In its regular update to its World Economic Forecast the International Monetary Fund has upped it forecast for global growth to 3.6% in 2017–the world economy grew by 3.2% in 2016–and to 3.7% in 2018. Both these growth rates are above the average for this decade and are, in fact, a reversion to the average of the past 30 years. The forecast is up 0.1 percentage point higher for each of 2017 and 2018 from the July forecast and would be the highest growth rate since 2011.
The global upgrade to growth rests largely on the improved prospects for growth in the EuroZone and in China. On the other hand, the IMF downgraded its estimate for economic growth in the United States on falling prospects, in the IMF’s view, for fiscal stimulus from the Trump administration. The IMF had already cut its growth forecast for the U.S. economy to 2.1% for both 2017 and 2018 in its July forecast from an earlier 2.3% in 2017 and 2.5% in 2018.
The IMF report had other negative news too. The higher forecast for growth in China came as the Fund decided that the rebalancing of China’s economy toward services and consumption would run at a slower pace than previously assumed and on forecasts of higher debt in China. All of which, the IMF warns, implies a higher risk of a sharp slowdown in China’s growth.
The IMF puts the odds of a recession next year in Japan at 40%, a slight drop from April’s forecast, and lowered the odds of a recession in the EuroZone and in Latin America’s five largest economies. The odds of a recession in the United States next year climbed slightly from April to slightly less than 25%.