IMF to revise economic forecasts amid ‘global boom’

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2007 (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund is revising its economic growth forecasts amid a “global boom,” the IMF chief economist said Thursday, suggesting a bump up in official estimates.

“We were criticized for being optimistic at the time of our spring forecast,” Simon Johnson told reporters, referring to an IMF April forecast of world growth at 4.9 percent this year and in 2008.

“Let me just say we are quite pleased that we were optimistic,” he told reporters, without giving precise figures. The Washington-based IMF will release an update of its closely watched World Economic Outlook on Wednesday.

In a wide-ranging briefing, the top economist at the 185-nation financial institution said rising food prices were an unexpected development feeding inflation, except notably in Japan, and defended China’s monetary policy.

“The global picture, broadly speaking, is the US continuing to show weakness, as we expected, but the rest of the world economy has done very well,” he said citing Germany, China and India.

“This is a global boom,” he said.

The United States, the world’s biggest economy, is poised for a lift after limping along at a 0.7 percent growth pace in t