Five Years Of Glorious IMF "Hockey Stick" Comedy

Tyler Durden's picture

The topic of IMF's comedic forecasts and resulting disastrous policy errors has been discussed extensively, and repeatedly, over the years both elsewhere, and here. And while it does no justice to the human tragedy that ordinary Greeks have had to go through as part of 5 years of failed "bailouts" designed to preserve the wealth of German bankers, Greek oligarchs and a few corrupt politicians, the quarterly World Economic Outlook update affords even the most bankrupt Greeks, not to mention everyone else, an opportunity to laugh at what are now 5+ years of truly hilarious economic forecast hockeysticks, even as the reality continues to deteriorate with every passing year.

Case in point: earlier today the IMF released its latest forecast. In it, 2015 global GDP was cut from 3.5% to 3.3% due to previously unforeseen "risks from Greece to China". Or rather we should say cut again. Here is the history of the IMF's 2015 global GDP forecast started with July 2014:


But who cares about constantly being wrong right here, right now (aside from 11 million Greeks that is) when your projections keep promising that growth is always "just around the corner" as they do in the following chart showing just why the IMF has now lost all credibility not only as an bailouter of last resort (see Greece), but as a forecaster.

Presenting: over five years of glorious IMF hockeysticks.


But, believe it or not, that's not the punchline. The punchline is that according to a Bloomberg analysis, when compared to the seven global central banks, the IMF is the best forecaster of all!

The best forecaster of all: the International Monetary Fund. It beat the Bank of Canada, the winner in the rankings, more often than not on growth and inflation.


The Federal Reserve is the most optimistic. The Bank of Japan made the biggest mistake. The Bank of Canada is the most accurate, but it's got the easiest job.


"Central banks ought to be much better at what they do,” said Rob Carnell, chief international economist at ING Groep in London. “If they're trying to convince us all that they know where things are going by using forward guidance you'd think that they know something that we don't. But unless they're much better at analyzing the data, we shouldn't listen to them and they've got nothing to say."


But the IMF doesn't have a national mandate to set interest rates or deploy other tools, which is a key reason central banks exist and the motive for their forecasts. The projections are cranked into guidance on future policy moves that banks are offering more than ever — guidance that gets used by companies and governments  for their own decisions.

Of course, as the charts above show and as Greece has found out first hand, the IMF is actually quite terrible at forecasting anything:

... so if they are the best "official" institution at predicting the future, then the end is surely nigh.

But back to more serious topics, while the IMF never falters in admitting it got the present wrong but will more than make up for it with future enthusiasm, one big concern is that when it comes to that all important global economic variable, trade and commerce, not even the IMF has any optimism left: as of July 2015, the IMF now sees next year's trade growth rising at the lowest pace since the first great financial crisis: not even the hockey stick effect works here.


Why is global trade important? Because while central banks can print artificial, if record high, stock market prices (unless they are China where they can't even do that) and force even more record wealth inequality and social conflict, they are completely helpless to "print" trade - trade which is the lifeblood of a globalized economy.

So if anyone is wondering why the world is mired in a global depression which has been masked over the past 7 years with $22 trillion in central bank asset purchases, the chart above should explain it all.

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y3maxx's picture

IMF hockey stick shoots a penalty shot field goal slam dunk to successully postpone W W #3....


Wait a minute...the referee pulls out a red card and ejects the IMF for a blatant delay of game penalty.

Pinto Currency's picture



These capable central planners have no problems saying they need more authority to run everyone's life.

Waylon Bits's picture
Waylon Bits (not verified) Pinto Currency Jul 9, 2015 11:30 AM

...and Lagarde shoots!  She whores!!

angel_of_joy's picture

With whom ? That would be an interesting question to answer...

XAU XAG's picture

You need Knee pads look at those graphs!

Mike Honcho's picture

So glad I will be out of the country and missing the next debacle, also known as the predetermined elections.

Dr. Engali's picture

I'm voting for Pedro. He's about as good as the rest of those jokers.

BarbaricRelic's picture

Trump is a loud-mouth statist schmuck. If he can't keep his word with his 4 or 5 previous wives, how do you expect him to keep it to an entire nation? Besides, he's flipped and flopped over the years and has ZERO actual conviction behind his words. He is an egomaniac and will do anything to have eyes on him, talking about him, listening to him. He reminds me of a slightly less despicable Hillary; willing to say or do anything to get attention and power.

I wont be voting for the lesser of two evils. You and everyone else can.

FFS he was a REGISTERED DEMOCRAT for 8+ years (2001-2009). He's like a Romney or a Jeb or a Hilldabeast. Do anything to get power. 

JustObserving's picture

the IMF's forecast of global trade growth is now the lowest since Lehman

Not to worry, the Fed can seasonally adjust that data and make it the highest since Lehman.

