Confirms 3 pct growth forecast for Serbia in 2017

IMF raises global growth forecast, warns against protectionism

WASHINGTON (AP) - A resilient China, rising commodity prices and sturdy financial markets are offering a sunnier outlook for the global economy and helping dispel the gloom that has lingered since the Great Recession ended.

In Asia, another dose of government stimulus has pushed China's growth forecast up a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6%, and the fund lifted Japan's outlook by 0.4 percentage point to 1.2%.

The IMF said that it expects real GDP growth for the seven oil-exporting countries in the Middle East of 1.9 per cent this year, which is a full percentage point lower than the 2.9 per cent growth it forecast for the group last October.

"The world economy may be gaining momentum, but we can not be sure that we are out of the woods", said Mr. Obstfeld.

The IMF also adjusted upward its prediction for the global economy to 3.5 percent in 2017, up 0.1 percentage point from its January forecast. Those and other headwinds are expected to keep world growth capped at 3.8% for the foreseeable future, according to the IMF's long-term outlook. It also came ahead of this week's gathering of central bank governors and finance ministers for the 2017 IMF/World Bank annual spring meeting in Washington. China's economy has steadied, thanks to government spending and an easy-money credit boom.

Zapata strikes late as Milan salvage derby draw
Icardi doubled the lead before half-time with his first goal against Milan and the Nerazzurri had looked in firm control until a remarkable finale.

Its 2018 projection held steady at 3.6%, but the International Monetary Fund noted longer term growth forecasts remain "subdued" as protectionist movements starts to threaten global trade. "Fiscal policy is correctly focused on more inclusive growth by increasing social and infrastructure expenditure, financed with additional borrowing and higher revenue", the International Monetary Fund said.

Members of the OPEC cartel of oil exporters, mostly from the region, agreed past year 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.

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.

In the run-up to last June's European Union referendum, the IMF's French director Christine Lagarde warned that the consequences of a Leave vote ranged from "bad to very bad" and could wipe out almost 10 per cent off our economy. But Bob Baur, chief global economist at Principal Global Investors, noted that Trump has retreated from those threats: His administration declined last week to accuse China of undervaluing its currency. Trump said last week that one of the reasons is that he's relying on savings from the health bill to support the tax plan.

Wealthy economies also face deeper problems, in particular chronically weak growth in productivity - the output produced per hour of work - and aging workforces.

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