IMF posts brighter outlook for global growth

24 Jul 17

Global output is projected to grow by 3.5% in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018, the International Monetary Fund has said in its latest World Economic Outlook Update.

Director of research Maurice Obstfeld said the IMF had raised its forecasts for the euro area, Japan, China and emerging Asian economies generally and noted a particular improvement in Mexico.

But he said forecasts for the US had been revised downwards for 2017 and 2018 to 2.1% growth “as fiscal policy is less likely to be expansionary than expected”.

The UK also saw a lowered forecast “due to economic performance so far in 2017 and because the impact of Brexit remains unclear”, Obstfeld said.

He said the outlook globally was one of greater expansion than at any time in the past decade, but Latin America faced problems and in sub-Saharan Africa “growth is higher than expected but still barely above the level of population growth”.

The update said risks around the global growth forecasts “appear broadly balanced in the near term [but] they remain skewed to the downside over the medium term.

“On the upside, the cyclical rebound could be stronger and more sustained in Europe, where political risk has diminished. On the downside, rich market valuations and very low volatility in an environment of high policy uncertainty raise the likelihood of a market correction, which could dampen growth and confidence.”

Projected global growth rates for 2017-18, though higher than the 3.2% estimated for 2016, were below pre-crisis averages, “especially for most advanced economies and for commodity-exporting emerging and developing economies”, the IMF said.

Advanced economies faced excess capacity aging populations, weak investment, and slowly advancing productivity.

Commodity exporters should continue adjusting to lower revenues, while diversifying their sources of growth over time, the IMF recommended.

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