With fraud, all things are possible.


KnuckleDragger-X's picture

It's all "unforeseen circumstances". If you close your eyes real tight, stick you fingers in your ears and go la-la-la as loud as you can, everything is just wonderful. They've cooked the data as hard as they can, but for some strange reason reality still sucks.....

chairman of the bored's picture

IMF reduced world gdp growth 2.7,today I think...

Dr. Engali's picture

"central banks ought to be much better at what they do" Said Rob Carnell"



 Well Rob considering the fact that their job is to lie, obfuscate, and protect the elites by stealing from the rest of the population, I''d say they are pretty damn good at what they do. 

BullyBearish's picture

The problem is that the common person believes that the authorities are "fair"  and have their best interests at heart...they don't have a clue that they are in a zero-sum game with NO edge

Dr. Engali's picture

The problem is that the majority of people are fucking stupid and apathetic.  

lordylord's picture

And the rest are just apathetic.

Bastiat's picture

. . . but some are just stupid.

Uchtdorf's picture

One musn't forget those who are stupidly apathetic.

cn13's picture

Central bankers and politicians are professional liars.

Why is that so hard for people to understand?

Do we enjoy being lied to or can we just not face the truth.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

It's not a lie if you believe it-George Costanza.....

Mike Honcho's picture

It's not a lie if you believe it- every woman I have dated.....

BoPeople's picture
BoPeople (not verified) Jul 9, 2015 10:45 AM

Maybe the world is unworthy of the IMF forecaster brilliance ... OR ... maybe the IMF forecasters should be fired for their gross incompetence.

Or, maybe they just intentionally lied because they were told to.

KJWqonfo7's picture

The IMF/EU Greek, Italian, Spanish. Hat trick.

PrayingMantis's picture



... IMF "forecasting" reminds me of never trusting anything that bleeds for five days and never dies ...

aliki's picture

since their projections have been so far off, its a good thing their $$$ printing policy can be trusted

SheepDog-One's picture

IMF's job is to ensure as much debt slavery occurs as possible.

Temporalist's picture

Those aren't hockey sticks they're boomerangs returning to smack the world on the back of its oblivious head.

Börjesson's picture

They're not wrong. Whenever these institutions and central banks make a "forecast", they're not actually trying to predict what will happen later on. They're trying to influence what will happen right now. And more often than not, they succeed.

Curious Gorge's picture

Bingo! Had to upvote you for that piece of clarity. If you presume that whatever these "folks" do is the antithesis to your best interest, you are probably on the right track. 



How does a Scot find a sheep in tall grass?


Very appealing :) 


WTFUD's picture

IMF= Incontinent Mother Fuckers.
Bedwetters of the First Order.
The Financial Wing of World Terrorism.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Hockey Stick?  Beauty, eh.

Who gets the 2 minute/billion penalties for Hi Sticking, Cross-Checking, or the 5 minite/billion major for Fighting (reality)?  Take off, eh.

RiverRoad's picture

"masked over the past 7 years" infinitum?  Or biblical?

TheAntiProgressive's picture

I just watched LeGarde on CSPAN.  IMF is expecting a 50% increase in resources.  IMF to target the poorest countries and lift them up using loans AT 0% INTREST RATES.  Saw it this morning almost threw something at the TV but thought ahhhh F it, this don't matter.  It is all going down anywho.  LeGarde was I think an English major.  Good training to run the IMF.

Bastiat's picture

Helicopter money . . . with strings, of course.

jimfcarroll's picture

In the 2nd to last chart, if the light blue line is the 2012 GDP estimate, why does it start in 2009?


CANADA's Finance Minister Joe Oliver has just stated that CANADA's growth will return at the end of the year, and he wants Canadians to take 'a long term view of our economy'. Frankly, after 29 successive business quarters of contraction, and no let up in sight with respect to the trend of Hegelian Spiraling into economic Hell & Purgatory, methinks Joe Oliver is a crony Capitalist spewing Goldman-esk gobble-de-gook n' claptrap like every other FinMin whore douchebag in the Western World.


Central Banksters need to take a dirt nap en masse IMHO.

Element's picture

The sooner the IMF is abolished the better.

Colonel Klink's picture

IMF needs to be rebadged to IFL, for I'm fucking lying!

Rock On Roger's picture

Bank of Canada has the easiest job because Canadians are the most sheepley of the earth's sheeple.

mctimm's picture

Mark Carney headed the Bank of Canada before leaving for the Bank of England which ranked #2 behind Canada in terms of forecasting accuracy. That suggests to me that Canadian economists don't have their heads stuck up there arses like the FED, ECB and IMF. Perhaps it's just another coincidence that Canadian banks performed the best during the global economic crises???