World finance leaders meeting in Washington pledge to take steps to ensure greater fairness in global trade, while warning a US rate hike could disrupt capital flows. David Pollard reports.
It was the first IMF and World Bank meeting since Britain voted to leave the EU in June. And since Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination. Those though not the only examples of populist backlash the IMF is worried about. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHRISTINE LAGARDE, SAYING: "Prospects for low income countries are becoming even more challenging, particularly as far as Sub-Saharan is concerned. Overall, we see growth as too low, for too long and benefitting too few." If that was one major theme, then growth was the other. The IMF maintaining its global GDP forecast unchanged at a relatively low 3.1 per cent for this year, 3.4 for next. Lagarde singling out Canada, Germany and South Korea as among those with room for more fiscal stimulus. For its part, Germany took up another theme: the dangers of extreme monetary policy measures. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE SAYING: "If the IMF itself is warning against the consequences of ultra-loose monetary policy, I think it's a sign of hope ...." China's finance minister touched on the growing political uncertainties caused by the upcoming elections across Europe and the US. Even as analysts see a relatively benign economic outlook. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "The US economic backdrop is still relatively supportive, we're not expecting anything in the way of a substantial deceleration or slowdown in China, and as far as the euro zone is concerned, I think it is going to be a case of still slow but steady growth through 2017." That scenario could be undermined if a US rate hike disrupts capital flows, says the IMF. A prospect that now appears a little less likely after an unexpected slowing in the latest U.S. employment numbers.