IMF dims global growth forecast through next year

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that it sees slower global growth in 2013 and 2014 than it did just three months ago, citing expectations of a slowdown in key developing countries such as China and Brazil and a more protracted recession in Europe.

The international lending agency released an update of its World Economic Outlook issued in April, projecting the world economy will grow at 3.1 percent this year, down from a 3.3 forecast three months ago. The 2014 projection was cut to 3.8 percent from 4.0 percent.

‘‘The world economy remains in a three-speed mode,’’ said Olivier Blanchard, IMF director of research. ‘‘Emerging markets are still growing rapidly. The US recovery is steady, but much of Europe continues to struggle,’’ he said.


Blanchard said growth almost everywhere is a bit weaker than forecast in April, but downward revisions are particularly noticeable in developing countries.

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The IMF said the possibility of a more drawn-out slowdown in developing countries is a new risk that has emerged since April. Blanchard noted a clear downward trend in China, Russia, Brazil, and India and attributed it to slowdowns in domestic demand and consumption but also to weaker exports because of sluggishness in advanced economies.

China’s 2013 forecast was scaled back to 7.8 compared to 8.1 in April. For 2014, it fell to 7.7 from 8.3 percent.

The IMF said the world’s second-largest economy has become unbalanced with too much investment and too little consumption. That investment, largely financed through China’s shadow banking system, has grown rapidly during the global financial crisis of the past few years.

In addition to slowing growth, China is seeing a credit squeeze as it tries to tackle the hazards of looming debts that are not reported on bank balance sheets but lurk throughout the country’s murky, still developing financial system. That off-balance-sheet lending, or shadow financing, could threaten financial stability if not reined in.


Still China’s expected growth of nearly 8 percent annually is still very robust compared to advanced economies.

Another potential drag on global growth is the possibility that the United States will start tapering its extraordinary stimulus program of bond-buying. The Fed program — known as quantitative easing — has injected more $2 trillion into financial markets since late 2008 and kept borrowing costs down.

With markets already anticipating the tapering, the IMF said some developing countries are already feeling the effects in the form of falling share prices and depreciating currencies.

The US economy also looks weaker than previously expected, the IMF said, citing tight fiscal and financial conditions.