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IMF Chief Lagarde Sees Growing Global Economy

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivers remarks on the world's economy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C, Jan. 15, 2014.
The International Monetary Fund says that the global economy should strengthen in 2014, but that growth is "too low, too fragile and too uneven."

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday in Washington that the effects of the 2008 world economic downturn are still lingering, but that "optimism is in the air." She said the global economy advanced in the latter half of 2013 and is likely to improve even further this year.

But she said that "global growth is still stuck in low gear." Lagarde noted that even as the world's largest economies lead the advance, several emerging markets "are slowing down."

She said the overall economic gains will not be enough to create new jobs for the 200 million unemployed workers around the world.

Lagarde said that world leaders need to avoid making the wrong decisions on key economic issues. She said the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, needs to avoid ending its direct economic support of the world's largest economy too quickly and that Congress needs to again increase the country's borrowing limit.

Lagarde said European leaders could advance the fortunes of the 18-nation euro currency bloc with targeted lending to support job growth. She said policy makers in emerging markets have to be wary of financial excess.

The IMF chief said economic fortunes in low-income countries are "generally good," but that these nations need to raise more money to avoid shocks from larger economies.