* IMF: Current oil price will not impact global growth
* Oil price increase mostly a temporary price shock
* Enough spare capacity in producers not hit by unrest
(Adds quotes, background on global growth)
By Lesley Wroughton
WASHINGTON, Feb 25 Higher oil prices should
have a limited impact on the world economy if prices stay at
current levels, the International Monetary Fund said on
"The increase by some $10 per barrel since mid-January has
reflected increased oil supply risks due to events in the
Middle East and North Africa, but current market pricing
suggests that this will be mostly a temporary price shock," an
IMF spokesman told Reuters.
However, if prices continue to rise due to further supply
disruptions the impact to global growth "could become
appreciable," the spokesman said, adding, "But that is not
our, or the markets' expectation."
Still, the IMF said the effect on global growth of
increased oil supply risks was hard to predict.
Brent crude held above $111 a barrel but below 2-1/2-year
highs on Friday after Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil
exporter, raised output to calm fears of supply disruptions
due to increasing turmoil in Libya. [ID:nLDE71O1KA]
Popular uprisings have spread across the Middle East and
North Africa since early this year, toppling rulers in Tunisia
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has
resisted calls for a formal increase in output and does not
plan to meet until June.
The IMF noted that spare capacity in OPEC producers not
affected by political unrest was larger than recent production
in countries hit by protests.
The IMF spokesman noted that much of the increase in oil
prices through early January reflected increasing global
demand as the world economy recovers from the financial
The IMF has said a two-speed recovery in the world economy
is under way. In January, the IMF forecast that global growth
will reach 4.4. percent this year, rising to 4.5 percent in
The IMF raised its baseline forecast for 2011 oil prices
to $94.75 a barrel from $89.50, according to a document
submitted to G20 ministers meeting in Paris last week.
"If the price surge unwinds soon, as markets currently
expect, the damage to global activity will be very small," the
spokesman said. "If prices stay where they are, there would be
some limited losses," he added.
For stories on Middle East unrest, click on
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Diane Craft and