(Yicai Global) April 17 --The policy-setting body of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday pledged collective action to mitigate the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are in an unprecedented global crisis. The global economy will contract sharply this year, reflecting necessary health measures to contain the virus, disruptions in economic supply and demand, and tightening financial conditions," the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) said in a communique after a meeting.
"In particular, many emerging market and developing countries are facing sharp declines in export demand and commodity prices, large capital outflows, foreign exchange shortages, and increasing debt burdens," the IMFC said, adding its "urgent collective task" is to mitigate the health and economic impact that the pandemic is having on people.
"We have taken extraordinary macroeconomic action and, working together will further scale up fiscal, monetary, and financial stability measures, as necessary, to facilitate a speedy return to strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth," said the IMFC.
Lesetja Kganyago, IMFC chairman and governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa, said at a press conference on Thursday that the IMFC supported the IMF package.
"The Fund has revamped the Fund's toolkit by doubling access levels to emergency facilities, expanding the use of precautionary lines, establishing a new short-term liquidity line, and considering other options to help countries meet their financing needs," Kganyago said.
"We are far from declaring victory on the outcomes or the outlook, yet we are convinced that an aggressive response coordinated through the IMF will lead to more positive economic and humanitarian results than would otherwise be possible," he said.
The IMFC, including donor countries, also agreed on the importance of ensuring that the IMF can support its poorest and most vulnerable members, according to Kganyago.
"I come out of these virtual meetings with a real sense that we will overcome these challenges because we will work effectively and constructively together," he said.
While the global outlook is subject to "exceptionally high uncertainty," the IMFC expects a recovery next year as countries continue to employ "all available policy tools" to defeat the pandemic, protect jobs and restore growth.
The IMFC meeting came after the IMF said Tuesday in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report that the global economy is on track to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.