Posts Tagged ‘international monetary fund’

IMF Gloomy On Global Economy, Pushes ECB To Adopt Weimar Style Monetary Policies

July 17th, 2012 Comments off

The latest report from the World Economic Outlook, released by the International Monetary Fund, cuts its forecast on global GDP growth. Of greater importance is the focus the IMF placed on the Eurozone debt crisis.  According to the IMF report, “The utmost priority is to resolve the crisis in the euro area.”

The IMF appears to be standing with those who are calling for the European Central Bank to replicate the loose monetary policies and money printing of the U.S. Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke.  The report virtually pleads for the ECB president, Mario Draghi, to place his printing presses in overdrive.

 “The ECB should ensure that its monetary support is transmitted effectively across the region and should continue to provide ample liquidity support to banks under sufficiently lenient conditions,” so says the International Monetary Fund in its report. It appears that the IMF is seeking Weimar style solutions to the European debt crisis, obviously forgetful of what those policies did for Germany  in the 1920s and early 1930s.



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IMF Chief Christine Lagarde Remains Very Concerned About The Global Economic Crisis

April 13th, 2012 Comments off

The director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, sounds very worried, while engaging in contradictory messaging in her speech before the Brookings Institution. On the one hand, she mimics what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke did two years ago with his talk of “green shoots.” Lagarde speaks of the U.S. economy showing glimmers of positive data, while acknowledging, in her own words, that,  “Only a few months ago, we seemed to be staring into the abyss.” She urges the advanced economies to take advantage of the glimmer of “good news” to invest in growth and more bailouts for the financial sector, while also warning about the sovereign debt crisis afflicting the Eurozone.

“Clearly, the risk that looms largest is that sovereign and financial stresses return with renewed force in Europe,” Christine Lagarde told the Brookings Institution. But what solutions does the IMF have to offer? Borrow more to recapitalize banks that made the wrong bet on risky loans while simultaneously boosting government deficit spending to “stimulate growth?” Or, cutting back on government spending, thus creating a fiscal drag that leads to negative growth without reducing deficits? The IMF and its leader, just like the politicians of the advanced economies, have run out of solutions, other than meaningless cliches.




IMF Cuts Global Economic Growth Forecast

January 25th, 2012 Comments off

The International Monetary Fund has another revised global forecast that reflects growing pessimism. In the debt-crisis ravaged Eurozone, the IMF now projects negative growth of minus .5 percent, in effect a double-dip recession. A recession means plummeting tax revenue, rendering the sovereign debt crisis even more  virulent.

While the IMF still projects overall global growth, though at a lower projected 3.3 percent, its latest report states that this strangely optimistic projection is “predicated on the assumption that in the euro area, policymakers intensify efforts to address the crisis.” In other words, the Eurozone must reverse its fiscal austerity, and once again engage in deficit stimulus spending.

What the IMF seems to ignore is that the bond market is increasingly unlikely to lend money to debt-strapped European economies at interest rates that are sustainable. Or, perhaps, the IMF is hoping it will gain a massive cash infusion so it can bail out Eurozone economies, or the European Central Bank will get the hint, and start running its printing press at maximum velocity. But not even the ECB’s printing machine, along with the IMF, can easily sort out this economic and fiscal crisis.




IMF Head Christine Lagarde Warns On Economic Crisis Becoming Another Great Depression

December 16th, 2011 Comments off

The International Monetary Fund’s boss, Christine Lagarde, has issued another warning regarding the global economic crisis. This time, she spoke in Washington DC about  the danger of another Great Depression unless all countries work together to resolve the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. If they don’t act in unison and effectively, Lagarde said the consequences would be, “Protectionism, isolation, and other elements reminiscent of the 1930s Depression.”

The grim outlook from the IMF is in sequence with cascading warnings from France and Germany that unless fiscal policy in the Eurozone becomes “harmonized” (e.g. more erosion of national sovereignty) and other countries outside the Eurozone (especially China) provide funding for the “big bazooka” to backstop the danger of sovereigns becoming insolvent, the global economy will implode. What the IMF and the politicians have not said is that it is politically impossible for them to obtain all the scenarios they claim are needed to prevent outright catastrophe.



Officer Larry of the NYPD is on his way to Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan to arrest peaceful protesters involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Being a public spirited member of the New York Police Department, Officer Larry does remind us that there is a global economic crisis underway that rivals the Great Depression of the 1930s.

IMF Warns: Global Economy Is In a “Dangerous Place”

September 22nd, 2011 Comments off

The global economic crisis that erupted in 2008, and was supposedly “cured” by the massive public debts incurred by the policymakers, is apparently evolving into a terminal tailspin. A growing number of reputable economists, including Nouriel Roubini, are frankly stating that advanced economies, in particular the United States, the Eurozone countries and the United Kingdom, have entered a double-dip recession. The economic outlook is so bleak that even establishment institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, and to a lesser extent the U.S. Federal Reserve, are candidly acknowledging the dire state of the global economy and the precariousness of its financial architecture. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was forced prematurely to hint at some level of policy intervention; the result, the so-called “Operation Twist,” a macabre arrangement whereby the Federal Reserve’s short-term purchases of U.S. Treasuries are swapped for long-term government debt instruments. The resulting plunge in equity values demonstrates that the market is no longer easily fooled by Bernanke and his clowns.

In a starkly candid statement, the new managing director of the IMF said that the world’s economy was entering a “dangerous place.” Given that the leaders of major global economic bodies do not seek to erode market confidence during turbulent economic times, it must be surmised that Christine Lagarde would not have issued such a pronouncement as the leader of the IMF unless the data she is privy to shows that things are actually much worse than what is being publicly discussed.

