World Bank

Developing countries should not be tempted to stimulate their economies this year in the face of weak growth, the World Bank warned on Wednesday even though the world faces another challenging year.

In forecasts that suggest 2013 will see only marginally stronger growth than last year, the Bank recommends that poor and middle-income countries concentrate on fundamental drivers of prosperity rather than attempt a quick fix.

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Claire Jones

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IMF/ World Bank meetings

Many of the world’s top central bankers will travel to Tokyo this week for the IMF/ World Bank annual meetings. The meetings take place on Friday and Saturday.

Details of the meetings and the full programme of seminars is available here. Highlights include a talk by Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, on Sunday at 11:30 a.m Tokyo time (2.30am GMT), and appearances by Fed chair Ben Bernanke and ECB president Mario Draghi at a BoJ/IMF event later in the day. Read more

Claire Jones

Obama’s World Bank nominee Jim Yong Kim is a man of many talents… (Mr Kim’s attempt to be the next Kelly Clarkson begins two minutes in). Read more

Claire Jones

Our week ahead email will help you to track the most important events in the central banking world. To see all of our emails and alerts visit

The majority of the world’s central bank governors and finance ministers are in Washington, DC this weekend for the IMF/ World Bank Annual Meetings.

Will there be any more policy coordination following the G-20 communiqué released late Thursday? Read more

Claire Jones

FOMC speak
Three Federal Open Market Committee members give their take on the US economic outlook following Tuesday’s pledge to keep rates at record lows for almost another two years.

William Dudley, the New York Fed president and the only voting member of the three, offers his thoughts on Thursday. He follows the Atlanta Fed’s Dennis Lockhart, who is set to talk on the US economy on Monday at 17.00 GMT. This post, from the Atlanta Fed’s research director Dave Altig and economist Mike Bryan, signals that Mr Lockhart is likely to be in the wait-and-see camp on QE3. The Cleveland Fed’s Sandra Pianalto covers the evolving financial services industry along with the economic outlook when she speaks on Friday at 17.45 GMT. Read more

Alan Beattie

It’s often the fate of the World Bank to be overshadowed at the spring meetings, since its sibling, the IMF, is generally in the thick of a faster-moving story (Greece, currencies, bank taxes, etc).

But in a weekend when the IMF basically avoided discussing all the big questions, the bank actually made some real concrete progress: it secured the $5.1bn capital increase that its president Robert Zoellick has been seeking for the best part of a year. So, like the IMF with its tripled firepower, the bank is having a shot at keeping up with the growth in the global economy. Read more

Alan Beattie

We generally call it the renminbi round here, but yuan gives a better headline. Just come out of a briefing from the UK’s Alistair Darling, taking a break from the general election campaign (for those taking notes, he’s got a majority of 7,242, not the safest seat in the world but not a marginal).

Darling had just stepped out of the IMF ministerial committee meeting in which, he informed us when I asked him, the words “yuan” and “renminbi” were never uttered. Apparently they discussed global economic imbalancing in somewhat broader terms. And the 800-pound panda in the corner of the room went ignored.

Alan Beattie

A communique that more or less acknowledged disagreement over the great bank taxes debate and a Canadian finance minister, Jim Flaherty, thinking that the debate was swinging Canada’s (anti-bank levy, pro-contingent capital) way. I think one of two things could happen at this point:

1. The US and Europeans who support the bank tax will keep pushing it at G20 level, perhaps soft-pedalling until after the Canadian-hosted G7/G20 summit in June and then resuming the campaign in the second half of the year.

2. As Secretary Geithner suggested tonight, the US might just forge ahead anyway and hope that the rest of the world follows behind once they see what a great idea it is. My notes (not precise quote) say: “We are going to move in the US and I suspect you will find when other countries see what we do, they are going to take similar measures”.

Not entirely sure that 2. is a sustainable option, since other countries might well think it is worth taking the risk of funding a bank bailout down the line to steal business from American and European banks now. Then again, Canadian banks aren’t particularly known for buccaneering adventurism in other developed country markets (some are quite big in emerging markets), so perhaps they are an exception that can be tolerated without too much risk of being undercut. Japan, on the other hand, another opponent of bank taxes, could be a different matter. Read more

Simone Baribeau

Who has the crisis hit hardest?

The 53m people (close to the population of the UK) who will remain in extreme poverty by 2015 who would not have had there not been a crisis.

And that wasn’t the grimmest of the World Bank-IMF Global Monitoring report.

“Although the recovery is underway the negative impact will be lasting,” said Delfin Go, World Bank lead economist, at a press conference.

Among the other impacts of the crisis:

  • 1.2m additional children may die from 2009 to 2015.
  • 100m people (three times the population of Canada) may remain without access to clean drinking water.
  • 350,000 more children may not finish primary school.

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Simone Baribeau

We have moved “way beyond a North-South world” and the World Bank is moving with it.

The message, from Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, came as he called for shareholders to expand developing countries votes at the institution at the opening of the WB/IMF spring meetings. Read more

Alan Beattie

Consider the evidence: it’s the IMF/World Bank spring meetings this coming weekend in Washington. Big emerging market countries, mainly in Asia, have been pushing for a higher voting weight on the executive boards of the Fund and Bank. Standing in their way are the Europeans, who would have to give up some of their influence. And the week of the meetings, it just so happens that a volcanic ash cloud threatens to keep the Europeans away altogether and let Asia grab a lot more of the attention.

I’m not necessarily saying I have cast-iron proof from two sources that the Asians got the volcano to erupt somehow. I’m saying it’s mightily convenient, that’s all.

I am at a so-so lunch discussing the prospects for long-term economic growth and have just heard the best comment on global imbalances and the worst suggestion for international organisations. Both came from Angel Gurria, secretary general of the OECD.

The words of truth: “I don’t think anything of substance has been done during the crisis to correct global imbalances. It was the crisis itself that reduced imbalances”. Depressing but true. Read more

Banks face higher refinancing costs as $7,000bn of short-term debt is due to mature in the next three years. The IEA is accused of overstating energy reserves and the chief economist of the World Bank says China should not be forced to allow appreciation of the renminbi Read more

Oil trades may be denominated in a basket of currencies, rather than the US dollar. Brazil is having a good week, and there are growing calls for IMF reform to go further than that agreed at the G20 Pittsburgh meeting Read more

Quantitative easing set to expand as fresh capital is required, particularly in emerging markets. London’s competitiveness as a financial centre is threatened and rumours of devaluation in Switzerland and Venezuela Read more

The World Bank questions the supremacy of the United States, as other commentators question the legitimacy and usefulness of the World Bank. Bad news for ‘developed’ countries; good news for ‘emerging’ markets; and questions over the distinction between them Read more

The Financial Times’ Money Supply morning round-up: Tensions persist over the priorities of the g20 summit, amid warnings that the financial crisis is not yet over. Read more

Krishna Guha

I’ve just been speaking to China’s ambassador to the US – Zhou Wenzhong – and he doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about a renewed push on global imbalances.

He also says that China’s premier has made it clear “this is no time to talk about exit strategy” and that Beijing’s efforts to support growth “will continue” – but with an additional focus on making sure that bank lending does not all end up in real estate and equities.