International Monetary Fund predicts Nigeria's economy will grow faster than South Africa's in 2018

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International Monetary Fund predicts Nigeria's economy will grow faster than South Africa's in 2018

In an update to its April forecasts, the International Monetary Fund lowered its 2017 growth forecast by 0.3 percentage point to 1.7 percent following weaker than anticipated first quarter figures.

Elsewhere around the world, meanwhile, the picture looks somewhat less grim.

The IMF further said that with a pick-up in global trade and strengthening domestic demand, growth in the ASEAN-5 economies is projected to remain robust at around 5 per cent.

'Strong Chinese growth drives growth particularly in Asian region but also throughout the world, ' Obstfeld added, noting that China is a big contributor to the overall growth and has a very large spillover effect to the world economy.

The IMF also revised up China's economic forecast for 2018 by 0.2 percentage point to 6.4 percent, citing hopes the country may keep high public investment and delay fiscal adjustment to meet its target of doubling the 2010 real GDP by 2020.

The IMF has also warned against strong credit growth that may come with rising downside risk to medium-term growth.

As China is transforming its economy from traditional manufacturing sector to service and consumption oriented sector, its structural transformation and the rebalancing of its economy should lower the growth rate and put growth on a firmer basis over time, the chief economist said.

He said China's recent moves to redress non-performing loans and a coordinated financial oversight overhaul were welcome.

The IMF said its downgrade reflected Britain's weaker-than-expected growth in the early part of this year.

The IMF maintained its forecast for British economic growth to slow to 1.5 percent in 2018, slightly slower than expected growth in France and Germany next year.

The IMF downgraded the growth forecast for the United States to 2.1 per cent in 2017 from 2.3 per cent and 2.1 per cent in 2018 from 2.5 per cent as reflected in part of the weak growth outturn in the first quarter of 2017.

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