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Pakistan formally asks the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package

11 October 2018

A decade since the economic crisis, while there has been an undeniable progress towards a safer global financial system, clouds appear on the horizon, the International Monetary Fund said in its latest fiscal stability report.

'A sharp tightening of global financial conditions could be triggered by a further escalation of trade tensions or by a sudden shift in risk sentiment caused by rising geopolitical risks or policy uncertainty in major economies'.

The report also amplified worries about worldwide trade, echoing numerous earlier IMF statements, but noted that trade tensions have thus far affected individual sectors more directly than the financial system.

The United States continues to grow strongly and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the seventh time in the last eight quarters at its latest policy meeting in September.

Still, the fund highlighted a number of markets where valuations are getting stretched, most notably in the American stock market.

"We will get out of this".

On Monday, it downgraded world growth forecasts for next year, blaming new trade barriers.

"In some advanced economies, some investors have grown overly confident and even possibly even complacent", Tobias Adrian, director of the IMF's monetary and capital-markets department, told reporters in Washington before the release of the report.

Also on Tuesday, it projected that inflation in Nigeria would increase to 13.5 per cent next year.

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The fund's warning comes on the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which plunged the world deeper into financial crisis and helped trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression.

He did not specify how much in emergency financing the government would seek, but he had earlier said the government would need at least $8 billion to meet external debt payments through the end of the year. "I will take (the country) out of this", he added.

Ms Lagarde went on to suggest that countries who engage in trade and currency wars that hurt global growth would imperil "innocent bystanders". This is on top of money pledged for Belt and Road projects.

In addition to trade tensions, the International Monetary Fund mentioned aging populations, rising interest rates and unexpectedly high inflation as other potential economic risks.

"It's in very initial stages, the negotiations haven't started or matured yet, but this is something that we may look towards", Muhammad Hammad Azhar, State Minister for Revenue, said.

The G24 statement, issued on the sidelines of the meetings, said all emerging markets were "adversely affected" by excessive capital flow volatility.

But the severity of the impact from such shocks will be determined by vulnerabilities including growing non-financial debt levels now exceeding 250 percent of GDP, a decline in underwriting standards outside the traditional banking sector and elevated asset prices that could drop sharply.

The IMF, in its twice annual assessment of global financial stability, said conditions remain broadly conducive to economic growth, but are at risk of worsening should emerging markets deteriorate further or trade tensions escalate.

Pakistan formally asks the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package