Image source: Veselin Borishev - Shutterstock
What's going on?
Data out this weekend showed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is lending more money to hard-up countries than ever before.
What does this mean?
The IMF is kind of like a bank for countries, but it’s a bank that few nations get excited about dealing with. As “the world’s lender of last resort”, it’s a worst-case-scenario safety net that countries can rely on when their economies are – well – going to hell in a handcart. Calling in the IMF, then, is a kind of SOS flare that can spook investors and hit a country’s reputation – but the combined forces of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the sharp rise in global interest rates have pushed at least five countries into default and forced dozens more into the IMF’s arms. No wonder, then, that the organization had a record-breaking $140 billion out in loans at the end of last month.
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Downhill from here.
This could just be the beginning. Experts think that greater interest rate hikes could push even more countries into dire economic straits, and with 55 of the world’s poorest countries already due to repay almost half a trillion dollars of debt by 2028, the IMF could find its resources stretched pretty thin over the next few years. That might be why some economists are keen to remind us that the IMF’s pockets are only so deep and the day could come when it can no longer dole out emergency checks.
The bigger picture: The outlook’s pretty cheerless.
The OECD isn’t optimistic about the global economy: the organization said on Monday that it expects just 2.2% growth next year, down from a 2.8% forecast in June. That means 2023’s global output is now projected to be a cool $2.8 trillion lower than had been forecasted before war broke out – a sum equal to the entire economy of France (tweet this). (Zut alors!)
Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.
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