Continued improvement will likely be the global economic story for 2011, though the coming year will likely still be haunted by ghosts of years past, a panel of experts said Tuesday.

The slow but steady economic climb expected for the next year will likely keep the Federal Reserve inactive when it comes to rate hikes, a panel of experts said on Tuesday. Washington will likely produce loose fiscal and monetary policy.

Those actions will come as continued areas of concern continue to heal in the coming year, namely housing and unemployment.

“I don’t see a Fed hike until the end of 2012, because it’s going to take a long time to heal,” said Ethan Harris, head of developed economics research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. “The economy is still on the rebound.”

Core inflation will likely remain weak, the panel said, with rising commodity prices leading to headline inflation. U.S. growth will likely come in at 3% for this year and the next couple of years. By comparison, Europe and Japan are projected to have less than 2% growth in 2011, while China is expected to come in at 10%. Future U.S. growth will depend on how it handles its current debt load, now at 245% of GDP, said Encima Global President David R. Malpass.

On a positive note, the stock markets should show more recovery, as earnings and share prices will once again reengage, said Citi Managing Director and Chief Global Equity Strategist Robert Buckland.


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