IMF Slashes US GDP Growth Outlook: Now Sees US Growing Only 1.6% In 2016

Having observed consensus economic growth expectations for the US tumble month after month, in its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF decided to once again play catch down from its over-optimistic +2.2% outlook in July to just 1.6% now  which still remains above consensus expectations of just 1.5% growth in 2016, pouring cold water on Obama's strategy to paint the economy as growing strongly. 

Still - that doesn't matter - stocks are near record highs.


For 2016, the new World Economic Outlook sees 1.6% GDP growth in the U.S., which is down from 2.2% in the July update. Next year's forecast saw a 0.3 percentage point drop from July to 2.2% GDP growth. This compares to the Federal Reserve's estimates of GDP growth of 1.8% and 2.0% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, MNI reports..

Consumption growth in the U.S. "has remained strong, supported by a firm labor market and expanding payrolls," the report said, "but continued weakness in nonresidential investment together with a sizable drawdown of inventories has weighed on the headline growth number."

The weakness in capital spending "reflects in part still-negative energy investment, dollar appreciation, financial turbulence earlier in the year, and heightened policy uncertainty related to the electoral cycle," the report said.

In 2017, growth is expected to pick up "as the drag from lower energy prices and past appreciation of the U.S. dollar fades," it said. Further out, medium-term potential growth, projected at 1.8%, "is held down by an aging population and a continuation of the recent trend of low total factor productivity growth."

Perhaps even more important than the collapse in the US GDP estimate, was the sharp drop in global trade volume, which the IMF now sees rising just 2.3%, down 0.4% from July's 2.7% forecast, and well below the IMF's 2016 global GDP forecast of 3.1%.

The latest global outlook is summarized in the following table:

Away from the US, the International Monetary Fund kept its forecast for global growth this year and next the same as in its July update, even as Brexit and slower-than-expected growth in the U.S. pulls down expected growth in advanced economies.

The IMF, in the World Economic Outlook released Tuesday, also warns monetary policy is expected to stay accommodative for some time, with advanced economies tightening more slowly than it has expected in April.

The World Economic Outlook forecasts the global economy will grow 3.1% this year, the same as it was in the July update. Meanwhile, the growth forecast for 2017 is 3.4%, also the same as in July.

While unchanged from July, the IMF sees a "more subdued outlook for advanced economies following the June U.K. vote in favor of leaving the European Union (Brexit) and weaker-than-expected growth in the United States," the report said. As a result, the 2016 growth forecast for advanced economies has been marked down to 1.6%, from 1.8% in July

These developments "have put further downward pressure on global interest rates, as monetary policy is now expected to remain accommodative for longer," the report said.

Most of the decline was due to a significant downgrade to the U.S. economic forecast. "The U.S. economy has lost momentum over the past few quarters, and the expectation of a pickup in the second quarter of 2016 has not been realized," the report said.

Which probably does not explain why both November and December rate hike odds are rising today.