Global Economy Is Heading Toward ‘Soft Landing,’ I.M.F. Says

The global economy has been battered by a pandemic, record levels of inflation, protracted wars and skyrocketing interest rates over the past four years, raising fears of a painful worldwide downturn. But fresh forecasts published on Tuesday suggest that the world has managed to defy the odds, averting the threat of a so-called hard landing.

Projections from the International Monetary Fund painted a picture of economic durability — one that policymakers have been hoping to achieve while trying to manage a series of cascading crises.

In its latest economic outlook, the I.M.F. projected global growth of 3.1 percent this year — the same pace as in 2023 and an upgrade from its previous forecast of 2.9 percent. Predictions of a global recession have receded, with inflation easing faster than economists anticipated. Central bankers, including the Federal Reserve, are expected to begin cutting interest rates in the coming months.

“The global economy has shown remarkable resilience, and we are now in the final descent to a soft landing,” said Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the chief economist of the I.M.F.

Policymakers who feared they would need to hit the brakes on economic growth to contain rising prices have managed to tame inflation without tipping the world into a recession. The I.M.F. expects global inflation to fall to 5.8 percent this year and 4.4 percent in 2025 from 6.8 percent in 2023. It estimates that 80 percent of the world’s economies will experience lower annual inflation this year.

The brighter outlook is due largely to the strength of the U.S. economy, which grew 3.1 percent last year. That robust growth came despite the Fed’s aggressive series of rate increases, which raised borrowing costs to their highest levels in 22 years. Consumer spending in America has held strong while businesses have continued to invest. The I.M.F. now expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.1 percent this year, up from its previous prediction of 1.5 percent.

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