Washington (EFE).- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) improved the growth prospects for the euro area by two tenths for this year and increased those of almost all the main economies in the region except Spain, which will grow one tenth less than expected. expected.
The organization presented its latest prospects for global growth on Monday and indicates that the euro area will grow on average 0.7% in 2023, two tenths more than forecast last October, and will increase 1.6% in 2024, two tenths. less.
It also adjusted last year’s growth upwards, to 3.5%, four tenths more than the calculation presented in October at the annual meetings of the fund and the World Bank.
The improvement, the IMF points out in its report, reflects the effects of the strong interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank and the fact that wholesale energy prices are lower than expected, having stored enough gas to shortages are unlikely this winter.
It is also due to fiscal and social policies carried out by governments, such as energy price controls or cash transfers.
The Union has contributed around 1.2% of its GDP (of its net budget cost) to households and businesses affected by the energy crisis, recalls the IMF.
Spain worsens but continues to be the country that grows the most
Spain is the only one of the four main economies (the only ones detailed by the IMF) that worsens its forecast, although it will continue to grow the most, 1.1% in 2023 (one tenth less than what was calculated in October) and 2 .4% in 2024 (two tenths less).
Its 2022 growth has been considerably improved to 5.2%, six tenths more than previously estimated.
This figure is lower than that offered by the Government, which announced last week that the Spanish economy closed 2022 with a growth of 5.5%, the same rate as the previous year, despite the fact that all forecasts pointed to a slowdown. of the economy due to a context of great uncertainty marked by the war in Ukraine.
The data, explained in a meeting with the media the deputy director of the Fund’s Research Department, Petya Koeva, has not been taken into account for the forecasts for 2023, which warn of a sharp drop in the Spanish economy: «I am sure that our colleagues will look at it closely and we will take it into account when the next forecast we have for Spain is made, he stressed.
With the new IMF forecasts, Italy and Germany would not record red numbers this year, as expected. Italy will grow 0.6%, eight tenths more than previously estimated, and Germany 0.1%, four tenths more.
The forecasts for France have not changed and this year it will grow 0.7%, while in 2024 it will recover to 1.6%, the same as Germany (1.4%) and Italy to a lesser extent (0.9%). .
Outside the European Union, the United Kingdom stands out, which will have a decrease of -0.6% in 2023, with a downward revision of nine tenths compared to October, reflecting fiscal and monetary policies and more stringent financial conditions and retail energy prices still high, weighing on the domestic economy.
The cold of Russia will come
The possible escalation of the war in Ukraine remains a major source of vulnerability, particularly for Europe.
So while gas prices this year are lower than forecast as Europe has stockpiled enough gas to make shortages unlikely this winter, refilling storage with greatly diminished Russian flows before next winter will be a challenge.
The IMF has also adjusted its growth outlook for Russia and raised it considerably. Thus, the Russian economy will grow 0.3% in 2023, 2.6 points more than estimated, and in 2024 2.1, six tenths more.
This is explained, said the research director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, because its export revenues over the past year, and even up to now, remain quite high, despite the ceilings imposed. , although there is a lot of uncertainty around this.
Second, there was strong fiscal stimulus in Russia last year. Russia has been suspending its fiscal rules and expanding fiscal spending, and that has also helped support economic activity, he added.