IMF cuts world growth forecast


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its 2014 growth forecast for China, Australia's number one trading partner.

Updating its April World Economic Outlook on Tuesday, the IMF downgraded its world growth forecast for this year and next, driven to a large extent by "appreciably weaker" domestic demand and slower growth in several key emerging market economies.

The euro area is also expected to suffer a more protracted recession than earlier predicted.

The IMF urged policymakers everywhere to increase efforts to ensure robust growth.

"Weaker growth prospects and new risks raise new challenges to global growth and employment, and global rebalancing," the IMF warned.

It cut its world growth forecast for 2013 to 3.1 per cent and to 3.8 per cent for 2014, both 0.2 percentage points lower than it predicted in April.

For China, it now sees 2013 growth at 7.8 per cent, down 0.3 percentage points from previous, and 2014 growth at 7.7 per cent, an even larger 0.6 percentage point downgrade.

Forecasts for advanced economies that includes the G7 countries - US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, UK and Canada - were also trimmed.

While the Washington-based institution did not provide a separate new forecast for Australia, "other advanced economies" were cut by 0.1 percentage point for both 2013 and 2014 to 2.3 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.

"Downside risks to global growth prospects still dominate," the IMF warned.

"While old risks remain, new risks have emerged, including the possibility of a longer growth slowdown in emerging market economies, especially given risks of lower potential growth, slowing credit, and possibly tighter financial conditions."

The latter could result from an anticipated unwinding of monetary policy stimulus in the US.

Federal Treasurer Chris Bowen said the Australian economy was still expected to grow faster than advanced economies as a whole, both this year and next.

In the May budget, the government forecast growth of 2.75 per cent in the 2013/14 financial and three per cent in 2014/15.

Mr Bowen said while the IMF has revised down world growth forecasts, China and India are still forecast to grow at a solid rate in 2013.

India, another key Australian trading partner, was downgraded 0.2 percentage points to 5.6 per cent for 2013 and by 0.1 percentage point to 6.3 per cent for 2014.

"Australia is not immune from global economic and financial uncertainty," Mr Bowen said in a statement.

"This underlines the need for responsible settings and policies to help manage the transition underway in our economy, and to support productivity, jobs and growth in the face of ongoing global economic weakness."

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I would have thought these are cosmetic changes in forecasts. China's growth will still be around 8% a year and India’s around 6%. China’s growth is forecast to move downwards between 2013 and 2014, from 7.8% to 7.7%. I would have thought this was excellent and a continuation of that country's very strong growth, which is good for Australia. And India moves from 5.6% to 6.3%. The world is moving from 3.1% growth in 2013 to 3.8% in 2014. Anywhere around 4% is strong economic growth. Perhaps the article should have been titled “IMF forecasts strong economic recovery” instead of couching it in negative terms.
Hey old Crispy, I was speaking to my Indian business partner just yesterday. There is concern that the current quarter in India will show actual negative growth in GDP for the first time in decades. When I lived in India GDP growth was close to 10%. These "cosmetic" changes, as you call them, have been rolling our now by the IMF every quarter for the last year - every quarter in the past nine months they have been downgrading world growth numbers - and you can see from their report they consider the risks to be on the downside going forward. You only have to talk to any small business owner to find out how "good" our own economy is travelling - NOT.
I’m not sure where your Indian business partner gets his information from but I’ve just checked the news for India GDP and the current figures and immediate forecasts are all round 5-6%. World Bank is even more optimistic, with forecast growth of 6.7% in 2014-15. Barclays have it at 5.4% for 2013. India’s Central Statistical Organisation is coming up with similar numbers. If you have a look at, they’ve got numbers going back to 1951. Annual growth in GDP has been in negative territory three times, the last in 1980. Sure it was around 10% in the years before the GFC. But that sort of growth is never sustainable. Strong sustainable growth is perhaps around the 4% mark, maybe a little more for developing economies. The last five quarters for India (Mar qtr 12 to Mar qtr 13) are 5.3%, 5.5%, 5.3%, 4.7% and 4.8%. As I said above, IMF is forecasting 5.6% in 2013 and 6.3% in 2014, and the world from 3.1% to 3.8%. Also, business and consumer surveys nearly always come in under the actual data. Similarly, talking to small business owners will more than likely be the same. I guess we just live in a negative era. Everyone from the IMF to the Coalition to the media couches things is negative terms. Perhaps that’s the way to get publicity and readership. And it rubs off on the general public.