While the "sun is still shining" on the global economy, clouds could be looming over the horizon, warned Tao Zhang, a deputy managing director for the International Monetary Fund.
Speaking with CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche on Thursday, Zhang said there are currently three big challenges facing the global economy: tensions on the trade front, fiscal and financial risk, and the ongoing struggle to attain inclusive growth.
As trade tensions mount between the U.S. and China, Zhang said there are numerous models attempting to assess both the impacts of a potential trade war as well as the effectiveness of possible mitigation measures.
Zhang acknowledged, however, that the reality of the situation could be "much more complicated" than predicted by models, adding that the fundamentals all point to the resolution of trade disagreements through a cooperative approach.
Otherwise, he said, any escalations in trade tensions would result in a loss for the global economy "one way or the other."
Zhang has worked as the IMF's executive director for China, and as a deputy governor at the People's Bank of China.