By David Lawder and Leika Kihara
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Global financial officials on Saturday said risks to worldwide economic growth were “tilted to the downside” due to factors such as trade tensions, policy uncertainty and the sudden tightening of financial conditions.
The heightened risks are presenting themselves against a backdrop of limited policy space, historically high debt levels and heightened financial vulnerabilities, officials said in the joint communique of the International Monetary Fund’s steering committee. The statement was released at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.
Earlier, China took a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies that have sparked a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies, including tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.
“The protectionism of some countries has harmed mutual trust among countries, limited the scope for multilateral cooperation, and impeded the willingness to achieve it,” Chen Yulu, a vice governor at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said in a statement to the International Monetary and Financial Committee, or IMFC.
“Unilateralism and protectionism can only exacerbate domestic imbalances and impair necessary structural adjustments, which can negatively affect the countries concerned as well as global growth,” he said.
(Reporting by David Lawder and Leika Kihara; Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by Paul Simao)