International Monetary Fund raises forecast for United Kingdom economic growth to 2% in 2017

The report warns of the "significant downside risks" to the outlook, which have gotten worse since January - among them, "the turn towards protectionism, leading to trade warfare", Obstfeld said in the foreword of the report.

Morocco's economic growth is forecast to jump from 1.5 percent last year to 4.4 percent this year, while Tunisia's economy is seen expanding by 2.5 percent compared with just one percent the year before.

The report cited China's "policy preference for maintaining relatively high GDP growth", but warned of the consequences of unbalanced growth in the medium term.

However, Obstfeld noted, a quick recovery in the USA could mean faster interest rate hikes and rises for the U.S. dollar, putting other economies with a United States dollar-dependent exchange rate or hefty dollar-denominated debts under pressure.

Coming after China's record 17.8 trillion yuan (2.06 trillion pounds) in credit last year, analysts are sceptical that policymakers will be able to wean the economy off years of debt-fuelled growth and still hit official growth targets. Political uncertainty caused by upcoming elections is posing risks, among other factors.

Britain's economy is expected to slow to 1.5% in 2018 - but that figure was also revised up from January's projections for 1.4% growth.

Members of the OPEC cartel of oil exporters, mostly from the region, agreed a year ago to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1 for six months, to support crude prices that had shed half of their value since mid-2014.


"The modest recovery is projected to be supported by a mildly expansionary fiscal stance, accommodative financial conditions, a weaker euro, and beneficial spillovers from a likely USA fiscal stimulus". "If confidence and market sentiment remain strong, short-term growth could indeed surprise on the upside".

"Nonetheless, the Philippines would be affected more strongly should growth for the region slow", the International Monetary Fund said.

"A critical priority for boosting growth and limiting downside risks in the euro area is to accelerate banks' balance sheet fix and the resolution of non-performing loans, including through a combination of greater supervisory encouragement, insolvency reform, and the development of distressed debt markets".

"Protectionist policies in advanced economies would have an overall negative impact in Asia, including the Philippines, but the magnitude of impact and channels would depend on the specific policies that are still uncertain", Peiris said.

In the medium term, the International Monetary Fund believes that downside risks remain for the global economy, due to low growth in productivity and strong income inequalities, which require structural interventions.

"Adjusting to lower commodity revenues and addressing financial vulnerabilities remain key challenges for many emerging market and developing economies". US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross has defined Lagarde's warnings as "rubbish", choosing instead to point the finger at trade surpluses in China, Japan and Europe.


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