WASHINGTON–The International Monetary Fund has lowered its outlook for the world economy this year, predicting that government spending cuts will slow US growth and keep the euro currency alliance in recession.The global lending organisation cut its forecast for global growth to 3.3 per cent this year, down from its forecast in January of 3.5 per cent. It didn't alter its prediction of four per cent global growth in 2014.
The IMF expects the US economy to expand 1.9 per cent this year. That's below its January estimate of 2.1 per cent and last year's US growth of 2.2 per cent.Still, the IMF says the US economy is improving and should expand three per cent in 2014. US job growth has accelerated, the housing market is recovering and banks are more willing to lend.The IMF predicts that the 17-country eurozone will shrink 0.3 per cent in 2013 and grow only 1.1 per cent in 2014.
The fund issued its latest World Economic Outlook on Tuesday in advance of the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington later this week. Finance ministers from the G-20, a group of developed and large developing countries, will also meet.
On Monday, renewed worries about the global economy contributed to a plunge in the stock market. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 265 points, the biggest one-day decline since November 7. Monday's drop was triggered partly by a report of slower growth in China, the world's second-largest economy after the United States.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said in a speech last week that the agenda for the meetings will include how to accelerate growth, create jobs and reform banking regulations.
The impact of government spending cuts and tax increases in the US and other countries will also likely be a topic of this week's talks in Washington beginning Thursday. During a visit to Berlin last week, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged European officials to focus on policies that would encourage economic growth, rather than simply cutting deficits.
Developing countries may raise concerns at the G-20 about efforts by the US Federal Reserve and Japan's central bank to stimulate their economies by buying more government bonds and other assets. Those moves can lower the value of the dollar and yen, which can make US and Japanese exports cheaper overseas. That prospect has raised fears that other countries will take similar steps.
The IMF said worries about so-called "currency wars" are "overblown." The world's major currencies aren't excessively undervalued or overvalued, the IMF said in its report.