The IMF Says U.S. Tariffs and Emerging Market Instability Are Hurting the Global Economy

October 9, 2018, 11:18 AM UTC

The International Monetary Fund says protectionism and instability are hurting economic growth.

The Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook report presented a revised forecast predicting the global economy would expand by 3.7% this year and next, down from an April estimate of 3.9%. U.S. tariffs and other countries’ retaliation against them were at the center of the IMF’s revised estimates. Trade has been hit especially hard, with the latest forecast predicting that growth will fall a full point from last year to 4.2%.

Falling currency values in emerging markets are also affecting overall global growth as a rising dollar makes debts, imports, and interest rates trickier to manage. Turkey’s economy is expected to grow by just 0.4% next year, down from 7.4% growth last year. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Iran are also expected to be hard-hit.

While the IMF doesn’t expect spillover effects from emerging market weakness, the report said the U.S.-China trade war as well as rising tariffs on auto and auto parts in general will affect the world market, and if that trade war escalates further, it will hurt China more than the U.S. As The Wall Street Journal reports, those tariffs are also pushing Chinese exporters to use creative methods such as rerouting and misclassification to avoid tariffs on goods bound for the U.S., expanding a practice that already causes the U.S. to lose $550 million in customs revenue per year.