The IMF raised its global growth forecast for the first time in more than a year, with the U.S. boosting the outlook while recent improvements remain â€œvery fragile.â€
The world economy will expand 3.5 percent this year, compared with a January projection of 3.3 percent, the Washington-based IMF said today in its World Economic Outlook. It sees growth of 4.1 percent in 2013, up from 4.0 percent. It raised its forecasts for the U.S. to gains of 2.1 percent this year and 2.4 percent in 2013.
The report reflects the IMFâ€™s view that the euro area, while still facing an economic downturn and the â€œhard to quantifyâ€ potential risk of a countryâ€™s default, has stabilized since last year. The euro area economy is projected to decline by 0.3 percent in 2012, an improvement from the 0.5 percent in the IMFâ€™s previous forecast. China is projected to grow 8.2 percent and Japan 2 percent this year.
â€œFor the last six months the world economy has been on what is best described as a roller-coaster,â€ IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said at a briefing in Washington today. After European governments took measures to reassure markets, â€œan uneasy calm remains. One has the feeling that at any moment things could well get very bad again.â€
The IMF last raised its quarterly projection for world growth in January 2011, when it increased the forecast to 4.4 percent for that year from 4.2 percent.
The IMFâ€™s projections for the U.S. are below the median forecasts of 2.3 percent growth this year and 2.5 percent in 2013, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.