IMF lifts US growth outlook for this year to 7%, says Fed may need to hike rates earlier than it expects

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building is seen ahead of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building is seen ahead of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington

  • The IMF raised its forecast for US growth to 7% for 2021, from the previously predicted 4.6%
  • The fund believes the Federal Reserve will need to hike interest rates in late 2022, or early 2023.
  • Last month, the Fed said it expected to raise rates in 2023, but individual policymakers expect earlier hikes.
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The International Monetary Fund has lifted its outlook for US economic growth to 7% for this year, and believes the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by the end of 2022, as recovery takes root.

The IMF had previously anticipated an annual growth rate of 4.6% for this year. Should the US economy indeed by 7% in 2021 – as both the Fed and now the IMF expect – this would be the fastest expansion since 1984.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF managing director, said the improved outlook was based on the American Jobs and Families plans being implemented in line with the outlines presented by the Biden administration, as they appear likely to improve living and income standards in the long term.

“We believe that these two packages will add to near-term demand, raising GDP by a cumulative 5ΒΌ percent over 2022-24. And-perhaps more importantly-our assessment is that GDP will be 1 percent higher even after 10 years, thanks to the significant, positive effects on labor force participation and productivity introduced by these two plans.” she said in a report released on Thursday.

Biden’s infrastructure plan was also referenced in the IMF’s assessment. The bipartisan program allocates $1.2 trillion over the next five years to improving things such as roads, broadband access and education.

The IMF also said it expected US interest rates to rise more quickly than the Fed currently anticipates.

“Presuming staff’s baseline outlook and fiscal policy assumptions are realized, policy rates would likely need to start rising in late-2022 or early-2023,” the IMF said.

At its mid-June meeting, the Fed said it expected to raise interest rates by 2023. Several individual policymakers have however since said they expect monetary policy to tighten sooner than this.

The Fed’s more hawkish outlook initially fueled some concern among investors, particularly relating to the implications for the central bank’s highly accommodative monetary policy stance. Stocks wavered for a few weeks, but have since recovered and hit successive record highs in the last week. Government bond yields have fallen to around six-month lows, highlighting that investors trust the Fed’s ability to target inflation without derailing the economy.

Both the IMF and the Fed expect inflation to be transitory and short-term, rather than weigh on markets for a prolonged period of time.

Read the original article on Business Insider