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WASHINGTON: Many countries may need debt restructuring in the aftermath of the global coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund's chief economist said Tuesday.

Gita Gopinath told an online event hosted by the University of Oxford that there was no debt crisis at the moment, but there would be a "much more persistent need for debt relief for the poorer nations of this world" given the pandemic.

Given that about 40% of low income countries were already in debt distress or at high risk of getting there, with the number growing, she said there could well be "a need for debt restructuring in many countries".