Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 15:55 UK

How the forecasters got it wrong

The severity of the global economic downturn was not anticipated by policymakers.

As a result they took relatively little corrective action in the early stages of the crisis, hoping markets would correct themselves.

Even at the height of the global financial panic, the International Monetary Fund, whose role is surveillance of the global economic system, was still forecasting only a mild slowdown.

Forecasts were rapidly revised downwards during the first half of 2009 - and now are being revised upwards again, as optimism has returned.

How the IMF forecasters got it wrong

April 2008
Despite the fact that the credit crunch started in August 2007, many months later, most forecasters were focused on the spike in oil and food prices and the threat to inflation.
October 2008
The IMF made a remarkably optimistic forecast at its annual meeting in the midst of the global meltdown.
January 2009
As the global effects of the crisis became evident, the IMF sharply revised its world economic forecast.
April 2009
At the nadir of the crisis, the IMF predicted that world growth would be negative for the first time in 60 years.
July 2009
As the crisis eased in response to unprecedented stimulus measures, the IMF revised its forecast upwards for the first time.
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