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World economies engulfed by financial storm, call for joint action
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Bleak outlook

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s latest projections put global economic growth, which stood at 5 percent last year, at 3.7percent in 2008 and an even weaker 2.2 percent next year.

In the United States, the epicenter of the financial meltdown, the economy is projected to moderate from last year's 2 percent to just 0.1 percent in 2009, the worst showing since 1991.

The U.S. economy "is likely to contract in the current quarter and into early 2009," the IMF said in its semi-annual World Economic Outlook report last month, indicating that the United States is already in recession -- defined by contraction for two straight quarters.

The U.S. economy is likely to worsen as financial institutions strengthen their lending rules, leading to liquidity problems. Financial stress has emerged in U.S. industries ranging from housing and cars to wholesale.

The IMF also forecast a "significant slowdown" in economic growth across Europe. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is expected to contract by 0.8 percent next year.

Meanwhile, growth in Japan will cool to 0.7 percent this year from 2.1 percent in 2007.

"The major advanced economies are already in or close to recession," said the IMF.

Growth in emerging and developing economies is also expected toslow significantly to about 5.1 percent in 2009, according to the IMF.

"With a recession now looking increasingly likely, the key questions are, how deep will the downturn be, when will a recovery get under way and how strong will it be," the IMF noted.

World Bank Chief Economist Lin Yifu told Xinhua that despite various "unprecedented" stimulus plans of the United States and European nations, recession in those countries seems "inevitable."

Meanwhile, the financial crisis has raised grave concern over such issues as food security, trade protectionism and poverty, especially in the emerging and poor economies.

Recession in rich countries is likely to lead to a cut in foreign investment and economic aid to emerging economies, which are already facing declining export, usually a propeller for their economic growth, analysts say.

As both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank chief Robert Zoellick pointed out, more actions are needed to prevent the world financial crisis from turning into a "human crisis."

International cooperation

As the financial turmoil deepens, the international community has been calling for intensive cooperation to tide over the crisis.

Rich nations and emerging economies alike have taken extraordinary measures to stabilize financial markets and stimulate the economy.

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