WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday that the multilateral lender now projects that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.
In her curtain raiser speech ahead of the Spring Meetings next week, the IMF chief said in a video that countries across the globe "are confronted with a crisis like no other."
"COVID-19 has disrupted our social and economic order at lightning speed and on a scale that we have not seen in living memory," Georgieva said.
The IMF managing director said it is already clear that global growth will turn "sharply negative" in 2020. "In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression," she noted.
Georgieva said just three months ago that the IMF expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of its member countries in 2020, but it now projects that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.
"The bleak outlook applies to advanced and developing economies alike. This crisis knows no boundaries. Everybody hurts," she said.
Georgieva, however, noted that the crisis is expected to hit vulnerable countries hardest. "Emerging markets and low-income nations - across Africa, Latin America, and much of Asia - are at high risk," she said.
In the last two months, portfolio outflows from emerging markets were about 100 billion U.S. dollars, more than three times larger than for the same period of the global financial crisis, she noted.
Noting that the IMF estimates the gross external financing needs for emerging market and developing countries to be in the trillions of dollars, the IMF chief said "they urgently need help."