IMF foresees global economy accelerating to 3.5 pct. in '17

The warning from self made billionaire Mr Ross will put Jean Claude Junker on notice

IMF Economic Counsellor Maurice Obstfeld said the economic data showed "a significant pick up this year relative to last", and said the trend began in the middle of 2016, after which "everything seems to be going in the right direction ... fueling our confidence that this year and next year are going to be substantially better", he said.

"We also support the authorities' initiatives to improve the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, raise investment in education and health, and increase agricultural productivity by removal of the quantitative restrictions on rice imports and promoting secure land titles in agriculture, which could be used as collateral for bank loans", he added.

Turning to matters global, the Washington-based institution's new World Economic Outlook report expects growth of 3.5% overall this year. The meetings come against the backdrop of a gradually strengthening global picture, especially in many emerging economies, despite resistance to free trade and political unrest in some countries. The group expects the global economy to grow by 3.6% in 2018.

The once-super-charged Chinese economy began a long slowdown, driving down global commodity prices and hurting countries from Australia to Zambia that fed raw materials to the world's second-biggest economy.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at the Institute of International Finance G-20 Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, last month. China's economy has steadied, thanks to government spending and an easy-money credit boom.

The IMF said record low interest rates of 0.25% were appropriate given that growth was expected to slow and inflation was likely to peak at 2.5% this year.

Rising commodity prices on the back of higher demand and oil prices pushed up by tighter supply have contributed to the more optimistic global outlook by boosting inflation and reducing deflationary pressures, the global financial body said.

Members of the OPEC cartel of oil exporters, mostly from the region, agreed past year to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1 for six months, to support crude prices that had shed half of their value since mid-2014.

He told the newspaper that the United States was far less protectionist than China and Europe, "and every time we do anything to defend ourselves, even against the puny obligations that they have, they call that protectionism".

"Policy must address these disparities head-on to ensure the stability of an open, collaborative trading system that benefits all", he added.

Protectionist candidates are polling well ahead of the first round of the French elections on Sunday, while in Britain and the US 2016 saw votes for Brexit and Donald Trump that were partly driven by isolationism.

However, the International Monetary Fund has also listed further reforms that India must undertake, including replacing the demonetised currency and reducing labour and product market rigidities to ease firm entry and exit, expand the manufacturing base, and gainfully employ the abundant pool of labor. "Over the medium term, as prices increase further, technical improvements in unconventional oil recovery will be reactivated, which will eventually set off another price cycle", International Monetary Fund experts wrote.

The U.S. says its policies or threats don't amount to protectionism, but rather are an effort to rebalance distorted trade relationships.

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