International Monetary Fund (IMF)

African nations 'need to focus on debt'
The IMF says African nations must practice responsible borrowing and lending to avoid debt distress.

IMF: no-deal Brexit could slice 4% off economy

sandcastles with UK and EU flags
BBC

What difference would a no-deal Brexit make to the economy?

In its annual report today, the International Monetary Fund is warning, it could have quite a big impact compared to a smoother exit.

Even in a relatively orderly no-deal Brexit scenario the economy would grow 3.5% less by the end of 2021 than it would under a smoother Brexit.

“The increase in trade barriers has an immediate negative impact on UK foreign and domestic demand,” the IMF said.

The EU economy would suffer too but by much less than Britain, facing an estimated 0.5% hit compared with a smooth Brexit scenario, the IMF said.

Lagarde says global economy faces "delicate moment"

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at the US Chamber of Commerce April 2, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Getty Images

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde was speaking late yesterday at the US Chamber of Commerce and said the global economy is at a "delicate moment".

Global growth slowed largely due to rising trade tensions and financial tightening in the second half of last year, she said in a speech.

Ms Lagarde expected a rebound in the world economy later this year, as central banks turned more "patient" on monetary policy and as global growth benefited from Chinese stimulus. But any rebound would be "precarious."

"In January, the IMF projected global growth for 2019 and 2020 at around 3.5% - less than in the recent past, but still reasonable. It has since lost further momentum, as you will see from our updated forecast next week," she said.

"Only two years ago, 75% of the global economy experienced an upswing. For this year, we expect 70% of the global economy to experience a slowdown in growth."

IMF warning on Italy dismissed as not credible

Luigi Di Maio
EPA
Luigi Di Maio attacked the IMF report

Economic policies implemented by the populist government in Rome make Italy vulnerable to a crisis of market confidence, with the poorest likely to suffer the most, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

"The authorities' policies could leave Italy vulnerable to a renewed loss of market confidence," an IMF annual report on the country says.

"Italy could then be forced into a notable fiscal contraction, pushing a weakening economy into a recession. The burden would fall disproportionately on the vulnerable."

On January 31, official data showed that the Italian economy, the eurozone's third largest, contracted in the fourth quarter of 2018, which meant the country was in a technical recession.

But Italy's deputy prime minister and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio quickly rejected the report, saying the IMF "has starved people for decades" and lacked the credibility to attack policies.

Good morning!

Welcome to Business Live and the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is one of the last speakers and be discussing the global economic outlook with Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, in a session chaired by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

Back in the UK, Vodafone and Irn-Bru-maker AG Barr will give trading updates at 7.00am.

We'll also be keeping an eye on Patisserie Valerie and whether administrator KPMG can find a buyer for its remaining 130 cafes.

Also in focus is the trial or four former Barclays executives who have been charged by the Serious Fraud Office with fraud by misrepresentation.

As always we'd love to hear from you. Email Business Live at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

In the papers

In the papers today - first off, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded global growth in 2019 from 3.7% down to 3.5%, warning that the US-China trade war and a possible no-deal Brexit present the biggest risks to the global economy, according to the Guardian.

Plus, yesterday in Parliament the Public Accounts Committee quizzed the Bank of England on why it isn't renting out spare space at its headquarters in Threadneedle Street out to shops or other businesses.

Bradley Fried, chairman of the Court of the Bank of England, said this was a pretty bad idea, according to the Telegraph: "We are sitting on top of £140bn of physical gold..."

And finally, lenders to troubled bakery chain Patisserie Valerie fear that loans worth almost £10m will be almost completely wiped out if the chain collapses, the Telegraph says.