Transcript of Background Briefing Conference Call on IMF Resources and the Fund’s Strategy to Help Countries Combat COVID-19

April 1, 2020

OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the IMF Background Briefing. At this time all participants are in listen-only mode. Later we'll have an opportunity for your questions; instructions will be given at that time. If you should require assistance today, please press *0 and an operator will assist you off line. 

And, as a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Maria Candia.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you.

Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining IMF Background Briefing on the Fund's resources, finances, and facilities. This briefing is meant as an explainer of these issues as many of you had some queries to get clarification on various aspects of the Fund's resources.

As you have seen in the media advisory, the discussion will be on background, meaning that comments will be attributed to IMF officials.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: Okay, thank you very much, Maria, and hello to everybody. I remember seeing many of you back at the Fund not too long ago, and it's nice to catch up virtually, so to speak.

In terms of facilities, you may have seen numbers of 80 or more countries requesting assistance from the IMF. We also have a number out there that the IMF has available $50 billion for rapid emergency finance.

So let me maybe say just a few quick works about that particular aspect and then go into other aspects of Fund facilities.

So, first of all, this is a very different crisis compared to 10 years ago because it really has the health issues and the uncertainty about the development of the virus and the infections and the difficulties for many countries at its core. And in that sense, there is a clear need for the Fund and other institutions to help countries meet that challenge, reduce that uncertainty, protect their population, and to the extent possible, protect their productive capacity by means of emergency funds. So it's a real true global emergency. And for that we do have a facility -- or actually two facilities that help countries get support from the Fund very quickly. And the tool that's available for all members is the financing instrument where countries can get 50 percent of their quota -- in other words of their share in the IMF, if you wanted -- capital in the IMF -- although it's not quite capital. They can extract that very quickly under the condition that broadly they commit to policies that address the underlying problem. In other words that, in this case, they would have to spend money on fixing the health sectors and responding to the virus. And there's also the requirement, as with all Fund lending, that debt remains sustainable, which means essentially that the countries will be able to repay the Fund down the road.

Other conditions are not quite as stringent as for our other facilities and that's because of the emergency nature of this line of credit, so to speak.

There is a similar facility for countries that are eligible for subsidized lending from the IMF, the so-called rapid credit facility, which also has a limit of 50 percent. There are some annual access limits, like for the RFI and that essentially has a zero interest rate and a longer repayment period, so it's more targeted for the poor countries, but it is very similar in nature of the access.

So given the nature of the shock, some members have called on us to make more funding available under these facilities and we're looking into whether one could increase the access limits under these two facilities for our member countries so that they could get more money in an emergency way. That needs to be compatible with the funding we have for the lower income countries to essentially subsidize their lending terms that is financed through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust. And IMF OFFICIAL #2 can certainly say some more about how that Trust is being used. These are essentially the funds that we have available to provide these subsidized terms.

So that's kind of been our focus recently at the early outset of the crisis, together with, of course, our advice for advanced economies and larger countries, how to stabilize markets, kind of fix the sharp deterioration in economic fundamentals that one has observed. And our larger countries have stepped up that, but the Fund had no role in that besides providing advice. But now we're at the stage where we see the crisis shifting to emerging markets. Low-income countries are now all seeing the pick-up in infection rates and deaths that we've already seen in China and in the advanced economies. And so our focus will now have to shift somewhere to how we can help these countries in case they need financing assistance.

We do have, of course our -- and I should emphasize that all members can access the emergency facilities, of course. So emerging markets have just the same access as everybody else to the RFI. But financing needs in some cases maybe be larger because of the major withdrawal of foreign capital and the, you know, capital flows that we have observed, the hit from commodity prices for some countries. And so we do have our usual kind of lending tools, of course. We also have encouraged countries to avail themselves of our precautionary facilities. We have an FCL, we have a PLL, which I think you're familiar with, and that is of course available.

And the Managing Director has pledged to fully use our $1 trillion lending capacity, which I think we're quite a bit away from, I have to say. The 80-90 programs, as we have seen so far, they talk about financing volume of perhaps north of $20 billion at this point, so we're nowhere near our capacity. So there is still a lot available for other countries of course.

And the discussion has partly been among the membership what else we could do entice countries to come to us. There has been some renewed discussion of what we had under preparation two years ago – sorry, several years ago, a short-term liquidity swap line that wasn't approved at the time. That may be back in discussions, although I think we want to distinguish it from the swap line to central banks. It is more like a program with very special features that countries could get. It is still a Fund program, and maybe OFFICIAL #3 could elaborate on that later.

We are also discussing SDR allocations, like we did 10 years ago, that would help certain countries, especially those that currently cannot get any programs from the Fund because of their sustainability issues or arrears. It would also give a sizeable boost to emerging markets as a whole.

And actually now we have already passed a reform of the so called CCRT, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust which again helps our poorest members with the debt payments to the Fund for the duration of the pandemic.

