IMF Global Growth Revised Down in 2015

globThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a new 2015 world economic outlook that revised global growth 0.3 percent lower despite cheaper international oil and faster U.S. growth.

The IMF projects moderate global growth in 2015 at 3.5 percent, down 0.3 percent from their 3.8 percent forecast in October 2014.

“Even with the sharp oil decline, a net positive for global growth, world economic outlook is still subdued, weighed down by underlying weakness elsewhere” the IMF wrote in their latest global outlook.

The IMF forecasts 2016 global growth to rise 0.2 percent at 3.7 percent.

Among the major global economies showing considerable weakness in 2015 is oil exporter Russia whose 2015 GDP growth forecast was downgraded to -3.0 percent as a result of sharply lower oil prices and increased geopolitical tensions.

“At the country level, the cross currents make for a complicated picture,” said Olivier Blanchard, IMF Economic Counselor and Director of Research.

“It means good news for oil importers, bad news for oil exporters. Good news for commodity importers, bad news for exporters. Continuing struggles for the countries which show scars of the crisis, and not so for others. Good news for countries more linked to the euro and the yen, bad news for those more linked to the dollar.” Blanchard said.

The IMF wrote that the boost to demand from lower oil prices is welcome but central bankers around the globe need to remain accommodative.

“Monetary policy must then stay accommodative to prevent real interest rates from rising, including through other means if policy rates cannot be reduced further” the IMF stated.

China

The IMF projects China’s GDP growth forecast under 7 percent at 6.8 percent due to a combination of slowing outside investment and Chinese authorities putting greater weight on reducing vulnerabilities from recent rapid credit and investment growth.

The IMF forecast expects less of a policy response to the underlying moderation.

Today China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that China’s 2014 GDP reached 7.4 percent, the slowest rate of growth in 24 years, and slightly below their target of 7.5 percent.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, China’s GDP came in at 7.3 percent, matching the result in the 3rd quarter but lower than 7.5 percent in the second quarter and 7.4 percent in the first quarter

Euro Area

The IMF wrote that weaker investment prospects also hold back growth in the 19 member euro area.

The euro area growth forecast for 2015 was revised downward to 1.2 percent “despite the support from lower oil prices, further monetary policy easing, a more neutral fiscal policy stance, and the recent euro depreciation” the IMF wrote.

Euro area growth forecast for 2016 is 1.4 percent.

In 2014 the euro area saw 0.8 percent GDP growth.

Japan

The IMF said that Japan’s growth forecast for 2015 was revised down to 0.6 percent although they admitted that “policy responses, together with the oil price boost and yen depreciation, are expected to strengthen growth in 2015–16”.

In 2016 Japan’s GDP growth is expected to rise to 0.8 percent.

United States

The IMF revised GDP growth in the United States upwards to 3.6 percent in 2015 due to a much stronger private domestic demand but their projection for growth in 2016 is noticeably lower at 3.3 percent.

“Cheaper oil is boosting real incomes and consumer sentiment, and there is continued support from accommodative monetary policy, despite the projected gradual rise in interest rates” the IMF wrote.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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