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Lagarde calls for boosting global growth


04-06-2016 06:46 BJT

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund -- Christine Lagarde -- is turning up the volume on her calls for stronger action to boost growth. Largarde warns that downside risks are increasing without any decisive action.

Lagarde said during a speech in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday that recovery from the global financial crisis remains too slow and too fragile and that risks to its durability are increasing.

"Let me be clear: I'm not raising the alarm, I'm saying that we are on alert. There has been a loss of growth momentum, but we believe if policy makers could be determined to act together to confront the challenges, the positive effects on global confidence and the global economy can be substantial and we can get back on track," she said.

The U.S. recovery has been gaining momentum and some emerging markets such as Mexico have performed well. But the IMF says growth in Europe and Japan has been a major disappointment. The IMF also says that China's slowing growth has hurt oil and commodity exporting countries, including Brazil and Russia.

"China, as I said, is shifting its business model and as a result, is having good growth. You know, 6.5 (percent growth) is nothing to be ashamed of but it's significantly lower than what they had experienced and what their suppliers and the supply chain had experienced. Russia and Brazil are experiencing significant downturns, more so than what we had expected. And that is also true for the Middle East, which is the prime region which is suffering from the low oil prices," she said.

Lagarde for the first time prescribed some specific policy actions to counteract the headwinds.

"If you take the United States for instance, it can boost its labor supply by expanding the earned income tax credit -- that's one option -- by increasing the federal minimum wage and strengthening family friendly benefits. Those are three areas that can actually deliver for the U.S. market," she said.

Lagarde also advised Europe to improve job training and emerging economies to cut their fuel subsidies and boost social spending.

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