(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cited central bank interest-rate hikes around the world as one potential risk to a generally favorable economic outlook.

“We’ve seen a tightening in monetary policy in many countries, and that creates a downside risk,” Yellen said in answering questions at a press conference in Sao Paulo ahead of meetings with her counterparts from the world’s top economies. She also noted that “inflation has been coming down in many countries,” while stopping short of suggesting that rate cuts might now be appropriate.

Geopolitical risks pose another danger, with “significant economic spillovers” in the case of an expanded regional conflict in the Middle East, Yellen said. She also said that Israeli actions are “seriously” impeding the West Bank economy.

Even so, she highlighted in her remarks Tuesday that the strength of the US economy has been a key driver of global economic resilience. “Over the past year, global growth has been resilient and stronger than predicted,” Yellen said. “America’s path to a soft landing has underpinned global growth.”

Yellen touted Biden administration policies that she argues have helped drive a surprisingly resilient US economy, which has featured historically low unemployment. By contrast, the euro zone has seen stagnant growth, Japan has contracted and China has had to roll out support measures to counter weak domestic demand.

G-20 Meeting

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 emerging and developed nations are gathering this week in Brazil’s business capital to assess the state of the global economy.

The US Treasury chief noted that expectations of a broad-based slowdown in the world economy for 2023 — put out by the International Monetary Fund and other forecasters — ended up not materializing.

The IMF raised its forecast for global growth this year on better-than-expected expansion in the US, along with fiscal stimulus in China, even as it warned of risks from wars and inflation. World GDP will rise 3.1% this year, up from the 2.9% seen in October, the fund said last month.

At home, Yellen and Joe Biden have sought to showcase strong economic numbers as the president faces a tough re-election campaign, with surveys suggesting continuing public dissatisfaction after a surge in the cost of living.

No Recession

Yellen acknowledged there are risks facing the global outlook, and said she continues to carefully monitor the economic challenges in certain countries.

Chief among them are the effects of prolonged conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East that led to spikes in commodity prices and global supply chain disruptions. Debt troubles plaguing many low-income nations are another source of global vulnerability, as is stubborn inflation that might force central banks to keep interest rates higher for longer.

But things could have been worse.

“Had a US recession come in 2023, like many predicted, global growth would have been thrown off track,” Yellen said. She cited policies championed by the administration including increased infrastructure spending, measures to boost manufacturing jobs and investments in clean energy as helping underpin US resilience.

(Updates with comments from press briefing starting in first paragraph.)

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