It failed to spot the financial crisis coming – so it’s right to be cautious about the strength of the British and US economies

Three months before the start of the biggest financial crisis since the Wall Street Crash, the International Monetary Fund confidently predicted that the world economy looked “well set” for robust growth in 2007 and 2008. Sure there were risks, said the IMF, but these seemed less threatening in April 2007 than six months previously.

The IMF was not, of course, the only organisation that failed to spot economic armageddon coming – merely the one with the highest number of PhDs on the books. But if the fund’s patchy past record means all its forecasts should be treated with caution, its growth downgrade for the UK looks perfectly reasonable.

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