IMF says fiscal support needed until recovery takes hold

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Global debt likely reached 98% of economic output at the end of 2020 as governments poured in nearly $14 trillion in fiscal support to battle the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday, urging that fiscal support stay in place until recovery is firmly underway.

The IMF, in an update of its Fiscal Monitor, said that the fiscal support included $7.8 trillion in additional direct spending or foregone revenue and $6 trillion in guarantees, loans and equity injections. Total support is up about $2.2 trillion since the last Fiscal Monitor update in October.

“Global cooperation on producing and widely distributing treatments and vaccines to all countries at low cost is crucial,” IMF officials said in a blog posting accompanying the report. “Vaccination is a global public good that saves lives and will eventually save taxpayers’ money in all countries. The sooner the global pandemic ends, the quicker economies can return to normal and people will need less government support.”

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