IMF trims UK growth forecast for this year

24 Jul 17

The United Kingdom has seen its growth forecast downgraded by the International Monetary Fund in the latest World Economic Outlook Update.

Along with the United States, the UK was among very few parts of the world to see more pessimistic projections from the fund.

UK growth forecasts were put at 1.7% for 2017 and 1.5% for 2018, respectively down by 0.3% and unchanged from the IMF’s April projections.

Director of research Maurice Obstfeld said the UK had a lowered forecast “due to economic performance so far in 2017 and because the impact of Brexit remains unclear”.

The IMF raised its forecasts for the euro area, Japan, China and emerging Asian economies generally and noted a particular improvement in Mexico.

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

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.

The former 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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