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IMF Urges Continued Low Interest Rates, More Spending, Reforms


IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, accompanied by International Monetary and Financial Committee Chair Agustín Carstens, speaks at a news conference after the IMFC conference at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, April 16, 2016.

Financial officials from around the world are pledging a stronger effort to stimulate the sluggish economy.

In a communique issued Saturday, members of the International Monetary Fund said they would work toward "strong, sustainable, job-rich and more balanced global growth."

The comments came as part of this week's meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. The top financial and economic officials called for continued low interest rates and additional government spending to boost growth.

They also called for financial reforms in many areas, including banking, and steps to make it harder to hide wealth from tax collectors in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

IMF experts said the global economy was continuing to expand "modestly," with an outlook that has weakened in recent months. They warned that a "significant slowdown" in trade persisted.

They also warned that falling commodity prices, including oil, had hurt exporters and had done less to help countries that import commodities than economists expected.

The head of the United Nations, meanwhile, said economic troubles, violence and hunger were creating a refugee crisis of “epic proportions” around the world.

In a Washington speech Saturday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said more than 60 million people had been forced to flee their homes because of conflict.

He urged member nations of the World Bank and IMF to support nations receiving vulnerable people and to “counter xenophobic narratives.”

The U.N. chief said social and economic development in troubled nations was the long-term solution to refugee flows, but better organization, cooperation, funding and loans were needed in the meantime.