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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

GOP operatives accused of funneling Russian cash to Trump

Jesse Benton, spokesman for the Ron Paul campaign, speaking to reporters in the spin room after the CNN Debate on January 1, 2012. Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

A former senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul was indicted this month for allegedly funneling $25,000 from a wealthy, unnamed Russian to former President Trump's reelection efforts.

The big picture: The Justice Department alleges that Jesse Benton, 43, the husband of Paul's niece and a veteran Republican staffer, orchestrated a scheme to conceal the illegal foreign donation with another GOP operative, Doug Wead.

Biden to raise refugee admissions cap to 125,000

Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden administration will raise the refugee admissions cap to 125,000 for the next fiscal year beginning in October, the State Department confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The move comes as the U.S. contends with resettling tens of thousands of Afghan refugees stateside, and as the world faces "unprecedented global displacement and humanitarian needs," the department wrote.

Wall Street's wobble disrupts record stock market boom

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Monday interrupted a stretch of calm amid the historic stock market boom underway since March 2020.

Driving the news: Jitters were apparent nearly everywhere.