Taipei, April 18 (CNA) Taiwan's economy can be expected to expand by 3.6 percent this year amid a slowly improving but still "very fragile" global economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast in a report released Wednesday.
The world economy will expand by 3.5 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2013, while Taiwan's economy is expected to grow 3.6 percent this year and 4.7 percent in 2013, according to IMF's World Economic Outlook.
The IMF 2012 forecast for Taiwan is less optimistic than the 3.85 percent growth projected by Taiwan's Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.
The two major concerns in this year's global economic outlook are the ongoing European debt crisis and the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which could trigger a sharp increase in oil prices, the report said.
However, Asian countries are expected to maintain a mid-level growth and a "soft-landing" amid the global economic crisis, the report said. It forecast a 6 percent growth in Asia for 2012 and 6.5 percent for 2013.
China, with its large domestic market, is projected to grow 8.2 percent in 2012, according to the IMF, which is the same forecast as provided by the World Bank.
Meanwhile, South Korea, Taiwan's main trade competitor, is expected to grow 3.5 percent this year and 4.0 percent in 2013, the report said. Hong Kong is forecast to expand by 2.6 percent for 2012 and 4.2 percent next year, while Singapore is projected to see a 2.7 percent growth this year and a 3.9 percent growth in 2013, the IMF said.
Fluctuations in international oil prices will be a risk factor for global economic growth, according to the report.
International oil prices have risen to US$115 a barrel, mainly due to growing geopolitical tensions in Iran and low crude oil inventories, the IMF said.
But it predicted a drop in oil prices to US$110 a barrel in 2013.
Meanwhile, the IMF forecast a 1.4 percent growth for the advanced economies of the world in 2012, and 5.7 percent for emerging economies. The forecast for 2013 is 6.0 percent for emerging economies, it said.
(By Lin Shu-yuan and Ann Chen)