LONDON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond on Tuesday welcomed the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) upgrading of Britain's 2017 economic prospects.
The IMF announced an upgrade in its forecast for Britain's GDP growth for 2017 to 2 percent in its latest quarterly forecast, up 1.5 percent on its previous forecast in January.
Hammond said: "We are now forecast by the IMF to be the second fastest growing major advanced economy this year."
Only the United States of all the advanced economies is expected to grow faster than the UK this year, according to the IMF.
The 2018 IMF forecast for the British growth was also upgraded, to 1.5 percent from 1.4 percent.
The current IMF forecast returns it close to the expectations it had for 2017 Britain economic growth of 2.2 percent, which it had forecast before last June's Brexit referendum.
However, the IMF downgraded this forecast to 1.3 percent annual growth, expecting that the uncertain political outcome of the Brexit negotiations and its lengthy period would harm economic prospects.