IMF warns of slowing global growth ahead

The International Monetary Fund has slightly upgraded its outlook for global growth this year on the back of resilient service sector activity in the first quarter and a strong labor market, the lender said Tuesday.

But despite the mildly better economic outlook, global growth is expected to slow to three percent this year and then stay there, held down by weak growth among the world’s advanced economies, the IMF announced in a new report.

“We’re not out of the woods yet and growth remains on the low side,” IMF Chief Economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told AFP in an interview ahead of the report’s publication.

The global growth forecast for this year was raised by 0.2 percentage points from the IMF’s last forecast in April, putting the world economy on track for three percent growth in both 2023 and 2024.

This is down from global economic growth of 6.3 percent in 2021, and 3.5 percent last year, the IMF announced in its update to the World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The IMF published its lowest medium-term forecast since the 1990s, citing slowing population growth and the end of the era of economic catch-up by several countries including China and South Korea.

On Tuesday, the IMF said the global inflation picture has improved somewhat, with consumer prices now forecast to increase by 6.8 percent this year, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous forecast in April.

This is “largely on account of subdued inflation in China,” the IMF said, adding that global inflation remains well above its pre-pandemic levels of around 3.5 percent.

‘Resilient’ US consumption
The IMF has lifted its outlook for US growth this year to 1.8 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from April, citing “resilient consumption growth in the first quarter.”

The still-tight labor market in the world’s largest economy “has supported gains in real income and a rebound in vehicle purchases,” the IMF said in its report.

The Fund sees US growth slipping to 1.0 percent next year, as savings accumulated during the pandemic dry up and the economy loses momentum.

“We are cautiously prudent that the US economy could avoid a recession and, you know, glide towards its inflation target without having a recession in its future,” Gourinchas told AFP.

“But it’s a very, very narrow path,” he added.

Asian economies still dominate
As with the April forecast, much of the global growth this year is forecast to come from emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) like India and China, with economic activity in advanced economies predicted to slow substantially this year and next.

Advanced economies are now forecast to grow by 1.5 percent this year, up 0.2 percentage points from April, and by 1.4 percent in 2024.

Citing positive recent economic news from the United Kingdom, the IMF has lifted the country’s forecast for 2023 growth to 0.4 percent, leaving Germany as the only G7 economy expected to contract this year.

the news is much more positive among the EMDEs, which are forecast to grow by 4.0 percent this year, and by 4.1 percent next year.

The IMF’s 2023 growth forecast for China remained unchanged at 5.2 percent, although it notes there has been a change in composition due to the underperformance of investment due to the country’s troubled real estate sector.

Alongside weakness in the real estate sector, the IMF said foreign demand remains weak and warned of rising and elevated youth unemployment, which reached almost 21 percent in May.

The IMF lifted India’s 2023 growth prospects to 6.1 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from April, citing “momentum from stronger-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 as a result of stronger domestic investment.”

The Fund now expects Russia’s economy to grow by 1.5 percent this year, an upward revision of 0.8 percentage points from April, due to stronger-than-expected economic data fueled by “a large fiscal stimulus.”

France 24

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