IMF foresees global economy accelerating to 3.5 pct. in '17

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In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the International Monetary Fund cut its 2017 growth forecast for the region comprising the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan to 2.6 percent, down from the 3.1 percent projected in January.

The IMF's estimate for worldwide economic growth is 3.5 per cent for this year and 3.6 per cent for 2018, up from 3.1 per cent last year.

Growth in cross-border trade of goods and services this year - while still well below pre-crisis levels - is projected to almost double to 3.8%.

IHS Markit forecast the Philippine economy to grow 6.3 percent, citing the information technology and business process outsourcing industry and remittances from workers overseas as two key growth engines.

The IMF said the expected growth improvements for this year and the next are broadly based, although growth remains tepid in many advanced economies, while the export industry continues to struggle.

The May budget is set to forecast a surge in economic growth, much lower unemployment and a rebound in inflation, according to a "sneak preview" released by the International Monetary Fund Wednesday morning in Washington.

"Public spending is expected to rise, as the fiscal-deficit target has been increased to 3 percent of GDP in 2017 and provide a stimulus to economic activity", Peiris said.

The IMF, whose spring meetings with the World Bank get underway in Washington this week, forecast that the global economy would grow 3.5 percent in 2017, up from its previous forecast of 3.4 percent in January.

However, Obstfeld said the global economy seems to be gaining momentum.

He added that commodity prices "have firmed since early 2016, but at low levels, and many commodity exporters remain challenged - notably in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America".

"At the same time, a combination of adverse weather conditions and civil unrest threaten several low-income countries with mass starvation". They include "the threat of deepening geopolitical tensions", the possibility that rising USA interest rates will squeeze economic growth and rattle financial markets and the threat that protectionist measures will damage global trade.

The global economy is expected to grow 3.5 percent in 2017, up from 3.1 percent past year, and 3.6 percent in 2018.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said that there is a critical need for more worldwide cooperation.

In October 2016, the same organisation said it thought the United Kingdom economy would expand by just 0.9% in 2017 - six months later, that predicted growth rate has doubled. "On the other hand, the world economy still faces headwinds", Obstfeld said.

Moreover, spillovers from slower growth in China or higher global financial volatility should be manageable for the Philippines because of its strong economic fundamentals, ample policy space, and limited trade and financial linkages with China, Peiris said.

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