IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says the review is a “big step forward” in the IMF’s approach to the financial crisis, which has seen the central bank slash its lending rates by $1.3 trillion since the crisis began.
The review, due to be completed this week, will look at how the central banker has been handling the crisis and the impact of austerity measures, which are a key part of the new global debt framework agreed by countries and central banks in November.
The IMF is due to publish its report later this year, and Lagarde said it would be “a big contribution” to the “urgent task of addressing the long-term challenges posed by this crisis”.
“This review will enable us to make the most of the IMF resources we have, and we will do this in a way that is not only responsible, but also progressive,” Lagarde told reporters in New York.
The global debt crisis is the worst in the post-war period, with more than $1 trillion of the global economy now in default, and IMF policymakers have been working for months to get the debt burden under control.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been calling for debt relief for years, saying it would make it easier for governments to tackle the problem.
But the International Monetary Relief Fund (IFR), which is the central agency responsible for providing loans to developing countries, has said the IMF review is an important first step in the process.
Lagarde said that the IMF will now focus on “how we are delivering” to countries in the debt market, and it is likely to look at the impact on economic growth.
She said it is expected to find that a large part of that growth is due the “extension of liquidity” and that it would take some time before the IMF sees “the full impact”.
“We need to see if it has any impact on the economy, because we will have to see it over time, and also what impact is it having on people’s ability to repay their debts,” Lagard said.
The IFR has said it expects the IMF to be able to offer up to $1tn of additional financial assistance to emerging market countries, but the money will have “limited value”.
In addition to offering loans, the IMF also has an array of tools available to countries, including direct financing to them through the International Financial Institutions and Fund (IFTIF), and debt relief assistance, which is aimed at reducing the impact the crisis has had on economic activity.
The latest report from the IMF, which was released on Thursday, was largely positive for many emerging market economies, which have been hit by the recession in the past year.
The report showed that a combination of low commodity prices, weak growth, and high interest rates have made it more difficult for emerging market borrowers to pay off their debts.
It said that in 2014, “a third of emerging market sovereigns faced a debt burden of over $100 billion, with a majority of borrowers paying more than 90 per cent of their debt repayments”.
Lagard said that some of the issues the IMF is tackling with its review are “not necessarily new, but we will see them in a different light”.
“It’s important that we don’t forget that this crisis is different in many ways from the one that happened in 2008 and 2009,” she said.
“But there are also a number of lessons to be learned from that crisis.”