IMF Lifts Global Forecast But Warns of Various Risks

Posted October 11, 2017

The IMF overturned a summer downgrade to forecast the United States economy would now grow by 2.2% this year, with total world growth expectations rising 0.1% to 3.6% as a "global cyclical upswing" continued.

"The global recovery is continuing, and at a faster pace", Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF's Economic Counsellor and Director of Research, told reporters at a news conference held at the International Monetary Fund headquarters ahead of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.

"Growth is expected to soften temporarily to 2.2 per cent in Australia, where housing investment and mining exports in the first half of the year were undermined by bad weather", the report says. "We see an accelerating cyclical upswing boosting Europe, China, Japan, and the United States, as well as emerging Asia".

In new forecasts published today, the organization predicts global growth to be 3.6% this year and 3.7% next year, a small upgrade from previous projections in July. The worldwide lending agency also notes that inflation remains worryingly low, a sign that the world economy still has not returned to full health in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

Speaking on Tuesday during the unveiling of the World Economic Outlook report at the organisation's headquarters in Washington, Maurice Obstfeld, IMF's chief economist, said rising political uncertainty had reduced consumer and business confidence in South Africa.

"Notably, we expect sub-Saharan Africa, where growth in per capita incomes has on average stalled for the past two years, to improve overall in 2018", he said.

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"The small downward revision for the 2018 growth forecast to 6.7 percent is in line with a steady growth path, given the likely growth outcome for 2017", IMF Resident Representative to the Philippines Yongzheng Yang told reporters in an e-mail.

However, IMF expects India's economy to recover sharply in 2018 to grow at 7.4%, though 30 basis points lower than its earlier estimate in April.

Russia's central bank has tried to reinvigorate the economy by gradually reducing the key interest rate, with its latest cut in September - the fourth this year - putting it at 8.5 percent.

A delay in infrastructure projects execution also risks having the additional revenues from the comprehensive tax reform program being diverted to other expenditure items with little growth potential, it added.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded its growth forecasts for all advanced economies except for the UK.

According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the IMF's positive outlook is based on expectations of improvement in global trade and larger import demand in China.