Will my prediction of economic catastrophe in 2012 hold true? Based on current developments and increasingly grim talk by economists and policymakers such as the IMF’s managing director, I think the chances that I am wrong are weaker than the likelihood that my forecast is correct.





















Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF and a Bizarre Case

July 2nd, 2011 Comments off

Just when things appeared they could not be more strange with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, they in fact get a lot stranger. First the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, one of the most powerful men in the world, is arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid. He is in fact indicted by a grand jury. But now, after the Manhattan district attorney previously boasted about his “solid” case against the recently disgraced and resigned head of the IMF, he is forced to inform the presiding judge and defense  counsel that the supposed victim and only witness against Dominique Strauss-Kahn  has, in fact, repeatedly told lies to the prosecution.

The tough bail conditions imposed on Strauss-Kahn have already been lifted. While the charges have not been withdrawn, the consensus of legal opinion is that the case against the former head of the IMF has been fatally tarred by the revelation  of lying by the hotel maid, and in all probability the charges will either be withdrawn or dismissed.

The rumors are already rife as to the possibility that the whole affair was a set-up to  destroy Strauss-Kahn. If this in fact was what occurred, was it to remove a potent opponent to French president Sarkozy in the upcoming national elections in France? Or, was the goal to bring about a change at the top of the IMF? And, was it only a coincidence that while this affair was raging, an unnamed nation-state hacked into the confidential data bases of the International Monetary Fund?


Undisclosed Nation-State Launches Cyber Attack on the IMF

June 13th, 2011 Comments off

Just when things couldn’t get more bizarre for the International Monetary Fund, a leaked internal memo from the powerful global financial entity indicates it was the target of a highly sophisticated “spear-phishing” hacker attack. The BBC indicated that security expert Tom Kellerman told the Reuters news agency, “that it was ‘a targeted attack’ with code written specifically to give a nation state a ‘digital insider presence’ on the IMF network.”

Other views by computer security experts add to the picture that the IMF was targeted by a state actor wanting a presence inside the databases of the organization. While not enough information has been leaked to identify the likely nation-state or its objectives, I will inject my own speculation.

My view is that such an extreme measure targeting the IMF would likely be initiated by a large economy and global creditor that is vulnerable to massive write-downs of its overseas sovereign debt purchases, especially within the Eurozone, UK and USA. Such an actor might decide that the strategy it must implement to safeguard its investments and long-term fiscal equilibrium requires an extraordinary degree of access  to highly confidential IMF data and policy assessments. Furthermore, such an actor would have already established its interest in cyber-warfare, and has an advanced computer infrastructure of sufficient level to design the highly sophisticated software utilized in the IMF hacking operation.

When it comes to the culprit, I don’t think we are talking about Zimbabwe.


IMF in Turmoil; Who Will Replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

May 24th, 2011 Comments off

The International Monetary Fund, as predicted in a recent post, will need to find a new managing director, following the arrest and indictment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn over allegations of sexual assault involving a maid at a Manhattan hotel. With Europe engulfed in a full-blown sovereign debt crisis, and the IMF viewed increasingly as the lender of last resort for the insolvent PIGGS nations on the periphery of the European monetary union, a vacancy at the top of the International Monetary Fund adds further to already elevated levels of market uncertainty.

Among the names being floated for new head of the IMF is the finance minister of France, Christine Lagarde. Her name has been surfaced by a strong faction within the IMF which  believes its head must remain a European, just as the leader of the World Bank is traditionally an American. In any event, whoever is the new leader of the IMF, he or she will head a pivotal backstop to the unraveling of the global financial system and economy that has been severely weakened and tarnished by a scandal that is an allegory for all the ills of the current global economic system.



Head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arrested In New York City!

May 15th, 2011 Comments off


In  a bizarre twist in the still-evolving global economic crisis, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the iconic Director General of the IMF, has been arrested in New York in connection with allegations involving the sexual assault on a maid at a Manhattan hotel. According to news reports, the IMF head was removed from a Paris-bound flight just prior to take-off from JFK airport.

Normally, an allegation of sexual assault would not be a relevant factor in the global financial and economic crisis. However, the 62 year-old Strauss-Kahn and the International Monetary Fund he runs is so pivotal a player in the global economic crisis, any hint of scandal or illegality that may force him to resign is bound to have a profound impact on global markets. It was under the leadership of Strauss-Kahn that the IMF was center-stage in constructing the bailouts of insolvent nations in the Eurozone, specifically Greece, Ireland and now Portugal. Should he be formally charged, it is a certainty that the IMF will need to find a new leader. This will add a huge dose of uncertainty just as the European sovereign debt crisis is growing to levels that may have surpassed the possibility of containment.



European Debt Crisis In Danger of Metastasizing: IMF Warning On Eurozone

May 12th, 2011 Comments off


The International Monetary Fund has released a report that contradicts what the Eurozone politicians have been boasting of for about a year. Despite assurances that vast sums of borrowed money loaned to the even more indebted Eurozone nations of Greece, Ireland and very soon Portugal would contain Europe’s sovereign debt crisis from spreading like a malignant cancer to the more substantial economies in the monetary union, the IMF apparently begs to differ.

According to the most recent IMF report on the European debt crisis, “contagion to the core euro area, and then onwards to emerging Europe, remains a tangible downside risk.” In the meantime, European politicians are already frantically looking at renegotiating their bailout loans to Greece and Ireland, with a reduction of the unbearably high interest rates being incurred by Athens and Dublin. But many savvy economists have already warned that these massive bailouts are an expensive fallacy, and will only delay the inevitable: restructuring loans that can never be repaid, or sovereign default.

The tone of the most recent semi-annual IMF report makes it clear that those who actually look at the numbers know that the European sovereign debt crisis is far from over, and has every possibility of getting much worse.