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What just happened at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings?

Against a backdrop of heightened tension in the Middle East, two global financial institutions established 80 years ago to further economic stability in the wake of World War II met for their annual Spring Meetings.
The meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) focused on building resilience in the world economy.
"What we want is a world where growth is stronger, living standards are higher and low-income countries are not falling down. A world that is more resilient to the shocks that will continue to come," said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
Georgieva urged countries to "finish the job" of taming inflation and shoring up fiscal buffers that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis.
Key events included meetings of the Development Committee, a ministerial-level forum of the World Bank Group and IMF to build intergovernmental consensus on development issues, and the International Monetary and Finance Committee, the IMF's steering committee.
During the week, several sessions were live-streamed to the public, and are available to catch up on, including a seminar led by Gita Gopinath, the IMF's First Deputy Managing Director, on Capital Flows and Growth: Where is the Money Going?

Here's a round-up of the week, including key quotes, the main headlines and report launches.
World Economic Outlook: Growth projections
The IMF published its flagship World Economic Outlook on 16 April, with a press briefing as one of the scheduled Spring Meetings sessions.
It found that the global economy has been "surprisingly resilient, despite significant central bank interest rate hikes to restore price stability".
Global growth was projected to continue at 3.2% for 2024 and 2025, with the forecast for this year revised up by 0.1 percentage point from the January 2024 World Economic Outlook Update.
Georgieva said in a press conference, that productivity across Europe and consumer spending in China were the key to boosting global growth.
The IMF's chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told a press conference that "the global economy continues to display remarkable resilience with growth holding steady and inflation declining, but many challenges still lie ahead."
He warned that a potential escalation of the Middle East conflict could have a "strong effect" on limiting growth, raising oil prices and inflation, and triggering tighter monetary policy from central banks.
Global Financial Stability: Risks receding
The IMF also published its Global Financial Stability Report, which assesses risks to global financial stability. It found that near-term risks had receded as it's expected the reduction in the rate of inflation (or disinflation) is "entering its last mile".
"Confidence in a soft landing for the global economy is growing against a backdrop of better-than-expected economic data in many parts of the world," the report said.
But this came with a warning that the last mile of disinflation, may be complicated by several "salient near-term financial fragilities", and medium-term vulnerabilities including growing public and private debt and China's housing market downturn.
The report also assesses risks to corporate private credit and the growing threat of cyberattacks.

Meanwhile, the IMF, World Bank and G20 president, Brazil, announced there had been "significant progress on global debt issues" in recent months, after a meeting of the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings.
Outside of the meetings, Indermit Gill, the World Bank’s Chief Economist, told The Guardian that the G20's common framework – a tool to speed up and simplify debt restructuring – was "not working".
"If the money from debt relief was coming in dribs and drabs, I would say OK, but there hasn’t been a single dollar of debt relief from the common framework.”
Affordable health for 1.5 billion people
Since taking over the helm as president of the World Bank in June 2023, Ajay Banga has spearheaded an "evolution agenda" through reforms, which will expand the bank's traditional development and anti-poverty mission to include fighting climate change and other global crises.
Climate change, pandemics, conflict, societal aging, and a shortage of healthcare workers are exacerbating poverty and inequality, with some 2 billion people unable to afford health services.
The World Bank Group announced plans to provide quality, affordable health services to 1.5 billion people by 2030 as part of a global effort.
“Providing a basic standard of care for people throughout their lives is critical for development,” said Banga. “This ambition won’t be realized with a solo effort. It will require partners, a coalition of public and private sector, working together to expand access to health care services.”

Apr 24, 2024 13:43
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