IMF executive board warns of growing medium-term risks to U.S. economy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-25 08:06:55|Editor: Wu Qin
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WASHINGTON, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday warned of growing medium-term risks to the U.S. economy, noting that an "abrupt reversal" of the recent supportive financial market conditions or a deepening of ongoing trade disputes represent material risks to the U.S. economy.

"The financial system appears healthy but vulnerabilities in leveraged corporates and, potentially, in the nonbank system are elevated by historical standards," the IMF's executive board said in a statement after concluding its annual Article IV consultation to review the U.S. economy.

The executive board noted that the U.S. public debt-to-GDP ratio is on an unsustainable path and is expected to continue rising throughout the medium-term, as aging related spending rises.

The statement, which came a few days after a concluding statement that describes the preliminary findings of the consultation, said the consultation focused on the policies needed to address these risks, preserve financial stability, support the standard of living for low- and middle-income households, and rebuild fiscal space.

U.S. real GDP is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent this year, before moderating to 1.9 percent in 2020, according to the statement.

"Continued vigilance, prudent macroeconomic policies, and supply-side reforms would be critical to securing strong, balanced, and inclusive growth, generating positive spillovers to the rest of the world," the IMF's executive board said.

Despite positive macroeconomic outcomes, the executive board said "the benefits from this decade-long expansion have not been shared as widely as they could," urging the U.S. government to address rising income inequality and improve social outcomes.

On the monetary policy, the executive board welcomed the Federal Reserve's pause in interest rate adjustments, and agreed that any further increases in the federal funds rate should be deferred until there are clearer signs of wage or price inflation.

In a statement after concluding a two-day policy meeting last week, the Fed left the target range for the federal funds rate unchanged at 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, highlighting increased "uncertainties" about the U.S. economic outlook and opening the door for lowering interest rates in the future.

The IMF's executive board also encouraged the United States to work constructively and cooperatively with its trading partners to address distortions in the trading system and resolve trade tensions in a manner that promotes a more open, stable, and transparent rules-based international trade system.