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Economy

Paola Subacchi -- In the world of currencies, wait-and-see is the best action

Propping up economic growth without undermining financial stability has kept policy makers around the world busy since the beginning of the year. The global economy lacks luster and is expected to grow at a relatively modest rate. The IMF forecasts 3.2% real gross domestic product growth this year, a bit better than the 3.1% in 2015 -- the lowest rate since 2009. The slowdown in China's growth is having a global impact, both on advanced economies and emerging markets. In the U.S., business investment and net exports remain sluggish, reflecting weaker external demand, and growth has been driven mainly by consumer spending and housing activity.

Europe has been on hold for weeks while companies and investors have been waiting to see the outcome of the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. As a result, the U.K. economy is expected to slow down sharply this year. In its report on the U.K. published on June 17, the IMF says it expects real GDP to grow by 1.9% this year -- down from 2.3% in 2015. In the euro area, even if underlying growth prospects have improved, low growth and/or high unemployment in southern countries (notably Italy) continues to act as a drag. Real GDP is expected to grow at around 1.5-1.6%; the rate was 1.6% in 2015.

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