News from Asia and the Pacific

Chief Economist Gita Gopinath Discusses Global Economic Outlook with Dean Watanabe of the University of Tokyo

July 10, 2020, Tokyo, Japan – Following the downgrading of the world economic growth projection to -4.9% late last month, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath today joined a webinar hosted by Dean Tsutomu Watanabe of the University of Tokyo and discussed the risks for economic growth and policy measures which could accelerate recovery.

“The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the world economy to a great lockdown, which triggered a great depression… We’re projecting a sharp drop in the outlook this year and only a partial recovery in 2021, still below the threshold before the pandemic,” Gopinath told tens of thousands of viewers watching the webinar’s live steam on various social media.

She noted that 75% of the world is now reopening while the number of infection cases are still increasing, and warned that several risks still remain: no solution has been found yet for the health crisis; financial conditions could tighten rapidly; and geopolitical tensions and social unrest could escalate. She said that macroeconomic policies need to adapt to the situation, focusing on the reallocation of resources to support hiring and shield affected people and firms, ensuring sound financial systems, and fostering a green and inclusive recovery.

The webinar was co-hosted by the University of Tokyo. It was the first time that the chief economist has conducted a seminar on the global outlook for a Japanese audience. She was originally scheduled to make her first visit to Japan in May to attend an international event which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The webinar was well attended by various audiences, not only from Japan but also from other Asian countries and beyond. The live streams on the IMF’s social media accounts counted approximately 38,000 viewers each. Nearly 100 questions and comments were posed by the audience.

Watch the video of the webinar here.