Australian Treasury officials say the latest "sobering" global economic
forecasts show there is a need for countries to act early and use bold measures
to boost growth. Figures released by the International Monetary Fund show it
expects world growth to grind to a virtual, halt this year. Australia is
planning another multi-billion dollar stimulus package to help revive its
The International Monetary Fund, which oversees the
world economy, has said that global growth is likely to rise by just a .05
percent this year - the lowest since the end of World War II - down from a
November prediction of 2.2 percent.
In Australia, a decade-and-a-half of
unprecedented economic prosperity is grinding to a halt, amid Asia's fading
appetite for its mining resources.
Analysts believe Australia is on
the brink of recession and with unemployment at a two-year high, the government
is considering another massive injection of public funds to revive an ailing
Late last year, Canberra gave away $5.5 billion (US) to
pensioners and families, in an attempt to stimulate demand for goods and
With the International Monetary Fund predicting more gloom
ahead, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan says the domestic economy will need more
"There is a very strong case for overwhelming force to
be used in terms of direct stimulus to nations around the world," he
Australia's decline follows similar problems among its regional
Demand for goods made in Asia has slumped, amid the deepening
global crisis. China's exports in December fell by almost three percent, the
biggest decline in a decade. Singapore's export trade also posted its worst
performance for seven years.
Government officials in India say its
exporters have recently cut a million jobs, as key markets in the U.S. and
Europe suffer significant slowdowns.
The head of the Asia Development
Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, has warned that 2009 will be a bad year for Asia, with
Japan's economy sliding further into reverse, while growth in China slowing to
between seven and eight percent.
New Zealand's central bank has cut
interest rates by 1.5 percentage points, in an attempt to stop the recession-hit
economy from sliding deeper into negative growth.