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24th Feb 2018

UK economy faring better than expected, says IMF

  • "Domestic demand held up better than expected in the aftermath of the Brexit vote," the IMF says (Photo: Harshil Shah)

The International Monetary Fund has upgraded its economic forecasts for the eurozone and the UK this year, but said British growth would slow down in 2018.

In an update to its biannual World Outlook published on Monday (16 January), the IMF said the eurozone would grow by 1.6 percent in 2017, a 0.1 percentage point increase on the forecasts published in October.

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It expects the eurozone economy to grow at a similar pace in 2018, without revising its previous forecast.

It says the British economy will grow by 1.5 percent this year, 0.4 points more than expected in October, after 1.6 percent growth in 2016.


The IMF notes that "domestic demand held up better than expected in the aftermath of the Brexit vote".

But it has revised its 2018 forecast for the UK down by 0.3 points to 1.4 percent growth.

The Washington-based institution notes that "the outlook for advanced economies has improved for 2017-18". But it highlights "balance sheet weaknesses in parts of the euro area" and says that goods and services output "remains below potential in a number of other advanced economies, notably in the euro area".

Looking at the global conditions around the EU economy, the fund warns of "uncertainty surrounding the policy stance of the incoming US administration and its global ramifications" and of a "possible shift toward inward-looking policy platforms and protectionism".

It also insist that geopolitical risks such as wars, terrorism and "the tragic plight of refugees and migrants in neighbouring countries and in Europe" could have a negative impact on global economic activities.

Looking at different EU countries, the IMF notes that Spain and Germany, along with the UK, had a stronger than-expected performance during the latter part of 2016.



It expects the Germany economy to grow by 1.5 percent in 2017 and 2018 - up 0.1 points compared with the October forecasts - and the Spanish economy to grow by 2.3 and 2.1 percent in 2017 and 2018 - a 0.1 and 0.2 point upward revision.

The fund also revised downward the prospects for Italy. It says the country should grow by 0.7 and 0.8 percent this year and next year. It is 0.2 and 0.3 points less than expected in October.

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