OECD: Growth too tepid to reduce inequality

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PARIS: The small pick-up in global growth expected this year is insufficient to reduce inequalities around the world, the OECD said Wednesday as it called on nations to launch reforms to remedy the situation.

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“We need a more inclusive, rules-based globalisation that works for all, centred on people’s well-being” said OECD chief Angel Gurria, as the body released updated economic forecasts.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which provides analysis and policy advice to advanced economies, increased its forecast for global growth this year by two tenths of a percentage point to 3.5 percent on a recovery in global trade, even if remains below the levels before the onset of the global economic crisis.

“This still-modest cyclical expansion is not yet robust enough to yield a durable improvement in potential output or to reduce persistent inequalities,” said the OECD’s chief economist, Catherine Mann.

She said changes to budget policies could both improve the well-being of citizens, as well as have positive effects globally.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen, who was presiding over the OECD’s ministerial meeting, warned national policies needed to take into account those left behind by globalisation.

“We have to realise that the challenges of globalisation also need a national response. Not in a sense of increased protectionism (…), but by making the reforms,” said Rasmussen.

We need “initiatives that ensure job creation instead of job preservation. We need to provide life-long education at all levels to all people in our societies,” he said.

Denmark is a model to many on how to handle the challenge of globalisation.

Its “flexicurity” system gives companies the flexibility to easily shed workers when business slows, but workers the security of generous unemployment benefits and training programmes.

The OECD has found that deeper trade ties with global value chains increased productivity and well-being, but at the same also caused job losses, in particular in manufacturing.

The OECD also updated its country growth forecasts.

It cut its outlook for US economic growth by three tenths of a point to 2.1 percent after a weak first quarter.
Meanwhile, for the eurozone the OECD increased its forecast by two tenths of a point to 1.8 percent, led by Germany with 2.0 percent growth.

It raised its forecast for China by a tenth of a point to 6.6 percent, as it did for India to 7.3 percent.
The OECD confirmed its forecast that Brazil would escape recession this year.

It now sees the nation posting 0.7 percent growth instead of its earlier forecast of 0.3 percent.

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