IMF chief says ‘Why not?’ to European Monetary Fund plan

Christine Lagarde has no objection to plans to turn the euro zone’s bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund. (Reuters)
Updated 17 February 2018
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IMF chief says ‘Why not?’ to European Monetary Fund plan

VIENNA: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has no objection to plans to turn the euro zone’s bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund, she said in comments published on Saturday.
The European Commission has suggested transforming the role of the government-controlled European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a full-blown European Monetary Fund under parliamentary control and anchored in European Union law, which would also become a backstop for the euro zone’s bank resolution fund.
The plan is backed by countries including France and Germany.
“Why not?” Lagarde said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
“The crisis the euro zone went through showed that it needs a crisis management system that is independent, able to act quickly and that works according to strict rules. What that mechanism is called is secondary. If one wants to call it European Monetary Fund, then please.”
She also brushed aside the suggestion that the IMF’s role was being usurped in a region where it has been involved in bailing out Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and Greece in recent years — often in exchange for oversight and painful reforms.
“We do not serve a region but 189 countries. That also includes euro zone countries. And if together they decide that other crisis mechanisms like the ESM are involved, that is in order,” she was quoted as saying.
 


Iraqi oil minister expects prices to rise over time

Updated 10 December 2018
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Iraqi oil minister expects prices to rise over time

  • Ghadhban said the recent fall in Iraqi exports was due to weather conditions
  • “Our goal is to reach an export capacity of 6.5 million barrels per day but over several stages,” he said

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Monday he expected the fall in oil prices to stop and for prices to rise over time, adding that if OPEC had not cut production, prices would have dropped to $45-50 per barrel.
Speaking at a ministry event in Baghdad, Ghadhban said the recent fall in Iraqi exports was not due to technical reasons, as Iraqi oil fields have high capacity, but rather because of weather conditions.
“Our goal is to reach an export capacity of 6.5 million barrels per day but over several stages,” he said.
Speaking about the recent Kirkuk oil deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Ghadhban said state oil marketer SOMO had received preferential prices, albeit for low quantities.
Iraq last month restarted exports of Kirkuk oil, halted a year ago due to a standoff between the central government and the KRG, after a new government in Baghdad agreed a tentative deal with Irbil.