WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now expects global economic growth to "moderate slightly" this year as the risks to a balanced global recovery have become "even more pronounced," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Tuesday.
"We face a global recovery that remains 'hobbled' by the pandemic and its impact. We are unable to walk forward properly - it is like walking with stones in our shoes," Georgieva said in a virtual speech ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank scheduled next week.
"The most immediate obstacle is the 'Great Vaccination Divide' - too many countries with too little access to vaccines, leaving too many people unprotected from COVID," she said, adding countries remain deeply divided in their ability to support the recovery and invest for the future.
While the United States and China remain vital engines of global growth, in many other countries, growth continues to worsen, hampered by low access to vaccines and constrained policy response, said the IMF chief.
"Economic output in advanced economies is projected to return to pre-pandemic trends by 2022. But most emerging and developing countries will take many more years to recover," she said.
Georgieva also noted that headline inflation rates have increased rapidly in a number of countries and price pressures are expected to persist in some emerging and developing economies.
"One particular concern with inflation is the rise in global food prices - up by more than 30 percent over the past year. Together with rises in energy prices, this is putting further pressure on poorer families," she said.
Georgieva urged countries to accelerate vaccination to reach the targets put forward by the IMF and other international institutions, vaccinating at least 40 percent of people in every country by the end of this year and 70 percent by the first half of 2022.
"If we don't, large parts of the world will remain unvaccinated, and the human tragedy will continue. That would hold the recovery back," she said, adding global gross domestic product (GDP) losses could rise to 5.3 trillion U.S. dollars over the next five years.
The IMF is expected to release its updated World Economic Outlook next week. In July, the IMF maintained its global economic growth forecast at 6 percent for 2021, with economic prospects diverging further across countries.