IMF slashes growth forecast again

BY Richard Summerfield

In light of increasing gloom in the commodities space, the International Monetary Fund has once again downgraded its forecast for global economic growth.

In its latest half yearly report, the IMF reduced its prediction of global growth to 3.1 percent from the 3.3 percent predicted in July. This marks the weakest global performance since the nadir of the financial crisis in 2009. The IMF also reduced its growth figure for 2016 from 3.8 to 3.6 percent, a further indication of the gathering gloom. It expects growth in China to slow to 6.8 percent this year and 6.3 percent in 2016.

"We see that in the near-term global growth will remain moderate and uneven, and we see higher downside risks than in July," IMF Economic Counsellor Maurice Obstfeld said at a news conference at the commencement of the IMF’s program of autumn meetings in Lima, Peru. "The holy grail of robust and synchronised global expansion remains elusive."

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook report predicts that the US will have the strongest growth of the leading G7 industrial nations in both 2015 and 2016, with 2.6 percent and 2.8 percent respectively. The UK is likely to be the second fastest growing G7 nation, although it will slow from 2.5 to 2.2 percent according to the IMF.

These adjustments have been largely predicated on volatility in the commodities market. With commodity prices weakening – especially over the last month or so – the global economy has suffered, primarily in the emerging markets. China has endured a particularly turbulent few months.

Going forward, the emerging economies will continue to be the hardest hit areas, according to the IMF. They are set to grow by just 4 percent in 2015. "Downside risks to growth for emerging market and developing economies have increased, given the risks to China's growth transition, more protracted commodity market rebalancing, increased foreign exposure of corporate balance sheets and capital flow reversals associated with disruptive asset price shifts", notes the report.

Report: IMF World Economic Outlook

©2001-2016 Financier Worldwide Ltd. All rights reserved.