International Monetary Fund

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International Monetary Fund (IMF)
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Founded 1944
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Products International Trade and Development
LinkedIn Profile
Web site www.imf.org

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization of 185 member countries. It was established to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements. The IMF also aims to foster economic growth and high levels of employment, and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment.[1]

History

The IMF was conceived in July 1944, when representatives of 45 governments meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire agreed on a framework for international economic cooperation. They believed that such a framework was necessary to avoid a repetition of the disastrous economic policies that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In January of 2008, the IMF and the World Bank began stepping up their active engagement in emerging market countries to help them develop local markets in bonds to reduce the countries' reliance on bank loans and increase investment opportunities.[2]

In mid February of 2010, the IMF said it would soon begin phased sales of 191.3 tonnes of gold to the open market, a move that called into question demand for bullion from official sector buyers.[3]

On April 23, 2010, Greece asked it's European partners and the IMF for emergency loans. Countries in the European union have pledged 30 billion euros in aid and the IMF has pledged about 10-15 billion euros. This comes after overwhelming market pressure to fund the first financial rescue package for a member of the euro zone. [4]

Products and Services

The work of the IMF involves the monitoring of economic and financial developments and the provision of policy advice aimed especially at crisis-prevention. The IMF also lends to countries with balance of payments difficulties to provide temporary financing and to support policies aimed at correcting the underlying problems. Loans to low-income countries are also focused especially at poverty reduction. Finally, the IMF provides countries with technical assistance and training in its areas of expertise. Supporting all three of these activities is IMF work in economic research and statistics.

Key People

Christine Lagarde is the managing director of the IMF.

The IMF's Board of Governors, the highest decision-making body of the IMF, consists of one governor and one alternate governor for each member country. The governor is appointed by the member country and is usually the minister of finance or the governor of the central bank. The IMF governor for the U.S. is Jacob J. Lew.[5]

Maurice Obstfeld will be the IMF's new chief economist, succeeding Olivier Blanchard who is retiring.

References

  1. Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund. IMF.
  2. "EMERGING MARKET COUNTRIES:IMF Helps Develop Local Bond Markets". IMF Survey Magazine: Policy.
  3. IMF To Sell Gold To Open Market. Reuters.
  4. Greece only seeking first IMF tranche-G20 source. Reuters.
  5. IMF Members' Quotas and Voting Power, and IMF Board of Governors. IMF.