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At The IMF, $430 Billion In Pledges Buys Leverage For Emerging Markets

The UK gave some support to the emerging market nations' quest for a greater role today at the IMF during the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the UK's $15-billion contribution to the IMF's enhanced crisis fund could not be accessed until further progress is made on giving the emerging market a greater voice in how the is Fund is run.

Osborne said the action will play an "important role in maintaining the credibility and legitimacy of the IMF." The promised reforms are supposed be put in place this year and fully implemented by 2014.

Osborne's statement comes a day after IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced a near doubling of the Fund's lending capacity from pledges totaling more than $430 billion from member states.

The aim was to have more firepower available to deal with any new problems that might develop out of Europe's prolonged debt crisis. This was the Fund's main goal at these meeting.

But the goal was met only with the help of nonspecific pledges to contribute by several emerging market nations, including China and Brazil. They're pushing the IMF's advanced economies — read the U.S. and Europe — to follow through on their promise to give emerging market nations more voting power in the Fund to match their growing economic power.

Not specifying how much they might contribute gives the emerging nations some needed leverage. It's a bit of a diplomatic dance that continues today during the official meetings and on the sidelines of these meetings.

The emerging markets are not likely to officially specify the size of their contributions until at least the summit of G-20 leaders June. By then they hope to have made more progress in achieving what they believe is their rightful role at the IMF.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.
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