The head of the International Monetary Fund says the global economy is improving after a difficult time, but remains fragile. In a Tuesday speech to journalists in Washington, Christine Lagarde warned against complacency or insularity. She said Europe's economy is showing some encouraging signs, but remains under strain, while the United States is seeing improved signs of growth and employment.
Lagarde called for continued U.S. leadership on economic issues, and argued the world is so interconnected that problems around the world directly affect Americans.
The Managing Director of the IMF says the economic crisis was eased by bold actions by major central banks that calmed financial markets. She said the world needs a stronger and safer financial system that puts societal interest ahead of financial gain, and called for improved regulations coordinated across nations to reach that goal.
Lagarde said boosting economic growth is critical to helping the 200 million unemployed people around the world. She says it is too soon for policymakers to cut back efforts to stimulate the economy, and warned that cutting government spending too soon could hamper the recovery.
She says Washington must cut its deficit with a balance of spending cuts and tax increases. She also noted continuing problems in the housing sector, and said banks were helped out by the taxpayers, and said households now need help.
The IMF managing director also called for greater financial resources for the global organization, but did not specify how much money is needed. Lagarde said the IMF is an "economic club" 187 nations focused on global economic stability who help each other in times of need so everyone can prosper. She said the IMF is a good investment for member nations.