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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In January 2018, coming off of a year in which global growth rose to near 4%, then-IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the global economy was experiencing "the broadest synchronized global growth upsurge since 2010" and that "all signs point to a continuous strengthening."

The latest: On Tuesday, the IMF said it expects global growth to slow to the weakest pace since the 2008 global financial crisis, noting the decline would be a significant drop from its 2017-18 levels.

  • It was the third time this year the organization has cut its growth projections and the fourth time since 2018, when the Fund anticipated 3.9% growth this year.

What we're hearing: "With uncertainty about prospects for several of these countries, a projected slowdown in China and the United States, and prominent downside risks, a much more subdued pace of global activity could well materialize," IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said at a press conference announcing the Fund's World Economic Outlook and revised projections.

The big picture: The biggest factor weighing on global growth is the U.S.-China trade war launched by President Trump in April 2018, which Gopinath and the IMF expect will cost the world 0.8% in GDP losses this year.

  • Even its latest watered-down growth predictions are optimistic and rely on some against-the-grain expectations: that Brexit will be resolved in an orderly fashion, the U.S.-China trade war will wind down and other geopolitical conflicts will cool.

Watch this space: The 3% number is particularly important because Gopinath projects that if growth were to slow to 2.5%, "that’s a scenario where several countries are in recession."

Threat level: The global economy already is in "a synchronized slowdown," IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said at a recent news conference.

The bottom line: To keep the global economy from falling into a recession, "policymakers must undo the trade barriers put in place with durable agreements, rein in geopolitical tensions, and reduce domestic policy uncertainty," Gopinath said.

  • There are few who expect that to happen.

Go deeper: A synchronized global slowdown

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker
7 hours ago - Sports

Novak Djokovic loses Australian visa appeal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.

Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.