Washington: The new coronavirus epidemic poses a "serious threat" to people and the world economy, and will slow growth below the 2.9% posted last year, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.
The COVID-19 outbreak "is no longer regional issue, it is a global problem (that) calls for global response," Georgieva said.
The epidemic's impact on confidence and steps to contain it are impacting economic activity, with the result that "global growth in 2020 will dip below last year's levels," she said.
The IMF in January forecast growth this year of 3.3%, which means at least a half point will be lost to the virus.
The International Monetary and Financial Committee of the IMF on Wednesday said that it has urged its 189-member countries to use all available financing instruments to counter the impact of the fast spreading coronavirus.
In a statement, the US-based organization said: "The IMF's 189-member countries stand united to address the global challenges related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and we extend our sympathies to all those affected.
"The economic and financial impact has also been felt globally, creating uncertainty and damaging near-term prospects. We are determined to provide the necessary support to mitigate the impact, especially on the most vulnerable people and countries. We have called upon the IMF to use all its available financing instruments to help member countries in need," it added.
The international organization said it is confident that, "working together, we will overcome the challenge facing us and restore growth and prosperity for all".