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Updated IMF forecast sees more growth

“Much work remains to be done,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said Tuesday.

Mike Theiler/Reuters/File 2013

“Much work remains to be done,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said Tuesday.

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund is slightly more optimistic about the global and US economies this year than it was three months ago.

In an outlook released Tuesday, the global lending organization forecast that the world economy will grow 3.7 percent in 2014 and that the US economy will grow 2.8 percent. The global forecast is 0.1 percentage point higher and the US forecast 0.2 point higher than the October forecast.

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After a sluggish start, global economic growth picked up in the second half of 2013. As a result, growth amounted to 3 percent last year. The IMF expects it will be even stronger growth this year.

‘‘The recovery is indeed strengthening, but as we have said many times in the past, much work remains to be done,’’ IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said Tuesday during a conference call.

The IMF forecasts that the US economy grew 1.9 percent last year. And its 2.8 percent forecast for this year would match US growth in 2012. Part of the anticipated improvement is based on expectations for less drag from higher US taxes and across-the-board spending cuts.

By 2015, the IMF forecast the US economy will grow 3 percent, or 0.4 percentage point lower than its October forecast. The IMF reduced its outlook because a recent budget agreement left in place most of the spending cuts. The IMF had expected most of those cuts to have been eliminated.

For the countries in Europe using the common euro currency, the IMF forecasts stronger growth. Economic activity shrank 0.7 percent in 2012 and 0.4 percent in 2013. But this year the IMF projects 1 percent growth and 1.4 percent in 2015.

Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, will grow 1.6 percent this year, it projects, up from 0.5 percent growth in 2013. China is expected to grow 7.5 percent in 2014 and 7.3 percent in 2015. For Japan, the IMF forecast growth of 1.7 percent this year, the same as 2013, but a slowdown to 1 percent growth in 2015.

The IMF said that the United States and other major economies should be careful not to pull back prematurely on the economic support being provided by the Federal Reserve and other central banks because unemployment remains high and inflation low.

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