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IMF downgrades outlook for U.S., world economies

| Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, 7:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global and U.S. economic growth in 2016.

Citing weakness in the developing world, the IMF said Tuesday that the world economy will grow 3.4 percent, down from an October forecast of 3.6 percent. The international lending agency downgraded the outlook for developing economies to 4.3 percent growth from a forecast of 4.5 percent in October.

The world economy grew 3.1 percent and developing economies 4 percent in 2015. Both figures were the weakest since the recession year of 2009. China's slowing economy and falling commodity prices have hurt countries in the developing world that export raw materials.

Since the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession, the IMF, the World Bank and others have consistently overestimated the strength of the world economy and have had to downgrade their initial predictions. Earlier this month, the World Bank cut its forecast for global growth to 2.9 percent from the 3.3 percent growth it expected in June.

The IMF said it trimmed its forecast for U.S. economic growth to 2.6 percent this year from 2.8 percent, noting the prospect of higher American interest rates. In December, the Federal Reserve raised the short-term interest rate it controls from near zero, where it had been since December 2008.

It kept its 2016 forecast for China's economy unchanged at 6.3 percent. Since expanding 10.6 percent in 2010, the Chinese economy has slowed steadily. The government in Beijing said Tuesday that the world's second-biggest economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, the slowest in a quarter century.

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