Indonesia's Mount Semeru volcano erupts, top alert status triggered

1 month ago Gulf Times

The BNPB said 1,979 people were taken to 11 shelters, with at least 6 villages affected by the eruption. Most residents in the two most-threatened villages have evacuated themselves, said Patria Dwi Hastiadi, spokesperson of the Lumajang Disaster Mitigation Agency. The local rescue agency distributed free masks to the public because of the threat of polluted air to vulnerable residents. Mount Semeru last erupted exactly one year ago, killing at least 51 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes. Semeru's alert status had remained at its second-highest level since its previous major eruption in December 2020, which also forced thousands to flee and left villages covered.
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Global economy faces tougher year in 2023, IMF warns

For much of the global economy, 2023 is going to be a tough year as the main engines of global growth — the United States, Europe and China — all experience weakening activity, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday.The new year is going to be “tougher than the year we leave behind,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on the CBS Sunday morning news programme Face the Nation.“Why? Because the three big economies — the US, EU and China — are all slowing down simultaneously,” she said.In October, the IMF cut its outlook for global economic growth in 2023, reflecting the continuing drag from the war in Ukraine as well as inflation pressures and the high interest rates engineered by central banks like the US Federal Reserve aimed at bringing those price pressures to heel.Since then, China has scrapped its zero-Covid policy and embarked on a chaotic reopening of its economy, though consumers there remain wary as coronavirus cases surge.In his first public comments since the change in policy, President Xi Jinping on Saturday called in a New Year’s address for more effort and unity as China enters a “new phase.”“For the first time in 40 years, China’s growth in 2022 is likely to be at or below global growth,” Georgieva said.Moreover, a “bushfire” of expected Covid infections there in the months ahead are likely to further hit its economy this year and drag on both regional and global growth, said Georgieva, who travelled to China on IMF business late last month.“I was in China last week, in a bubble in a city where there is zero Covid,” she said. “But that is not going to last once people start travelling.”“For the next couple of months, it would be tough for China, and the impact on Chinese growth would be negative, the impact on the region will be negative, the impact on global growth will be negative,” she said.In October’s forecast, the IMF pegged Chinese gross domestic product growth last year at 3.2% — on par with the fund’s global outlook for 2022.At that time, it also saw annual growth in China accelerating in 2023 to 4.4% while global activity slowed further.Her comments, however, suggest another cut to both the China and global growth outlooks may be in the offing later this month when the IMF typically unveils updated forecasts during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.Meanwhile, Georgieva said, the US economy is standing apart and may avoid the outright contraction that is likely to afflict as much as a third of the world’s economies.The “US is most resilient,” she said, and it “may avoid recession. We see the labour market remaining quite strong.”But that fact on its own presents a risk because it may hamper the progress the Fed needs to make in bringing US inflation back to its targeted level from the highest levels in four decades touched last year.Inflation showed signs of having passed its peak as 2022 ended, but by the Fed’s preferred measure, it remains nearly three times its 2% target.“This is a mixed blessing because if the labour market is very strong, the Fed may have to keep interest rates tighter for longer to bring inflation down,” Georgieva said.

25 days ago Gulf Times
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