 212/ 104

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