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The world hasn’t seen this many economies grow at the same time in 10 years

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Reuters/Chris Helgren
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In 2017, more countries are recording GDP growth than in any year since 2007. According to forecasts of the 190-odd countries tracked by the IMF, 94% of the world’s economies will register positive annual growth this year, a shade under the 96% achieved in 2007.1

The countries that aren't expected to grow in 2017 but did in 2007 are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Kuwait, Mongolia, South Sudan, Suriname, and Venezuela. The IMF did not forecast GDP growth for Syria in 2017.

If the IMF’s forecasts for 2018 prove accurate, GDP growth will be more widespread than at anytime this century. That’s a big “if,” though. 

For this year, the IMF expects the world economy to grow by 3.5%, up from an estimated 3.2% in 2016. This acceleration has prompted central bankers around the world to pull back on the stimulus introduced after the global financial crisis in 2008. International policymakers are meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming over the next two days to discuss “fostering a dynamic global economy.”

Although growth is not as even as they would like, which makes it risky to hike rates or reduce support measures too quickly, the Wall Street Journal noted this week that all of the mostly rich countries tracked by the OECD are forecast to grow this year (paywall). The IMF reckons that 97% of “advanced economies” are set to grow this year.2 Some 93% of emerging economies will do the same.

The outlier is Puerto Rico, where GDP is expected to shrink by 3% in 2017, making it the 12th contraction in 13 years.

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