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IMF Sharply Downgrades Outlook For U.S., Europe Through Next Year

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WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund is sharply downgrading its outlook for the U.S. economy through 2012 because of weak growth and concern that Europe won't be able to solve its debt crisis.

The international lending organization expects the U.S. economy to grow just 1.5 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2012. That's down from its June forecast of 2.5 percent in 2011 and 2.7 percent next year.

The IMF has also lowered its outlook for the 17 countries that use the euro. It predicts 1.6 percent growth this year and 1.1 percent next year, down from its June projections of 2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

The gloomier forecast for Europe is based on worries that Greece will default on its debt and destabilize the region.

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