IMF paints rosy outlook for global economy

Associated Press

Washington, April 22:

International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning that its projections of stronger growth for the global economy could change if there are new terrorist attacks or a spike in oil prices.

Finance ministers and central bankers from around the world were converging this weekend on Washington to discuss prospects for the global economy, outlined in the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook, and whether more must be done to help the poorest nations. Anne Krueger, acting head of the IMF, and James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, planned separate news conferences today to discuss these topics and start the talks.

“With global trade rising sharply, financial markets buoyant and the US economy rebounding, the balance of risks has significantly improved,” the IMF report stated, “In the short run it is possible that global growth may be higher than projected, although geopolitical risks — including terrorist attacks — and oil prices have become increasing concerns.”

The IMF raised its forecast for world economic growth to 4.6 per cent in 2004 and 4.4 per cent in 2005, or 0.6 per cent higher than its last forecast in September.

The improvement reflects stronger-than-expected performances by the United States, Japan, Britain, Russia and developing countries in Asia. The weekend talks include a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s seven largest industrialised nations - the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - to review the current state of the global economy.

US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and treasury secretary John Snow are hosts for the G-7 talks. As usual, protest groups plan demonstrations against the World Bank and IMF, which were created at the end of World War II and turn 60 this year.

Protesters held an ‘Unhappy Birthday’ party yesterday in a park across the street from the police-protected headquarters of both institutions.