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International Monetary Fund (IMF) head says half of all countries have asked IMF for bailout

Sovereign Debt Crisis
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International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that half of all countries have already requested a IMF bailout due to the economic havoc wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an emergency like no other. It is not because of bad governors or mistakes,” Georgieva told CNBC's Sara Eisen. “For that reason, we are providing funding very quickly.”

“We are asking for one thing only: Please pay your doctors and nurses, make sure that your health [care] systems are functioning, and that vulnerable people and first responders are protected,” she added.

The IMF said this week it expects a contraction of the global economy of up to 3 percent after previously predicting a 3.3 percent expansion as recently as January. Georgieva said that if the virus is properly contained and new cases recede, the global economy could expand up to 5.8 percent in 2021, but said this would still put it behind 2019’s global economic output.

She added that the virus rebounding and making its way around the world a second time could also hurt output.

“It’s the first time in the history of the IMF that epidemiologists are as important as macro economists for our projections,” Georgieva said, according to CNBC. “We are really hoping our scientists will not disappoint us.”

In a Tuesday report, the IMF predicted the pandemic would lead to the worst recession since the Great Depression and specifically projected U.S. growth will fall 5.9 percent, as well as a drop of 7.5 percent in the eurozone, 6.5 percent in the U.K. and 5.2 percent in Japan.

The IMF also projected a global trade drop of 11 percent this year, with an 8.4 percent increase next year.

“This crisis is like no other,” Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, wrote in a foreword to the report. “Like in a war or a political crisis, there is continued severe uncertainty about the duration and intensity of the shock.”

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