Monday, October 13, 2014

Bold action needed for global economic recovery: IMF



WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) member countries on Saturday said bold action was needed to bolster the global economic recovery and urged governments not to squelch growth by tightening budgets too drastically, though Germany poured cold water on the idea of a new global crisis.

With Japan’s economy floundering, the eurozone at risk of recession and China’s expansion slowing, the IMF’s steering committee, chaired by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said focusing on growth was the priority. “A number of countries face the prospect of low or slowing growth, with unemployment remaining unacceptably high,” the International Monetary and Financial Committee said on behalf of the organisation’s 188 member countries.

The fund this week cut its 2014 global growth forecast to 3.3 per cent from 3.4 per cent, the third reduction this year as the prospects for a sustainable recovery from the 2007-2009 global financial crisis have ebbed, despite hefty injections of cash by the world’s central banks.

The IMF has flagged Europe as the top concern, a sentiment echoed by many policymakers, economists and investors gathered in Washington for the fund’s fall meetings.

European officials sought to dispel the gloom. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said the drag from fiscal tightening in the eurozone was set to fade, while German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble downplayed the idea that the region’s largest economy was at risk of recession.

“There is no reason to talk about a crisis in the global economy,” he said.

The IMF committee called for fiscal policy flexibility, but efforts to provide more room for France to meet its European Union deficit target looked set to founder on Germany’s insistence that the agreement on fiscal rectitude was set in stone and that the bloc would not be writing any new cheques.

The committee urged nations to carry out politically tough reforms to labour markets and social security to free up money to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and lift growth.

“Our key concern is to look ahead so that we avert ... the very real risk of a prolonged period of subpar growth,” said Mr Tharman.

“To solve today’s growth problems, we have to lift potential growth. That means reforms that don’t pay off immediately but reforms that build confidence over the medium to longer term.” 


[Europe will do it's own thing for it's own politics.]

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