Major nations upbeat about global economy

Associated Press

Washington, April 26:

Despite worries about high oil prices and Middle East unrest, the world’s major industrial countries expressed optimism about the global economy, contending the world was poised for strong growth this year and next. However, in an effort to deal with the rising violence, the Group of Seven (G7) major industrial countries on Saturday pledged economic support to rebuild the war-torn economies of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Gaza. The G-7 nations - the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - struck an upbeat tone in a joint communique issued as part of a weekend of financial discussions centred around the spring meetings of the 184-nation International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. US treasury secretary John Snow, who led the discussions along with Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, said there was a feeling of shared optimism in the group, reflecting a belief that strong growth in the US, powered by president George W Bush’s tax cuts, was helping to boost the global economy.

“There was a clear sense that improvement is being made and the balance of risks was more favorable than the environment we faced three months ago or six months ago,” he said. British chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown agreed, saying, “It is a recovery that is strengthening and is becoming more broad based.” In their communique, the G-7 ministers said that prospects for the global economy were favourable. “Although risks remain, such as energy prices, overall the balance of risks to the outlook has improved,” it said.