The global economy is off to a weaker than expected start in the second half of the year, a senior international official said today.

Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, said a slowdown in the recovery had been forecast for the third and fourth quarters and was “on the books”.

But “the question was, how weak was it going to be,” Ms. Gurria told reporters at an Austrian conference on the aftermath of the financial crisis in Eastern Europe.

“And I have to say, I think it has been weaker than we thought”.

Earlier this month, the Paris-based organisation predicted the Group of Seven industrialised countries will grow by around 1.5 per cent on an annualised basis in the second half of 2010 - down from its previous forecast of 1.75 per cent in May. The G-7 comprises the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

“It is unlikely that we are heading into another downturn,” the OECD’s chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan had said at the time.

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