Remarks at Jackson Hole by Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund chief, warned that the world economy is in a “dangerous new phase” and that officials must take new steps to strengthen growth.

Lagarde, speaking to international finance officials and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, said the U.S. should arrest a slide in house prices and European banks must be required to boost capital to prevent the continent’s debt crisis from infecting more countries. The U.S. and European Union should enforce long-term budget discipline to free up cash for short- term stimulus, she said.
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bloomberg

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Lagardes Rede in Jackson Hole

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Auszug
(Es gilt das gesprochene Wort)

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„Europe

I’ll start with Europe. Here, we need urgent and decisive action to remove the cloud of uncertainty hanging over banks and sovereigns. Financial exposures across the continent are transmitting weakness and spreading fear from market to market, country to country, periphery to core.

There are three key steps that Europe should take.

First, sovereign finances need to be sustainable. Such a strategy means more fiscal action and more financing. It does not necessarily mean drastic upfront belt-tightening—if countries address long-term fiscal risks like rising pension costs or healthcare spending, they will have more space in the short run to support growth and jobs. But without a credible financing path, fiscal adjustment will be doomed to fail. After all, deciding on a deficit path is one thing, getting the money to finance it is another. Sufficient financing can come from the private or official sector—including continued support from the ECB, with full backup of the euro area members.

Second, banks need urgent recapitalization. They must be strong enough to withstand the risks of sovereigns and weak growth. This is key to cutting the chains of contagion. If it is not addressed, we could easily see the further spread of economic weakness to core countries, or even a debilitating liquidity crisis. The most efficient solution would be mandatory substantial recapitalization —seeking private resources first, but using public funds if necessary. One option would be to mobilize EFSF or other European-wide funding to recapitalize banks directly, which would avoid placing even greater burdens on vulnerable sovereigns.

Third, Europe needs a common vision for its future. The current economic turmoil has exposed some serious flaws in the architecture of the eurozone, flaws that threaten the sustainability of the entire project. In such an atmosphere, there is no room for ambivalence about its future direction. An unclear or confused message will add to market uncertainty and magnify the eurozone’s economic tensions. So Europe must recommit credibly to a common vision, and it needs to be built on solid foundations—including, for example, fiscal rules that actually work.“

Source: IMF