IMF: Global Growth Forecast for 2017 Remains at 3.5%

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund said that global output is projected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018.

The unchanged global growth projections mask somewhat different contributions at the country level. U.S. growth projections are lower than in April, primarily reflecting the assumption that fiscal policy will be less expansionary going forward than previously anticipated.

Growth has been revised up for Japan and especially the euro area, where positive surprises to activity in late 2016 and early 2017 point to solid momentum.

China’s growth projections have also been revised up, reflecting a strong first quarter of 2017 and expectations of continued fiscal support. Inflation in advanced economies remains subdued and generally below targets; it has also been declining in several emerging economies, such as Brazil, India, and Russia.

Broadly Balanced Risks

While risks around the global growth forecast appear broadly balanced in the near term, they remain skewed to the downside over the medium term, says the IMF.

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. The more supportive policy tilt in China, especially strong credit growth, comes with rising downside risks to medium-term growth.

Monetary policy normalization in some advanced economies, notably the United States, could trigger a faster-than-anticipated tightening in global financial conditions. And other risks discussed in the April 2017 WEO, including a turn toward inward-looking policies and geopolitical risks, remain salient.

Projected global growth rates for 2017–18, though higher than the 3.2 percent estimated for 2016, are below pre-crisis averages, especially for most advanced economies and for commodity-exporting emerging and developing economies.

Among the former, many face excess capacity as well as headwinds to potential growth from aging populations, weak investment, and slowly advancing productivity. In view of weak core inflation and muted wage pressures, policy settings should remain consistent with lifting inflation expectations in line with targets, closing output gaps, and—where appropriate—external rebalancing.

Reforms to boost potential output are of the essence, and slow aggregate output growth makes it even more important that gains are shared widely across the income distribution. Financial stability risks need close monitoring in many emerging economies. Commodity exporters should continue adjusting to lower revenues, while diversifying their sources of growth over time.

 

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