The International Monetary Fund has reportedly raised its predictions for global economic growth in 2004.

According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, the IMF is now predicting 4.6% worldwide expansion, a 0.6-point rise on its autumn estimates.

Of the major world economies, Japan has seen the best improvement in its outlook. It is now on course for 3.2% growth this year, a hike of 1.8 points from the previous prediction.

The IMF's forecast for US expansion has also been raised, up 0.7 points to 4.6%, while the outlook for the UK is up 0.6 points to 3.1%.

Estimates for the twelve-nation Eurozone, however, stay the same at 1.9%, though its largest economy, Germany, sees its forecast rise 0.2 points to 1.7%.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff