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IMF Head Upbeat After Spring Meetings

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde listens to a question during a G-20 news conference at the IMF and World Bank Group Spring Meetings in Washington, April 20, 2012.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde listens to a question during a G-20 news conference at the IMF and World Bank Group Spring Meetings in Washington, April 20, 2012.
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Nico Colombant

The head of the International Monetary Fund is upbeat as spring finance meetings in Washington come to a close, with more money for the lending agency to help struggling governments, especially in Europe.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the big development of the meetings was the combined $430 billion pledge in additional resources from different countries. "It is nice to have a big umbrella or a big firewall however you want to call it," she said.

The amount nearly doubles the agency's reserves available for emergency loans to almost $1 trillion.

She agreed with the characterization of a so-called "Washington moment" in terms of trying to avoid another financial crisis. "Washington moment? Yes, the spirit, the momentum, the dynamic that was created in the course of this meeting," she said.

The 188-nation IMF has provided about $300 billion in emergency loans since a global financial crisis hit in 2007, including the largest program in the fund's history for still struggling Greece.

Another European economy, which is much bigger, Spain, is currently facing recession, soaring debt and steadily falling property prices.

Lagarde urged deficit-saddled governments to speed reforms and said the IMF must continually improve its economic surveillance mechanisms to act before it is too late.

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