News / Asia

    IMF Urges Decisive Action on Debt by US, Europe

    IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (R) and IMFC Chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam hold a joint news conference at the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group in Tokyo, October 13, 2012.
    IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (R) and IMFC Chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam hold a joint news conference at the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group in Tokyo, October 13, 2012.
    VOA NewsSteve Herman
    Global finance ministers are calling for increasing the pace of reform to rebuild confidence at a time of faltering economic growth.

    At their joint meeting with the World Bank in Tokyo, leaders of the International Monetary Fund issued a communique acknowledging economic growth is decelerating, amid risk and uncertainty.

    The chairman of the IMF's steering committee, Singapore's Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, says the situation is improved from earlier in the year.

    "We're in a better position now than we were six months ago. It remains challenging," he said. "There remain downside risks. And, in particular, we were all quite candid about the nature of those downside risks. The fiscal cliff in the U.S. and the uncertainties over how it will be resolved is a major uncertainty that affects the entire world. That's, in fact, a major spillover.”

    Unless the U.S. Congress acts by the end of the year, cuts in spending and rises in taxes will automatically be implemented.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner acknowledged to his counterparts his country has made progress but still has much work to do in order for its fiscal affairs to be in order. His comment in Tokyo came hours after the U.S. Government announced the budget deficit was above one trillion dollars for the fourth straight year.

    Frustration was also expressed among participants here with the slow pace of debt reform in Europe.

    About the only disagreements to emerge publicly from the sessions concerned how much time troubled countries, such as Greece, should get to slash budgets and whether monetary easing intended to encourage more bank lending will actually destabilize markets while failing to prevent recession.

    IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says there was no objection to the recommendations given to the membership.

    "I think there is a general consensus that collective action is going to produce results," she said.

    But Lagarde's Global Policy Agenda - a written statement issued Saturday - sounded gloomy with expressions of frustration. It notes limited progress in addressing debt overhangs and weak financial systems and says confidence has not been restored because of continued uncertainty on key policies.

    The IMF and World Bank governors' joint Development Committee is expressing concern that  financial crises “mean fewer jobs where millions are needed.” The committee also called on the bank to step up work with other agencies and donors to break the cycle of emergency aid for the Sahel, in Africa, where it says hunger threatens the lives of 19 million people and the stability of the region.

    For the less fortunate in poorer countries, the IMF has announced it is devoting more than $1 billion from windfall sales of gold for low-cost loans.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora