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Growth

US economy to expand markedly in 2014, IMF says

The International Monetary Fund has said it expects the world's biggest economy to pick up rapidly in 2014. The assessment came despite indications that the US might not grow as fast as expected in the second quarter.

US economic growth was likely to reach 2.7 percent next year despite a number of obstacles and imponderables, the IMF said in its annual assessment of the world's biggest economy on Friday.

It noted the US had already outpaced other advanced economies in recent years, growing 1.8 percent in 2011 and 2.2 percent last year.

By comparison, the 17-member eurozone contracted by 0.6 percent in 2012 and looks likely to shrink at the same rate this year as the bloc's protracted debt dilemma keeps biting.

Conducive Fed policies

The IMF's positive medium-term outlook for the US came despite signals pointing to a sharper than expected slowdown in economic activity in the second quarter of this year, caused not least by the lingering impact of government austerity measures aimed at reining in public debt.

Fed sticks to stimulus

"Despite the powerful headwinds, the nature of the current recovery appears to be changing," the IMF said in its report. It cited a soaring stock market, a recovering housing sector and modest improvements in hiring plus reduced household debt.

The Washington-based crisis lender admitted the positive developments had largely been due to "very easy financial conditions." The Federal Reserve only recently said it would keep interest rates near zero for an extended period to support job growth. At the same time, it would continue to pour cash into money markets to boost private investment.

hg/dr (AFP, dpa)

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