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Christine Lagarde:IMF

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    Press Release: Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the Conclusion of a Visit to Senegal

    Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement in Dakar today at the conclusion of her visit to Senegal:

    “It has been a pleasure to be in Senegal on my first visit as IMF Managing Director. I wish to thank President Macky Sall for his hospitality and the quality of our discussions. I also want to thank Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne and Finance Minister Amadou Ba, for our fruitful discussions. I also had the honor to address the National Assembly chaired by Speaker Moustapha Niasse. Finally, I had a rewarding dialogue with women leaders and business schools students.

    “I complimented the authorities on the country’s ambitious development plan, the Plan Senegal Emergent, which aims to double growth in the medium-term. The vision and objectives of the PSE are very ambitious, but achievable if there is a radical break with the past. We agreed that reforms needed to be accelerated and broadened to create economic space for SMEs and foreign direct investment, to diversify and expand exports and create jobs that are the foundation for inclusive growth. The efforts to improve the efficiency of public spending must be reinforced.

    “I also wish to thank Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Governor of the BCEAO for inviting me for a roundtable on “Harnessing Financial Integration for Inclusive Growth” with bankers from the region. My visit to the BCEAO was an opportunity to discuss the issue of financial inclusion. Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the fastest growing regions of the world. Still, growth needs to be more inclusive. The region needs to leverage its well functioning and integrated regional financial system to improve financial inclusion. The opportunities provided by information and communications technology could be better leveraged.



    Christine Lagarde: Oil price slump good for global economy

    INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde says the rapid decline in the price of oil is good news for the global economy “on a net net basis’’, but has warned that the fall could have serious consequences for oil-exporting countries.

    Crude oil has fallen about 40 per cent since mid June and the price yesterday touched its lowest level since mid 2009 before US oil prices posted their biggest one-day gain in two years overnight, largely as a result of speculative traders locking in profits after the recent shock price decline.

    Ms Lagarde said a 30 per cent fall in the price would add almost 1 per cent to growth in the advanced economies of the world.

    “Assuming we have a 30 per cent decline, it is likely to be an dditional 0.8 per cent bonus for most advanced economies because most of them are importers of oil,’’ she told the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council forum in Washington.

    The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries surprised investors across the globe last week when it refused to cut production to support prices.

    The share prices of Australian oil and gas stocks have been hit hard as a result of the oil price decline, especially those with multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas projects under construction.

    Ms Lagarde said that while exporters were “taking a hit” from the price slump, she added that: “For some of them, my assumption is that it is a calculated hit.”

    “But net net it is good,” she said of the broader impact on world economic growth.

    Her comments mirror those of the New York Federal Reserve which said cheaper energy prices were good for the US economy and other net importers of oil.

    Citigroup said today that the collapse in the oil price to a five-year low might have run its course and the cost of oil had probably bottomed.

    But asked about what she viewed as the biggest threats to the global economy, Ms Lagarde replied: “All producers of oil I think should be under watch.”

    She singled out Venezuela as of the most concern because “there is instability and that is not desirable”.

    She was also wary of the oil price adding to the “fragility and vulnerability” of the Russian economy.

    The slowdown in the Chinese economy over the course of 2014 had led to a significant fall in commodity prices, which had hit Australian resource stocks hard.

    But Ms Lagarde expressed confidence in the Chinese leadership’s ability to keep growth at a solid pace.

    She said China “actually delivers” on its promises.

    “hat it plans on doing it does,” she said, noting recent predictions by the Chinese leadership of growth in the year ahead being closer to 7 per cent than 6.5 per cent.

    “I think that is what they are going to do,” she said.

    She said that including the impact of the oil price, the IMF was forecasting 3.5 per cent growth for the US economy next year compared with a previous forecast of 3.1 per cent.

    She claimed that level should be “strong enough” to allow the US Federal Reserve to continue its moves to ease monetary policy stimulus.

    She had confidence the Fed would do this “delicately and sensitively”.
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