The IMF released its April 2010 World Economic Outlook, and it's good reading, as always. I don't always agree with their Outlook commentaries, and I certainly disagree with many of their policies, but their numerical forecast is a good indication of where the mainstream economic outlook lies. I noted that their most recent forecast for 2010 is much more optimistic than a few months back. That led me to tally up the forecasts for 2010 that they made over the past two years.
In April 2009, the depths of the recession, IMF was pretty gloomy about the world's economic outlook. The latest revision pushed the forecast up over an entire percentage point over last fall's major report, and they now expect this year to come in at 4.2 percent growth, inflation-adjusted, for the whole world.
In the best book about business and economics, I strongly recommend using consensus forecasts for business planning. The IMF isn't actually a consensus (an average of professional forecasts), but it's pretty representative. I also believe that the forecast revision has additional information. That is, a consensus forecast of three percent, up from a prior forecast of two percent, is more bullish than a consensus forecast of three percent, down from four percent. So this upward revision in the IMF forecast is good news in and of itself.
Problems over? Not at all. Getting better? Yes indeed.