UK and US flags
(Reuters)

The US and UK are still on track to lead the expansion of the global economy this year despite the International Monetary Fund cutting world growth overall.

The IMF kept its forecast for UK economic growth unchanged at 2.7%, which falls in line with other positive predictions.

On 19 January, EY Item Club said UK economic growth will reach 2.9% in 2015, which is an upwards revision of its original prediction of 2.4%. In 2014, it predicted 2.6% economic growth.

Meanwhile, the IMF also sees the US leading global economic growth, after predicting a 3.6% expansion in 2015 and 3.3% in 2016.

Elsewhere, the agency cut its global growth forecast to 3.5% for 2015, from its previous prediction of 3.8%, on weaker investment.

The IMF said that since there is less opportunity for firms to sell goods and services, companies are less inclined to invest, meaning economic growth would be less than expected.

The group also said that the economic growth forecast for 2016 has also been cut to 3.7%.

China has notably curbed its rapid rate of growth as the IMF predicts that the country's economy will slow to 6.3% in 2015, compared with the annual average of 10% over the past 30 years leading up to 2010.

According to China's government figures, growth weakened to 7.4% in 2014, from 7.7% in 2013.

A number of emerging markets were also dragged down by geopolitical tensions and a 60% slump in oil prices.

The IMF cut Russia's economic growth outlook to 3% for 2015 and 1% in 2016, following the oil price plunge and a raft of sanctions against the country on its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

Furthermore, countries heavily reliant on oil revenue to prop up their economies are expected to be hit by the fall in oil prices this year.

The IMF sharply downgraded the economic growth forecast for major oil exporter Nigeria to 4.8% in 2015.

Oil prices are still hovering between the $40-$50 per barrel mark on 20 January 2015.

In stark contrast to current figures, back in 2013 and 2012 oil prices averaged $100/bbl. In the summer of 2014, oil peaked at $115/bbl.