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Latest forecasts from the IMF and World Bank on SA’s economic growth make for gloomy reading. The IMF briefly lifted its 2017 forecast from 0.8% in April to 1% in July. Now it has cut it again, to 0.7%, rising to just 1.1% in 2018. The World Bank’s forecast for 2017 is a fraction lower than that of its sister organisation. Their projections are similar to those of many private-sector economists, and higher than some. But the numbers from the two Washington-based multilateral institutions tend to have an authority that private-sector forecasts may not. They also set SA in a global and regional context in a way that is distinctly uncomfortable — or should be. SA is one of only a couple of leading countries on the IMF’s table, in its latest World Economic Outlook, to have its growth outlook downgraded. Most have stayed the same since July or been upgraded and the fund’s economists have upgraded their forecast for global growth, with the global economy now seen growing at 3.6% in 2017 a...

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