IMF poised to adopt new role

April 20, 2009 at 8:36 AM

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- The International Monetary Fund in Washington is poised to reshape its role in global financial affairs, its director said.

IMF funding, known as the last resort for impoverished countries, often came with stipulations that nations move to adopt free-market principles, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Recently, the IMF lent $47 billion to Mexico and $20.5 billion to Poland with no strings attached, the newspaper said.

China, India and Brazil may soon find they have more clout in IMF governance as economic orders shift.

While dropping its social agenda, "their role will dramatically shift," C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said.

"You're talking about monitoring fiscal stimulus, moving toward tighter regulations for financial institutions," he said

Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the shift would transcend any ideological mandate. "If it's a general idea of privatization that has nothing to do with the problem, let's forget it," he said. "At the same time, if nationalization will help, let's do it."

At issue is how much regulatory clout the IMF could wield.

"I will have to see that happen to believe it," said Moshin Khan, the IMF's former Middle East and Central Asia director.

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