The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that the global economy would grow a tiny bit faster in 2015, but that growth will be uneven.
“This global number reflects two main evolutions," said IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard. "The first one is an increase in the growth rate of advanced economies from 1.8 percent last year to 2.4 percent this year. But it is offset by a decrease in the growth rate of emerging markets and developing economies.”
Overall, the growth rate will rise to 3.5 percent, the IMF said.
Among the factors affecting growth is uncertainty caused by ongoing geopolitical tensions. Another is the sharp drop in oil prices. Blanchard said the lower prices might be bad news for oil-producing countries, but that it's been a net positive for the global economy.
“If you look at the big oil importers — the U.S., the Eurozone, China, India — consumption spending is fairly strong, and it's very plausible that it comes partly from the increase in real income coming from the decrease in the price people have to pay for oil,” Blanchard said.
Other factors affecting global growth include changes in interest rates in the U.S., Europe and Japan that have pushed the value of the dollar sharply higher.
But overall, Blanchard said, global economic risks are decreasing.
“The main one last year when we met in October was the risk of recession in the euro area and possibly in Japan," he said, "and I think based on the numbers that we now have, the probability of recession has not gone to zero, but it has decreased substantially.”
The assessment of the global economy comes as top economic officials from around the world gather in Washington for the annual spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.