IMF World Economic Outlook sees growth as sluggish

Global growth continues, but at a sluggish pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to risks, says the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest World Economic Outlook.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook 2016  forecasts global growth at 3.2 per cent in 2016 and 3.5 per cent in 2017, a downward revision of 0.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively, compared with the January 2016 update.

In a recent speech, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that the recovery remains too slow, too fragile, with the risk that persistent low growth can have damaging effects on the social and political fabric of many countries.

“Lower growth means less room for error,” said Maurice Obstfeld, IMF economic counsellor and director of research. “Persistent slow growth has scarring effects that themselves reduce potential output and with it, demand and investment,” he said..

Growth in advanced economies is projected to remain modest at about two per cent, according to the IMF report. The recovery is hampered by weak demand, partly held down by unresolved crisis legacies, as well as unfavorable demographics and low productivity growth.

In the United States, expected growth this year is flat at 2.4 per cent, with a modest increase in 2017. Domestic demand will be supported by improving government finances and a stronger housing market that help offset the drag on net exports coming from a strong dollar and weaker manufacturing.

In the euro area, low investment, high unemployment, and weak balance sheets weigh on growth, which will remain modest at 1.5 per cent this year and 1.6 per cent next year, according to the IMF report.

In Japan, both growth and inflation are weaker than expected, reflecting in particular a sharp fall in private consumption. Growth is projected to remain at 0.5 per cent in 2016 before turning slightly negative to -0.1 per cent in 2017, as the scheduled increase in the consumption tax rate goes into effect.

While emerging markets and developing economies will still account for the lion’s share of world growth in 2016, prospects across countries remain uneven and generally weaker than over the past two decades, the IMF said.

The report projects their growth rate to increase only modestly—relative to 2015—to 4.1 per cent this year and 4.6 per cent next year.

The IMF foresees GDP growth of 2.3 per cent for Bulgaria in 2016 and expects the pace of improvement of the economy to remain unchanged in 2017.

(Photo: Photo: Piotr Lewandowski/



The Sofia Globe staff

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