April 16, 2013 / 1:46 PM / 7 years ago

IMF official said U.S. fiscal policy dragging heavily on economy

International Monetary Fund's Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Department Olivier Blanchard enters the news briefing on the World Economic Outlook (WEO), at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo October 9, 2012. REUTERS/International Monetary Fund/Stephen Jaffe/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy would likely grow as much as 2 percentage points higher this year if the government were not tightening fiscal policy, a top International Monetary Fund official said on Tuesday.

“Growth would probably be between 1.5 and two percent higher,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard told a news conference.

Earlier on Tuesday, the IMF said the U.S. economy would probably grow 1.9 percent this year. That was 0.2 percentage points lower than the IMF’s previous forecast for U.S. growth.

Speaking about fiscal policy in Europe, Blanchard said very weak private demand in Great Britain meant that it might be time for policymakers there to consider an adjustment to initial fiscal plans.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio

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