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Trade barriers could threaten global growth, OECD warns

Trade barriers could threaten global growth, OECD warns”

The world economy is expected to slightly pick up in 2017, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Tuesday, warning that increasing protectionism and divergent financial policies are likely to cloud the growth prospects.

Political uncertainty in many countries risks hampering a modest global economic expansion this year and next, the OECD warns.

The OECD and other influential economics bodies have steadily upgraded forecasts of United Kingdom growth as the economy has proved resilient since the country's vote to leave the EU.

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In its interim economic outlook, published today, the think-tank said it expected growth to rise to 3.6% next year, up from 3.3% forecast for 2017.

The OECD warned growth would be hit by "uncertainty" about Britain's future trading relationship with the European Union and rising inflation, which last week was pushed to a two-and-a-half-year high of 1.8% by the collapse in the pound following last year's referendum.

The think-tank said Canada's economy will be supported this year by export growth, a better market for commodities and government spending initiatives.

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The strength of financial market valuations appears disconnected to the outlook for the real economy, where the growth of consumption and investment remains subdued, and there is a risk of global financial market tensions as interest rates adjust and diverge across the major economies.

Among the specific country outlooks highlighted by the OECD were the United States, where domestic demand is set to strengthen, supported by gains in household wealth and an upturn in oil production.

Its biggest adjustment was for Britain, where it revised expected GDP growth in 2017 upwards from 1.2 to 1.6%, but stuck with a forecast of 1.0% growth in 2018. Coherent and committed policy action is needed to simultaneously raise growth rates and improve inclusiveness'.

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"House price-to-rent ratios are at record highs in several countries and above long-term averages in many others". Now, more than ever, governments need to take actions that restore people's confidence while at the same time resisting turning inwards or rolling back numerous advances that have been achieved through greater worldwide co-operation'. GDP for the euro area is expected to expand by 1.6% both this year and next. For 2018, the rate is set to quicken to at 3.6 percent. However, the OECD cautioned that consumption, investment, trade and productivity were all far from strong and that growth rates remained sluggish by past standards, sitting below a historical 4% average.



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