The Interview

IMF's Georgieva on FRANCE 24: 'It is too early to quantify impact of coronavirus'


Kristalina Georgieva, the new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), granted an interview to FRANCE 24 in Brussels. She discussed the potential impact of the coronavirus on the Chinese economy, plus global trade tensions and the UK economy after Brexit. The IMF head also sounded the alarm about rising inequality within countries.


IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told FRANCE 24 that the coronavirus could have an impact on Chinese growth, pointing out that it was already affecting the tourism and manufacturing sectors. However, she said it was "too early to quantify" the impact at this stage.

Georgieva welcomed the agreement reached between China and the US on trade, noting that it had prompted the IMF to improve its forecasts. However, she warned that it was for now merely a "trade truce" and not "trade peace", adding that the trade tensions between the US and the EU illustrate the need for an improved global trade system. She noted that the Trump administration's stance on trade seemed to be shifting towards more cooperation and that this was a "very welcome change".

Turning to Brexit, the IMF chief expressed optimism for the UK economy, with the IMF predicting slightly higher growth in the UK than in the EU for 2020 and 2021. However, she underlined the importance of successful negotiations between London and Brussels on the future relationship by the end of 2020.

More broadly, Georgieva stressed that IMF research had found that while inequality between countries was receding, growing inequality within countries - both rich and poor - was becoming not only a moral issue but also a negative economic factor. She urged a more inclusive approach, a departure from traditional IMF austerity programmes.   

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