Asia cannot be ignored


Asia has a growing stake in the global economy and the global economy has a growing stake in Asia,” says International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on the last leg of a three-country Asian trip. “Asia is a linchpin for global economic stability and is being heard, both through its growing stature in the global economy, and also in the corridors of the Fund,” she said. Her remarks came at the end of a week-and-a-half long trip which took the IMF head to Japan, Indonesia and Thailand where she met with top officials, women leaders, and also held a town hall discussion with Japanese students. Dynamic Asia
Lagarde reflected on her impressions of the region following this, her third trip to Asia since becoming IMF Managing Director a year ago. “Asia does not stand still—it is constantly reshaping itself and each time I am here, I see a new, improved, upgraded version,” she said. The IMF chief said Asia’s stronger bank balance sheets and fiscal positions had allowed the region to avoid the downward spiral of debt and weak banks that is threatening Europe. But Lagarde warned that the repercussions of the European debt crisis remained a threat. The main near-term challenge for policymakers across Asia was to decide how far to loosen policies in support of growth, she said. At the same time, they needed to continue encouraging domestic investment and consumption to promote growth. “Asia’s economies are central to global economic stability, and the region has emerged from the global crisis with its economic standing enhanced,” she added.