The new chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says trade wars are threatening to undermine the global economy, likely bringing on the slowest growth in nearly a decade.
Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist, said on October 8 in her first speech as IMF managing director that "in 2019, we expect slower growth in nearly 90 percent of the world.”
“The global economy is now in a synchronized slowdown."
"This widespread deceleration means that growth this year will fall to its lowest rate since the beginning of the decade," she added.
Georgieva blamed much of the slowdown on the rising number of trade conflicts around the world. The disputes could mean a loss of some $700 billion in output by the end of 2020 -- about 0.8 percent of world gross domestic product.
U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a hard line on trade issues and has become involved in several tit-for-tat tariff moves -- the most substantial of which is with China.
Experts have previously expressed fears that the trade wars could lead to a slowing of the global economy, causing uncertainty in world stock markets.
Georgieva's comments come a week ahead of the planned release of the global lender's updated World Economic Outlook, set for October 15.
The Bulgarian took over leadership of the 189-nation IMF this month following the resignation of Christine Lagarde, who was named chief of the European Central Bank.
The IMF is considered the world's lender of last resort for governments and usually sets tough conditions in return for its aid packages.
IMF Chief Georgieva Warns Trade Wars To Undermine Global Economy