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Lagarde cautious about growth momentum; infrastructure investment needed

Monday, July 7th 2014 - 07:10 UTC
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Lagarde said that the IMF did not expect a “brutal” slowdown in China, a market crucial for Latin America Lagarde said that the IMF did not expect a “brutal” slowdown in China, a market crucial for Latin America

Global economic activity should strengthen in the second half of the year and accelerate in 2015, although momentum could be weaker than expected, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said, hinting at a slight cut in the Fund's growth forecasts.

 Lagarde said central banks' accommodative policies may have only limited impact on demand and that countries should boost growth by investing in infrastructure, education and health, provided their debt stays sustainable.

The IMF's update of its global economic outlook, expected later this month, will be “very slightly different” from the forecasts published in April, she said. In April, the IMF had forecast that global output would grow by 3.6% in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015.

“Global activity is picking up but the momentum could be less strong than we had expected because potential growth is weaker and investment [...] remains subdued,” she told an economic conference in southern France.

Lagarde made a plea for more public investment, saying the “investment deficit” in both the public and private sectors was dragging down growth in most countries.

“Despite the many responses to the crisis ... recovery is modest, laborious, fragile, and measures to boost demand, despite the goodwill of central banks, will find their limits,” she said.

“We must therefore take steps to boost efforts to strengthen growth,” she added. “This is the opportunity in a number of countries to re-launch investment, without threatening the viability of public finances.”

Lagarde said several times in her speech that, although now could be the time for some countries to boost public investment, not all of them could afford to do so. The positive impact of public investment on growth could be strong enough to allow for some state projects without weighing on debt-to-GDP ratios, she said.

After a first quarter that was much more disappointing than expected, there was now a marked rebound in the US economy, she said. Growth should accelerate, said Lagarde, as long as the Federal Reserve's withdrawal from its easy monetary policy is orderly and there is a precise medium-term budget framework.

The Euro zone is slowly coming out of recession and it is crucial that countries continue to carry out reforms, including completing the banking union, she said.

Lagarde said the IMF did not expect a “brutal” slowdown in China.

“Looking at emerging Asian countries, and in particular China, we are reassured because we do not see a brutal slowdown but rather a slight slowing of a growth that has become [...] more sustainable and that we see at 7 to 7.5% this year”.

Top Comments

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  • ChrisR

    So the French crook in charge of the IMF is rowing back from the over optimistic guesses that she and all the other political appointees to IMF made up after “drinks” following an “important” meeting sometime somewhere?

    I detest this woman, almost as much as I detest TMBOA. Neither is worth listening too and both need a noose around their necks to make the world a better place for the rest of us.

    Jul 07th, 2014 - 12:49 pm 0
  • Britworker

    I quite like her, I'm sure she is who Jodie Foster modelled herself on for the film Elysium. She would have made a great EU president.

    Jul 07th, 2014 - 04:15 pm 0
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