IMF says secures $320 billion in drive for new funds

Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:40am EDT
 

By Glenn Somerville and Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it had raised $320 billion so far in a bid to boost its firepower to deal with the euro zone debt crisis, with Poland and Switzerland joining the effort.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she had received commitments of $34 billion on Wednesday, including $8 billion from Poland and "a substantial amount" from Switzerland.

"Ensuring that the Fund has sufficient resources to tackle crises and to promote global economic stability is in the interests of all our members," she said in a statement.

Lagarde is hoping to secure at least $400 billion in commitments from finance officials from around the globe, who meet this week in Washington under the auspices of the Group of 20 nations and the IMF and World Bank.

The issue has taken on new urgency given increased borrowing costs in Spain and Italy that have reignited fears the euro zone crisis could flare again, and that the fallout could imperil the global economic recovery.

The United States has declined to provide fresh funds, saying it had done its part by ensuring dollar liquidity for banks in Europe, but it threw its weight behind the fundraising effort on Wednesday.

"We're actually very supportive of that process and we'll be very supportive of it this week," U.S. Treasury Timothy Geithner said, avoiding past rhetoric about Europe needing to do more first to erect its own financial firewall.

Europe had already said it would provide about $200 billion to the IMF and Japan pledged $60 billion on Tuesday, becoming the first non-European nation to make a commitment.   Continued...

 
Timothy Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, arrives for the start of a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversite Council in Washington April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts