A regular part of Gita Gopinath’s agenda at the IMF is the World Economic Outlook, which is essentially a growth projection for the upcoming year, but also includes policy advise to address global or country-specific challenges. The outbreak of the coronavirus or the US China trade tensions are developments Gopinath and her team monitor closely, to adjust their growth projections and discuss policy responses.
When the coronavirus crisis hit the global economy, Gopinath said it was the “worst recession since the Great Depression”. In April 2019, the IMF projected global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 percent, which was a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points in less than three months. “We’ve had a hundred countries approach us for emergency financing,” says Gopinath. “It’s never happened before. That tells you the gravity of this crisis.”