IMF Chief economist Maurice Obstfeld.
IMF Chief economist Maurice Obstfeld.

Chief economist for the International Monetary Fund Maurice Obstfeld said in an interview with Reuters that disappointing economic figures coming out of the US do not represent a serious downturn.

“We saw the weak first quarter in the U.S that we interpret as a splutter rather than a change in the fundamental trajectory of the U.S. economy … A soft patch in other words,” Obstfeld was quoted by Reuters as saying Thursday.

“It’s hard to say what exactly will happen and what the macro impact will be,” Obstfeld said. “We are working to find out what is the most likely scenario and what impact that will have on growth and our forecasts,” Obstfeld said of US policy outlook.

“We don’t know when or what the fiscal initiative will be so I think markets are kind of looking at this and saying show us the money.”

Obstfeld went on to note that some upside surprises in April have helped balance a loss of momentum from China and the US. Lower bond yields and a weakened dollar offer benefits for emerging markets and global borrowers. Japan and Europe have also posted better than expected numbers.

“If you look at the soft indicators, PMIs, even in France where the hard indicators have not been amazing, you get some hint there might be an upside surprise,” Obstfeld noted.