Is IMF relocation to China imminent?
Is the relocation of the International Monetary Fund's headquarters from Washington to China imminent?
If the founding rules of the IMF, which say that the fund must shift its base to the world's largest economy, is still applicable, such a scenario cannot be ruled out, say analysts, including Dr Shashi Tharoor, India's Congress Party leader and Member of Parliament.
They believe that the unprecedented tectonic shifts brought about by Covid-19 in the global economic hierarchy warrants such a possibility that China will overtake the US as the world's No.1 in the not-so-distant future.
The latest projections by the IMF that China will be the only major global economy to record a growth while the rest of the world, including the current global economic superpower US, would contract, has triggered a wave of speculation and assumptions that there is indeed a big possibility as per the IMF's founding rules.
Dr Tharoor, a former United Nations undersecretary and a prominent think-tank and writer, has ignited the speculation with his tweet.
"The International Monetary Fund's by-laws specify that its headquarters will be located in the world's largest economy. For 75 years this placed it in Washington, DC. With the way the US & Chinese economies are moving after #Covid-19, is the IMF's relocation to Beijing imminent?"
In the latest World Economic Outlook report, the IMF has projected China's economy, already the second-largest in nominal terms and the largest on purchasing power parity basis, to grow by 1.9 per cent this year, 0.9 percentage points above the IMF's June forecast projecting a positive growth despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The US economy is expected to contract 4.3 per cent in 2020. China's growth will accelerate to 8.4 per cent next year, compared to 3.1 per cent for the US.
As per the IMF's WEO, global GDP is expected to shrink 4.4 per cent this year, an improvement from the 4.9 per cent drop predicted in June. Next year, the IMF sees growth of 5.2 per cent.
According to Investopedia's estimate for 2019, while in nominal GDP, the US at $21.44 trillion is still ahead of China at $14.14 trillion, the Asian superpower is way ahead in GDP based on purchasing power parity at $27.31 trillion versus that of the US at$21.44 trillion.
Some reports even say China may already have overtaken the US as the world's largest economy. The proportion of worldwide growth coming from China is expected to increase from 26.8 per cent in 2021 to 27.7 per cent in 2025, according to calculations based on IMF data.
The IMF, along with the World Bank, was founded in 1945 at an international conference convened in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, following World War II to help rebuild the global economy ravaged by the conflict.