With developing countries such as China still growing strongly, the thinktank said global growth this year would be 3.4%, down from 3.6% in 2011, before rising to 4.2% in 2013. Growth among OECD members would be held back by Europe and would ease from 1.8% to 1.6% in 2012 before recovering to 2.2% in 2013. Of the big rich nations, the U.S. and Japan would grow most strongly, while Britain is expected to grow by just 0.5% this year, accelerating to 1.9% in 2013.
"We see a slow rebound of growth in the United States driven mostly by private demand, some pickup in Japan and moderate to strong growth in emerging economies," said Padoan.
"We also see flat growth in the euro area which hides important differences, with northern countries growing and southern countries in recession," he said. Padoan expressed concern about a debt default in Greece and the shaky condition of Spain's banks, but said the emergency action by the European Central Bank, including a €1 trillion (£808 billion) liquidity injection, had so far prevented the debt crisis from spiraling out of control.
"If the situation gets worse, there are ways to enhance the firewall capacity which could include a stronger intervention or role of the ECB," said Padoan.
In contrast to the euro zone, the United States was expected to continue to benefit from easy credit conditions and ultra-loose monetary policy, with the world's biggest economy forecast to grow 2.4% this year and 2.6% in 2013.
Japan's 2% growth this year would be boosted by a construction boom following the tsunami in 2011, while China would expand by 8.2% in 2012 and 9.3% in 2013.
The OECD predicted that the U.K. would recover this year from its double-dip recession over the winter. The thinktank maintained its previous 0.5% growth forecast for 2012 while raising its 2013 prediction a notch to 1.9%.
"Fiscal consolidation is a drag on growth," the OECD said. "However … fiscal policy remains heavily constrained. The ambitious government plan to restore fiscal sustainability remains on track and appropriate despite disappointing economic growth."
David Cameron's coalition government has lost popularity and come under pressure to change course as austerity measures have hit demand, leading to the U.K.'s second recession in four years, but the OECD said the downturn would be temporary and that after weak growth in the first half of 2012, the economy would then start to pick up speed.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Guardian Economics Editor Larry Elliott in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/22/europe-crisis-drag-on-global-economy