Global economy may be in 'softer patch': Lagarde

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, warned on Tuesday the global economy may be slowing more than thought just over a month ago.

There are "some glimpses of more sombre trends. Recent data, for example, suggest some slowdown in growth," Ms Lagarde said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, according to the prepared text.

The IMF managing director recalled that the Fund in April projected the global economy would grow 3.3 per cent in 2013, but that she had spoken of "the fragile and uneven recovery that is taking place."

On Tuesday, the IMF slightly lowered its growth forecast for France, a day after halving its estimate for Germany, Europe's largest economy, to a mere 0.3 per cent.

In late May, the IMF also cut its projection for China, the main engine of the world economy, to around 7.75 per cent from 8.0 per cent.

"We could be entering a softer patch," Lagarde said, noting that the 17-nation euro zone, which has been in recession for six consecutive quarters, remained the main area of concern.

"Overall, the region is operating at 'zero speed,'" she said. "Going forward, the indicators are not encouraging either."