International Monetary Fund maintains 3-pct growth forecast for S. Korea

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The IMF urged countries to take advantage of the rise in economic growth levels in the near-term to enact policies and reforms which will strengthen "the potential for higher and more inclusive growth" and to build buffers ahead of the next downturn, including improving financial systems and increasing global cooperation.

The increased tension in recent months over trade largely reflects President Trump's view that the deficit in USA trade - the country imports more than it exports - is a result of poor agreements negotiated by his predecessors and other countries taking advantage of the US.

According to the IMF's World Economic Outlook (WEO) report, the country's economic growth is expected to be 7.8 per cent in 2019.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund says growth in the European Union and USA will be faster than potential this year and next, but will start to weaken after that, due to an ageing population and weak productivity growth.

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He says the reason for the deficit is that total spending in the U.S. exceeds income. This is the highest share of countries experiencing a year-over-year growth pickup since 2010. Growth in 2019 was lowered to 1.9 per cent from 2.2 per cent in the January forecast. He says that recent tax measures are actually likely to increase the deficit. The forecasts for this year and next have been raised.

"The growth rate in China is projected to soften down during this period", it said, adding that over the medium term, its economy is projected to continue re-balancing away from investment toward private consumption and from industry to services, but nonfinancial debt is expected to continue rising as a share of GDP, and the accumulation of vulnerabilities clouds the medium-term outlook.

Mr Obstfeld describes the upgrade from 3.7% as "substantial".

The IMF has bailed out scores of countries over the years, including the United Kingdom in 1976 when the minority Labour government borrowed £2.3bn from the fund to stabilise the value of the pound; Iceland in 2008; and Greece in 2010, 2012 and 2015.

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That said, Mr Obstfeld describes longer-term prospects as "more sobering". "Once their output gaps close, most advanced economies are poised to return to potential growth rates well below pre-crisis averages, held back by aging populations and lackluster productivity".

There are warnings about the risks ahead, lurking dangers that could lead to the global economy falling short of the IMF's forecasts, in addition to the concerns about trade.

Among developing countries, he says those that depend on exporting commodities need to diversify their economies.

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