spring meetings

Simone Baribeau

It’s easier to ask for the benefit of the doubt than to give it.

In response to a question about the Greeks’ low opinion of the IMF, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, called on critics to “give the IMF the benefit of the doubt,” arguing that it is a changed institution.

So is the IMF giving the benefit of the doubt to those whose financial systems held up in the crisis but who are now pushing back against calls for reform? Doesn’t look like it.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF managing director, in an apparent swipe at the Canadas of the world, said that resisting co-ordinated reforms was “short-sighted”. Countries whose financial systems came close to collapse, would likely have, in the pre-crisis days, felt that they too needed no stronger regulation. If banks in those countries failed, Mr Strauss-Kahn argued, others could be similarly overly optimistic about the strength of their system. Read more

Simone Baribeau

Change is here. Anoop Singh, the IMF’s Director, Asia Pacific Department, outlined the differences between this global recovery and prior recoveries in Asia in a press briefing. What were Asia’s three main firsts?

This is the first time that Asia’s contribution to a global recovery outstripped outher regions; the first time the recovery has been reinforced by resilient domestic demand, rather than just exports; and the first time the capital inflow to the region have surged to this degree.

Of course, not everything could be a first. Here’s a wrap of Mr. Singh’s other comments on the region. Read more