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World Bank maintains global growth forecasts, warns of considerable downside risks

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Washington, June 6: The World Bank has kept its growth forecasts for the global economy unchanged for this year and next year, but warned of a combination of considerable downside risks including escalating trade protectionism.

In its newly-released Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank on Tuesday said the global economy would grow 3.1 per cent in 2018 before slowing to 3 per cent in 2019, unchanged from its previous forecasts in January, Xinhua reported.

Growth in advanced economies is expected to moderate slightly to 2.2 per cent in 2018 and further slow down to 2 per cent next year, as central banks gradually remove monetary stimulus, according to the report.

Growth in emerging market and developing economies is projected to strengthen to 4.5 per cent in 2018 before reaching 4.7 per cent in 2019, as “the recovery in commodity exporters matures and commodity prices level off following this year’s increase”.

The World Bank upgraded its forecast for China’s economic growth in 2018 to 6.5 per cent, 0.1 percentage point higher than its January forecast. But the growth is estimated to edge down to 6.3 per cent in 2019, as regulatory and macroprudential policies are expected to tighten and fiscal policy is anticipated to become less accommodative.

The Washington-based international lender also warned that global economic growth is facing “considerable downside risks.”

“The possibility of disorderly financial market volatility has increased, and the vulnerability of some emerging market and developing economies to such disruption has risen,” the World Bank said, noting trade protectionist sentiment has also mounted and policy uncertainty and geopolitical risks remain elevated.

“The probability of an abrupt slowdown in global growth has risen and could increase further if one or several downside risks materialize,” said the lender.

In terms of trade policy, the World Bank said the outcome of some trade negotiations is still uncertain and “the risk of escalating trade restrictions has intensified,” as new tariff announcements by the US have led to retaliatory responses by major trading partners.

The report came after the Trump administration announced last week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico, which has drawn strong opposition from the domestic business community and US trading partners.

“A broad-based increase in tariffs worldwide would have major adverse consequences for global trade and activity,” the World Bank said, adding the threat of substantial shifts in trade policies in major economies could also have negative consequences for financial markets and investment.

IANS

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Global Covid-19 cases top 31mn mark: Johns Hopkins

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Corona Death Body

The overall number of global coronavirus cases on Monday surpassed the 31 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 960,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases stood at 31,044,033 and the fatalities rose to 960,826, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 6,805,629 and 199,512, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,487,580, while the country’s death toll soared to 87,882.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,544,629), Russia (1,105,048), Peru (768,895), Colombia (765,076), Mexico (697,663), South Africa (661,211), Spain (640,040), Argentina (631,365), France (467,614), Chile (446,274), Iran (422,140), the UK (396,744), Bangladesh (348,918), Saudi Arabia (329,754) and Iraq (319,035), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 136,895.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (73,493), the UK (41,866), Italy (35,668), Peru (31,369), France (31,257), Spain (30,495), Iran (24,301), Colombia (23,665), Russia (19,420), South Africa (15,953), Argentina (13,053), Chile (12,286) and Ecuador (11,090).

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UK PM to address nation over ‘winter lockdown plans

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to brace citizens for “winter lockdown plans” in preparation for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media reports said.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

He is looking at making pubs and restaurants close early and banning households from meeting up, it added.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance will reportedly make an address ahead of the Prime Minister, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

The scientists will outline the consequences of taking no action to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, a government adviser, Professor Susan Michie, told The Telegraph on Sunday that every day of delay could have dire health outcomes.

“We need a stitch in time. We need to learn the lessons of the spring. Every day’s delay to a step change in measures to restrict transmission when it is increasing exponentially will be expensive in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term,” she added.

Johnson has previously admitted that second national lockdown would be “nothing short of disastrous”‘ for the UK, the Metro newspaper reported.

The development comes as more than 10 million across the UK are placed in some form of local lockdown.As of Monday, the UK has reported a total of 396,744 coron mm mm u huhavirus cases, with 41,866 deaths.

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4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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