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IMF, World Bank Meet in Washington

WASHINGTON – Predictions of surging global economic growth are expected to take center stage Saturday in Washington, where the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are beginning two days of talks.

In its annual World Economic Outlook, issued this week, the IMF predicts the global economy will increase by 4.6 percent this year – the fastest rate of growth since the year 2000.

However, the report also warns that rising crude oil prices could slow growth everywhere. It also forecasts weak economic momentum in the 12 Euro zone countries, where growth is expected to be only 1.7 percent. In sharp contrast, the U.S. economy is expected to increase 4.6 percent.

The meetings Saturday and Sunday are also likely to focus on a World Bank report that says global poverty has decreased by nearly one-half in the last 20 years.

The report released Friday, says the biggest advances were made in Asia, while Africa made the slowest progress. The World Bank says extreme poverty is on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of people living on income of less than one dollar a day has doubled.

The World Bank findings on global poverty were derived from figures spanning the 20-year period from 1981 to 2001.

The IMF and the World Bank have 184 member countries.

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