IMF Loan Fund Growing

Posted April 20th, 2012 at 4:05 am (UTC-5)
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Finance ministers from the world's 20 biggest economies enter a second day of talks Friday in Washington, with the European debt crisis likely to dominate the discussions.

The International Monetary Fund is seeking an additional $400 billion from member nations to boost its ability to protect the world economy against the eurozone debt crisis. The IMF has already collected $320 billion in new pledges, and Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters Thursday it is highly possible the fund will achieve its goal.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde affirmed Azumi's remarks, saying she expects more pledges from the IMF's 188 member countries in the coming days.

“As part of the outcome of this meeting, we expect our firepower to be significantly increased.”

But so far, there have been no pledges from the IMF's largest shareholder, the United States. Washington has already set aside $171 billion in available loans to the fund, but has yet to ratify a 2010 commitment to increase funding by $60 billion, and an agreement is not likely in an election year.

Lagarde says the U.S. has begun to recover from the global recession, but warns about new threats to the global economy that could cause the U.S. economy to falter.

“If I was to use a weather analogy, because we are all very fond of weather reports, we are seeing light recovery, and blowing in a spring wind. But we are also seeing some very dark clouds on the horizon, which is another way to tell you there is a bit of a recovery, timid and a fragile situation with still high risks.”

She said the risks include high unemployment throughout the world, renewed economic stresses in Europe for other debt-ridden countries and protracted slow economic growth.

The 17-nation European bloc that uses the euro has pledged $200 billion of the new funds, with Japan saying it will contribute $60 billion. Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Denmark have also said they would loan the International Monetary Fund more money to support the global lending efforts.