IMF crisis firewall likely to get pivotal boost | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 20.04.2012
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IMF crisis firewall likely to get pivotal boost

Japan believes that the International Monetary Fund will get the funding it requested to help stem the eurozone financial crisis. But the BRICS states flex their muscles as crunch time nears at IMF meeting in Washington.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) looked set to receive pledges from member states to the tune of $400 billion (304 billion euros), Japan's Finance Minister Jun Azumi said.

That is the amount the international development lender has requested to boost its global financial firewall aimed to keep the eurozone debt crisis from spreading.

"I think it is becoming highly possible that we will achieve a sum near the targeted $400 billion," Azumi told reporters in Washington, in footage broadcast in Japan on Friday.

Speaking after the first day of a two-day meeting of IMF and the G-20 group of the world's largest economies, Azumi added that strengthening the IMF firewall would provide "relief and stability" to the global economy.

Japan pledged $60 billion to the fund, adding to the EU's $200 billion and a number of contributions from smaller members to the tune of $60 billion.

However, early on Friday the fund was still $80 billion short of its target, with the United States - the biggest IMF contributor - saying it would not participate in the effort, and emerging nations reluctant to contribute.

As worries about Spain's sovereign debt are mounting, IMF director Christine Lagarde warned Thursday that "lots of clouds" were gathering again with the eurozone remaining the "epicenter of potential risks" beyond the medium term.

BRICS muscle-flexing

As the IMF meeting with G-20 members enters its second day Friday, all eyes are set on whether the so-called BRICS economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - will cover the shortfall in the IMF's intervention fund.

The emerging economies are critical of the IMF's growing exposure to the eurozone crisis and have expressed concern that their funds could be added to further bailouts in Europe.

"We are willing to discuss various funding plans in a frank and positive manner," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told Chinese news agency Xinhua.

In addition some of the BRICS nations appear intent on linking funding to a restructuring of IMF voting rights.

Quota reforms should not be "delayed" and recognize the "ground realities" of the shift in economic power to the BRICS, according to Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,

"We believe that the ultimate goal must be to better reflect the growing role of emerging economies in the global economy," Mukherjee said in a statement he released in his capacity as the head of the G-24 middle income countries.

uhe/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)