Transcript of a Press Briefing by Ms. Caroline Atkinson, Director, External Relations Department, IMF

September 25, 2009

Washington, D.C.
September 24, 2009
Webcast of the press briefing Webcast

MS. ATKINSON: Good morning. I am Caroline Atkinson, the director of external relations at the IMF. I would like to welcome you and journalists participating on line to our biweekly press briefing. As usual, the briefing is embargoed until 10:30 a.m. Washington time or 14:30 GMT.

Let me start by noting that the Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and First Deputy Managing Director, John Lipsky, will be attending the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. Following the summit, many of us and many of you will be going to Istanbul for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF. The actual formal meetings are officially scheduled , as you know, on October 6 and 7, but many events take place before that, and let me just run through some of those and draw your attention to some of the events that are a little different at least from our side this year with some of the additional events.

In the press events that we are organizing, a number of press conferences, the first one will be on September 30 where we will release Chapter 1, the main chapter, of the Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) at a press conference with the Financial Counselor and Director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department, José Viñals, and his team. The following day, October 1, we will be releasing the first chapters of -- Chapters 1 and 2 -- of the World Economic Outlook (WEO). We have released analytical chapters for both of these publications earlier this week and many of you covered those, but our economic projections will be issued on October 1 with the WEO. We may well have other publications issued that day on aspects of our surveillance with the G-20.

One particular event to draw your attention to on October 1: the Managing Director will be visiting Bilgi University in Istanbul to meet with students, especially students of economics. We have sent out a media advisory on this event. We will be arranging transportation from the Press Center, but you do need to sign up, especially for that event, and we will be taking journalists on a first-come, first-served basis.

The following day the Managing Director will have his usual opening press conference, at 11:00 a.m. to preview the issues that he expects to come up during the annual meetings. And Mr. Lipsky will also take part in that press briefing.

Later that day there is another special event, if you like. The Managing Director will give the keynote address at a conference being organized by the Central Bank of Turkey, and press will be required to register for that event also. We have put out a media advisory, and we will provide transportation from the Press Center for that. He is expected to speak about how things look a year after the crisis.

On October 2, we will open the Program of seminars, There are some very interesting seminars, which will be open to the press. The first, the opening plenary, will be broadcast live as part of the BBC World Debate Series will include the Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and also Jim O’Neill from Goldman Sachs, Niall Ferguson from Harvard, and Güler Sabanci

a prominent Turkish businesswoman, and will be moderated by the BBC’s Nick Gowing.

There will be other seminars during the period of time that will feature people such as George Soros, Anne Fisher, talking about the crisis and its implications, also sections on fiscal policy and on the regional developments. On October 3 we will launch our regional Economic Outlook reports on Africa and Europe, and other senior Fund officials will be briefing that day on their regions, Central Asia, the Asia Pacific, North and South America.

On October 4 there will be a communiqué published after the IMFC meeting and the Managing Director and the Chair of the IMFC, Mr. Boutros-Ghali, and Mr. Lipsky will hold a press briefing to recap the outcomes of the IMFC. That will be sometime probably in the afternoon of October 4.

On October 5 is when the Development Committee meets, and on October 6, the Annual Meetings formally open and the Managing Director will deliver a speech. For all of these speeches we will try to get you copies in advance. And on October 7, he will make closing remarks at the annual meetings.

I also want to let you know that we will be running frequent IMF Survey stories on our Website that draw attention to and provide quotes on the major events that are going on, and we will be blogging. We have an iMFdirect blog, as you may know, a policy blog, and we will be continuing that during the Meetings, again drawing attention to some of the things that may not have been noticeable otherwise with so much going on.

Let me also announce that we have another initiative that is going up on our Website very soon, a page called “Research at the IMF” that will highlight research being undertaken across the Fund, and some of the researchers that are doing this. We will send you the link once the page is active

I should mention that, of course, we will have a strong media relations team on the ground in Istanbul. We can help with registration, and part of the team will be here in Washington also so if you need help from here you can also get it.

Let me now turn to your questions, and remind journalists participating through the online media briefing center to submit questions and identify yourselves and your affiliation. Thank you.

QUESTIONER: What is the priority for the IMF? What does the IMF hope to see come out of the G-20 meetings this weekend or these past two days?

MS. ATKINSON: The G-20 meeting in April was noticeable for the commitment that leaders expressed to address the economic challenge then, and an awful lot has been implemented successfully since then. I expect leaders this time will be focused on what they need to do and what the world needs to do to make sure that the recovery that we see the beginnings of now is one that’s sustained and that the global economic system is strengthened, learning the lessons of the crisis. And those are the broad issues that we see as important.

QUESTIONER (ONLINE): Are there any developments with loan talks with Turkey?”

MS. ATKINSON: O have a fairly simple answer, which is the same we have been giving for a while, which is we have ongoing discussions and there is nothing new to report.

QUESTIONER: The Managing Director had a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Iceland in New York earlier this week. Can you comment on that meeting? Any reactions from the IMF or the Managing Director?

MS. ATKINSON: The meeting was a very good one and very cordial. It was a private meeting, so I will not go into the details of what happened, they had good discussions.

QUESTIONER: Will be reviewing the Icelandic economic plan? When do you think that will be done?

MS. ATKINSON: We do not have a date as yet for an Executive Board meeting. We will, of course, let you know as soon as we have one.

QUESTIONER (ONLINE): Could you please elaborate on the risk of growing unemployment also in 2010 and specifically with respect to Europe. Do you see an increase in the rate of -- do you expect an increase in the rate of unemployment and what should one do about it?

MS. ATKINSON: As the Managing Director has said -- and I would draw your attention to a speech that he gave earlier this month., we do see a risk of unemployment continuing to increase. That is partly a normal thing that happens at the end -- unemployment tends to be a lagging indicator, so even if economic output is turning around, it will take a while for that to feed through into unemployment coming down. We see that as a risk in Europe as well as elsewhere. Our detailed forecasts will be released next week on October 1 in the WEO. There will be more that you can ask about and get answer on this issue then.

In terms of what can be done about it, the main issue perhaps is to think about how to make this a solid and sustainable recovery, which will involve, as the Managing Director has said, maintaining stimulus policies as long as appropriate, addressing medium-term issues whether in the fiscal sector or on structure reforms in order to promote a recovery that is sustainable and that provides jobs.

QUESTIONER (ONLINE): What is your position on banker payments and do you agree with European officials?

MS. ATKINSON: Our position is that it is important to have compensation practices that support good banking practices. It is important to avoid compensation practices that encourage excessive risk taking. I think actually that is a fairly widespread view amongst officials in the world’s leading economies. There, of course, are questions about how best to achieve that aim.

Thank you very much and I look forward to seeing some of you, many of you maybe, in Istanbul, if not Pittsburgh.


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