Opinion

Chrystia Freeland

Interview with Christine Lagarde at the IMF

Chrystia Freeland
Jan 18, 2013 16:27 UTC

Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde sat down for an interview with Chrystia Freeland yesterday, January 17th, following the IMF’s New Year Press Briefing.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND:

Thank you for joining me, Madame Lagarde.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE:

My pleasure.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND:

One of your themes as we enter 2013 is that financial reform must continue.  And you have just said that you’re concerned, you see a waning commitment to financial reform.  What do you see going on?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE:

I see a lot of pressure coming out of the industry.  Which is clearly part of their job.  They will naturally lobby to support more flexible, more accommodating regulations.  I think, you know, the financial sector is so particular and so special because of the confidence factor associated with it and the role played by the authorities sometimes in order to support that sector, that it warrants stronger regulations.

And, you know, stronger buffers against potential risks and regular tests of their capacity to resist shocks.  So my– our take is that the financial regulation has to proceed, has to be completed.  And that the appropriate buffers, whether it’s by way of liquidity ratio, whether it’s by way of capital ratio for banks, or whether it’s by way of appropriate scope of regulations, for instance the shadow banking, has to proceed.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND:

Something that we are hearing a lot from the banks is that actually now is the wrong time to be tightening finan–

The euro zone, slow-motion crashes and Latvia

Chrystia Freeland
Jun 7, 2012 21:30 UTC

Spending time with top European policymakers at the moment is scary and slightly nauseating, like the final, slow-motion moments before a car accident, when you can see precisely both how you will probably crash and what it would take, if only you could force your paralyzed muscles into action, to swerve to safety.

That’s why Christine Lagarde, the formidable French chief of the International Monetary Fund, told me this week that she wants to lock Europe’s dithering leaders in a room and leave them there until they figure things out.

“If I was able to do one thing, I would lock them in a room, take the key and let them come up with a comprehensive plan,” Lagarde said, when I asked what her fantasy scenario was for Europe. “I’m sure they can make it. I know the fundamentals are solid. The numbers on an aggregate basis are good. And, as I said, we have to take the key because they cannot escape unless and until they’ve firmed up the plan. But they can do it.”

Even the IMF now agrees it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs

Chrystia Freeland
Mar 7, 2011 22:38 UTC

Regular readers of Chrystia’s column will remember that she recently called out the IMF for failing to foresee the destabilizing effects of rising youth unemployment in Egypt. Specifically, in its April 2010 Article IV assessment of Egypt, the IMF concluded the country’s economy was in fact more resistant to external shocks thanks to “sustained and wide-ranging reforms.” Well, it turns out that the IMF has evolved in its thinking.  In an exclusive interview today with Chrystia and Reuters IMF correspondent Lesley Wroughton, IMF First Managing Director John Lipsky announced that going forward the Fund will more heavily weight unemployment risks in its annual country assessments.  “We think that these are very important issues and need to be looked at, and again, not just in cases where it might result in political turmoil but just as a matter of course in examining economic developments and policies,” Lipsky said.

Watch the whole exchange here:

Posted by Peter Rudegeair.

Cooperation among economies is fraying, says IMF head

Chrystia Freeland
Dec 22, 2010 20:23 UTC

Though the ongoing crisis in Europe dominated Chrystia’s interview with Dominique Strauss-Kahn last Thursday, the IMF head has much to say about the economic outlook for the United States. He believesthe biggest issue facing the U.S. right now is growth — not deficits — although he added that America needs a medium-term plan for fiscal consolidation.

Last week’s passage of the tax compromise should raise America’s growth prospects, but in response to a question about whether the tax cuts on high-earners are stimulative, Strauss -Kahn said, “of course not”.

When asked about the Federal Reserve’s latest round of quantitative easing, Strauss-Kahn endorsed the move, saying it will restore growth both outside and inside the U.S.:

Euro is not in danger, IMF chief says

Chrystia Freeland
Dec 17, 2010 17:02 UTC

Yesterday,  IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn sat down with Chrystia at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., for an hour-long Newsmaker interview. The European sovereign debt crisis dominated most of the conversation. The IMF chief admitted that the situation “worried” him and that he wanted Europeans to find a more “comprehensive” solution:

Well, I’m worried. And that’s why I’m urging the Europeans — I just attended the Euro Group meeting, which is the group of the finance minister of the eurozone — two weeks ago. I’m urging for the European Union to provide a comprehensive solution. Because this piecemeal approach, which the deal with Greece — as was Ireland after, and maybe another country later on — obviously doesn’t work. And the markets are just waiting for what’s next …  The institutions are still thinking too local when they’re facing global problems.

A more comprehensive solution will require better coordination among national European governments.  As Strauss-Kahn said, “You can’t have a single currency, especially in times where you have troubles, without having more coordination in economic policy.” Two concrete proposals the managing director endorsed were stronger stress tests for the banking sector and an increase in resources for the European Financial Stability Facility, the European bailout fund.

  •