IMF chief sees ‘major’ slowdown in global economy

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2008 (AFP) – International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Thursday he sees a “major” slowdown in the global economy this year amid a credit market crisis.

“What is certain is that the situation is very serious and that the slowdown in the United States, and subsequently in the rest of the world, is a slowdown that is going to be major,” he said in an interview with AFP ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank spring meetings.

“It is not a catastrophic slowdown, but it is a major slowdown,” he stressed, five months after becoming managing director of the 185-nation institution.

The IMF is set to cut a half point off its 2008 forecast for global economic growth to 3.7 percent on Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn said, confirming media reports but without providing further detail.

The IMF, whose mission is to promote global financial stability, is to publish its economic growth forecasts in its biannual World Economic Outlook report next Wednesday.

In January, the IMF projected the global economy would expand by 4.1 percent and the US economy would grow by 1.5 percent in 2008.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, media reports in Germany said the IMF