A Comedy Of IMF Forecasting Errors: Global Trade Growth Tumbles More Than 50% From IMF's 2012 Prediction

Tyler Durden's picture

The comedy of errors that are IMF forecasts is well known: it was covered most recently in "Hilarious Charts Of The Day: IMF's "Growth Forecasts" Over Time." Moments ago we got the IMF's first forecast update for 2014 which also included the Fund's first 2015 forecasts for growth around the world. Not surprisingly, they were largely higher across the board except for China which has seen its 2014 projected GDP growth collapse from 8.5% a year ago to 7.5% now, and is expected to drop modestly to 7.3% in 2015. The charts showing the progression of said hilarious forecasts are shown in their entirety below, about which one thing can be said with certainty: whatever the GDP growth rate in the world is in 2014 and 2015 it will be anything but what the IMF predicts it to be.

But perhaps the most notable feature of today's set of numbers is the IMF's forecast of world trade. In a word: it is crashing. Consider that 2013 world trade was expected to grow by 5.6% in April 2012. Now: it is more than 50% lower at just 2.7%!

Yet what is truly hilarious and certainly head scratching, is that somehow the IMF now anticipates a pick up in global growth in 2014 from its previous forecast of 3.6% to 3.7%, even as global trade is revised lower once more to the lowest prediction for 2014, and currently stands at just 4.5% compared to 4.9% in October 2013 and 5.5% a year ago (it goes without saying that the final global trade number for 2014 will be well lower than the IMF's optimistic forecast).

How global GDP is expected to grow on the margin compared to previous forecasts even as trade contracts is anyone's guess...

Behold the IMF's revision to global growth forecasts: how does one spell error bars.

And here are the GDP growth forecasts for the rest of the world.

Global:

US:

Eurozone:

China: