Global growth bolstered by US

BY Richard Summerfield

Donald’s Trump ascent to the presidency in the US caught many off guard, and though a number of the president-elect’s policies caused concern during the bruising race to the White House, his planned tax cuts and public spending increases will see global growth pick up faster than previously expected in the coming months, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) twice yearly Economic Outlook.

The OECD’s outlook suggests that the US is expected to be the best performing large advanced economy in 2017, growing 2.3 percent, with the eurozone growing 1.6 percent, and the UK just 1.2 percent. Only 1 percent growth is predicted in Japan. Furthermore, US growth is forecast to improve to 3 percent in 2018, the highest rate since 2005, as tax cuts on businesses and households come into effect and the administration’s infrastructure investment programme begins in earnest.

During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump pledged to boost infrastructure investment in the US by as much as $1 trillion. Though the new administration’s willingness to invest in infrastructure development has won the approval of the Paris-based think-tank, the OECD has distanced itself from another of Mr Trump’s often repeated policy positions: withdrawing from international trade agreements. It is these agreements, the OECD argues, that will help return strong growth to the global economy.

Fiscal initiatives, though, will play a key role in delivering greater global growth. “The global economy has the prospect of modestly higher growth, after five years of disappointingly weak outcomes,” said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría, while launching the Outlook. “In light of the current context of low interest rates, policymakers have a unique window of opportunity to make more active use of fiscal levers to boost growth and reduce inequality without compromising debt levels. We urge them to do so.”

An extraordinarily accommodating monetary policy, will, according to the OECD, be the primary means by which the global economy will be boosted, although the think-tanks’s endorsement does not provide governments with a “blank cheque”, said Mr Gurria. Amid persistently low interest rates, policymakers have the opportunity to boost growth by utilising expansionary fiscal initiatives. According to the OECD, fiscal measures such as “high-quality infrastructure investment, innovation, education and skills” may lead to higher growth by 2018.

Report: Economic Outlook

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