Policymakers’ comments at IMF, G20 meetings

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – Following are key quotes from global financial leaders in Washington for the IMF’s annual spring meetings and Group of 20 talks.

GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF JAPAN, MASAAKI SHIRAKAWA

Asked if it was OK to use currency rates to help narrow trade deficits, Shirakawa told reporters: “It is inappropriate to use forex rates as a tool to solve trade dispute.”

KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN FINANCE MINISTER SHAIKH AHMED BIN

MOHAMMED AL KHALIFA

On the legitimacy of the G20: “I think everyone can attest that it has done a lot of good work. Does the commitment of the leaders of the G20 give a push to the ability to deal with this crisis? Yes, it has.

“Is it inclusive to everyone? No, it’s 80 percent of the world’s GDP but many countries are left out. In the development committee of the World Bank we consider ourselves the G186 but it is very hard to get 186 countries to agree to anything. Therefore, is the G20 doing a good job? Yes.”

BRAZIL FINANCE MINISTER GUIDO MANTEGA ON BRAZIL’S ECONOMY

“It is not overheated. If for any reason it does overheat, we will be taking measures.”

JAPAN FINANCE MINISTER NAOTO KAN ON DEBT

“A recovery from the global financial crisis is under way, although things aren’t easy for Japan … We’re the one facing the biggest challenges in achieving fiscal consolidation. I hope that in my speech to G7 colleagues, I can offer something that’s helpful in tackling this problem.”

Asked about a warning issued by Fitch Ratings that Japan’s sovereign creditworthiness was at risk from rising public debt: “We’re mapping out a roadmap for medium-term fiscal consolidation now. Once that’s announced, I think such worries will ease.”

U.S. SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN)

Co-author of U.S. legislation aimed at stopping China from “manipulating” its currency by imposing duties on Chinese products. Asked why the IMF and other countries have been silent on the issue:

“They’ve been intimidated by China, too, but it’s not just us. The Europeans have the same problem.”

EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN

“I think there is some need for soul-searching and self-reflection at Goldman Sachs following the (sovereign) credit swap operations.”

On Eurostat figures on Greece: “Now we have a rather certain picture of the level of Greek debt… We have to take all the skeletons out of here if there are any skeletons left in the cupboard. Largely the plate has been cleaned, which is important for the credibility for the national accounts of Greece and the euro zone.”

On Greece’s possible request for EU-IMF aid: “I’m not a clairvoyant, but I think it is increasingly likely that Greece will have to use this mechanism. But it is indeed a matter for the Greek government.

“I have no doubt the German government is committed to support such a decision to activate the mechanism” if needed.

RUSSIA FINANCE MINISTER ALEXEI KUDRIN

On Russia’s first Eurobond sale in over a decade:

“This will improve placements by (Russian) corporations. … This year, because of enough liquidity on domestic markets, we so far do not have plans to enter the international markets again. But we will be following the situation on the markets.”

CANADA FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY

On bank tax idea: “We’re a sovereign country. We can regulate our banks and our other financial institutions as we see fit. As the finance minister of Canada, I’m not going to impose a tax on our banks that performed well during the financial crisis. It seems to me a very odd thing to do.”

On the strength of the Canadian dollar: “In part it’s a reflection of the relatively strong fiscal position of the Canadian finances, of the Canadian government. We are running deficits but relatively speaking its a small deficit compared to others.”

IMF DEPUTY HEAD JOHN LIPSKY ON SIZE OF AID FOR GREECE

“We’re in discussions right now, so it’s premature to start talking about figures,” Lipsky told Reuters Insider television. “And it’s important to remember that for sure this will involve a multi-year program with the Greek authorities.”

IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN

On EU upward revisions of Greek budget deficit figures, he said:

“If the problem has to start a little worse than we expected, we will take that into account, that will be part of the discussion we have with Greek authorities in the coming days. “There is no silver bullet to solve it in an easy manner.”

Asked if the IMF was worried about other countries in the euro zone, Strauss-Kahn said: “we don’t see a need this day to focus on any other countries but Greece.”

SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER ELENA SALGADO ON DEBT

“Spain’s situation, as you know, the level is only 53 percent (debt-to-GDP ratio), so we are in a very good situation in terms of debt level. We are doing our fiscal consolidation process, so I think things are going well.”

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Policymakers’ comments at IMF, G20 meetings