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IMF ignored watchdog to back austerity

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The dollar is going to make strong gains against the euro in the next few months

The dollar is going to make strong gains against the euro in the next few months

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

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The IMF advises its 188 member countries on economic policy, and provides emergency financial assistance to its members on the condition that they get their economies back on track.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ignored its own research and pushed too early for richer countries to trim budgets after the global financial crisis, the IMF's internal auditor said yesterday.

The Washington-based multilateral lender, concerned about high debt levels and large fiscal deficits, urged countries like Germany, the United States and Japan to pursue austerity in 2010-11 before their economies had fully recovered from the crisis. At the same time, the IMF advocated loose monetary policies to sustain growth and boost demand in advanced economies, initially ignoring the possible spillover risks of such policies for emerging market countries, the Independent Evaluation Office, or IEO, said in a report that analyzed the IMF's crisis response.

"This policy mix was less than fully effective in promoting recovery and exacerbated adverse spillovers," the IEO wrote.

The IMF advises its 188 member countries on economic policy, and provides emergency financial assistance to its members on the condition that they get their economies back on track.

The internal auditor said the IMF should have known that the combination of tight fiscal policy and expansionary monetary policy would be less effective in boosting growth after a crisis.

Evidence showed that the private sector's focus on reducing debt made it less susceptible to monetary stimulus.

Irish Independent