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IMF’s Lagarde says protectionist ‘sword’ hangs over firming growth


Global economic recovery is gaining momentum but could be cut off by a “sword of protectionism” now threatening global trade, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday (April 12) in Brussels.

Lagarde, speaking ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, argued for countries to strengthen the post-war open trade architecture by cooperating to solve trade issues.

She said restricting trade would be a “self-inflicted wound” that would disrupt supply chains and raise prices for components and consumer goods, hitting the poor hardest.

For the first time in years, she said the global economy “is gaining momentum” with prospects of more jobs and higher incomes. The Fund will release new growth estimates on April 18.

Lagarde also discussed Greece, saying it was heading in the right direction on reforms but talks on its bailout and the IMF’s potential role in it were “only halfway through”.

Greece and its international lenders are negotiating reforms the country needs to carry out to maintain a sustainable growth path in the years following the end of its bailout programme, which ends in mid-2018.


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