Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Tuesday, 29 January 2008

IMF lowers global growth forecast

By Andrew Walker
Economics correspondent, BBC World Service

IMF logo
The IMF lowered its 2008 forecast to 4.8% in October 2007

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for global economic growth this year.

But the revised predictions are still well short of being a global recession. The IMF's chief economist calls it a significant global slowdown.

For the major developed economies, the IMF predicts continued, but much weaker, growth this year.

The new forecast for global economic growth this year is 4.1%, after nearly 5% last year.

There is a very sluggish period ahead for the main rich countries.

By the final quarter of this year, annual growth in the US will be below 1%, according to the IMF.

Market turmoil

Developing economies are predicted to grow more slowly than last year, though still quite robustly in many cases.

The report also warns of risks from financial market turmoil, which could mean 2008 turns out worse than its main forecast.

Those problems could affect spending in the rich countries and make for more significant spillovers to developing countries.

In any event, the IMF's economists said that talk of de-coupling - the idea that the world is independent of what happens in the US - was "greatly exaggerated".

One exception to the pattern of slowing growth in the forecast is Africa.

IMF economists say that reflects high prices for many of the commodities exported by African countries, improved economic polices and the fact that the continent is less exposed than Asia, for example, to problems in international financial markets.





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