Essentially we have countries that pay into the Trust and from these contributions we can finance the repayments that would otherwise be due from poor countries to the Fund so that these poor countries can repurpose these funds that they would otherwise have to pay to us in order to fight the pandemic and that reform has had overwhelming majority I think among the membership and we hope to put that in practice soon.

Maybe I'll stop at that point and hand over to IMF OFFICIAL #2 and maybe IMF OFFICIAL #3 a few words on the short-term liquidity. Thank you.

IMF OFFICIAL #2: Thank you. Thank you, and good afternoon to everybody. I can be fairly brief, IMF OFFICIAL #1 has covered most of the current initiatives and given you the overall pictures. But just to elaborate obviously this is I would say an unprecedented global crisis in its breadth and how quickly it is affecting a whole range of countries and the Fund is focusing its efforts on rapid response to help members cope with this crisis.

The good news is that we are very well placed in terms of resources to help members. IMF OFFICIAL #1 mentioned that we have a lending capacity through our normal lane resources which are available to all countries of $1 trillion. And that's a combination of our quota resources or the Funds own resources and resources that are provided by members through borrowing arrangements, either multilateral arrangement which is the new arrangements to borrow, the NAB, or bilateral borrow arrangements.

And on that front, we have had two important pieces of good news recently. So the membership has been working since late last year to secure the $1 trillion that we have over the next three years, so this was before the crisis broke and that was to be gotten through two steps.

One was the double the size of the NAB and this was actually approved by our executive board earlier this year, formally after doing the steps last year at the annual meetings.

And the second step is to continue the bilateral borrowing arrangements that we have had in place now for some time to a new round that would kick in in the beginning of next year. And the current bilateral borrowing arrangements were agreed in 2016 and they run through the end of this year but then they expire.

And so the two particular good pieces of news that we have had just in the past week, one was the ratification by the United States of the doubling in their net contribution. Now since the board approved this all, all participants now need to ratify it and the ratification by the U.S. is obviously very good news in that regard.

And the second piece of good news was that our board just on Monday this week approved the framework for the next round of bilateral borrowing arrangements. And so we will now be working with our lenders to put those agreements in place. And as I said the goal is to have them in place by January 1 when the current arrangements expires.

So putting all that together, we have a trillion dollars total in lending capacity and we will now have it in place until at least 2023 so we are in good shape to meet members' needs during the crisis.

We have so far committed about one fifth of those resources, not recently but that’s the start that has already being either lend out or committed so we have roughly four fifth of that $800 million still available as it's needed.

I'll just say a couple of words on the -- so that’s our general resources and as IMF OFFICIAL #1 mentioned, the majority of our lending for our low income members and the poorest members takes place off the Funds regular balance sheet through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, the PRGT which as you said carries the zero interest rate and much longer repayment terms.

And so as part of this effort to support the emergency financing needs of our members through the two facilities that IMF OFFICIAL #1 mentioned, the RFI and the RCF and the RCF and the PRGT, we are gearing up to focus our -- to be in a position to disburse large amounts, rapid and by our standards large amounts from the PRGT to these emergency -- through these emergency financing windows.

Typically, in the past, the use of emergency financing as being periodic and individual countries have some form of crisis that they need rapid support but it's unprecedented that we have seen now so many countries coming at once.

So at the same time as we are working on meeting those requests, we are also working with our membership to generate new financial resources that can help support lending to low income countries beyond the current or the immediate wave of emergency lending.

So perhaps I'll stop here and pass it over to IMF OFFICIAL #3 if they want to come in. Thank you.

IMF OFFICIAL #3: Sorry, I was having trouble with the mute button. Apologies for that. Yes, I just wanted to add a few words on the new liquidity facility that IMF OFFICIAL #1 mentioned.

Indeed we had done work on this a couple of years ago about having a short term liquidity line which fills the gap which is currently there in our toolkit to provide our members with, who are experiencing short term capital account volatility to access the Fund resources which is on a short term and revolving basis, trying to mimic to the extent possible the central bank swap lines although clearly it is not the same thing.

Now, the idea is to have the, to have the ability be available to members with very strong qualities and quality framework. In other words, the same type of countries who would qualify for our flexible credit line, the FCL. And in doing so, also provide a smooth transition between the FCL and then the new facility which unlike the FCL the intent is to have, to cap the access to our lower, to a much lower level. But it, but again, the idea is to have this on a revolving basis for as long as the country qualifies.

Let me stop here and happy to answer any further questions if there are any. Thank you.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you, IMF OFFICIAL #3. We would open it up to questions now. We would please ask that you say your name and affiliation please.

OPERATOR: Ladies and gentleman, if you'd like to ask a question, you may do so by pressing 1-0 at this time. One moment for our first questions.

QUESTIONER: Thank you very much for organizing this call. I have two questions.

The first one is if there are any updates on the possibility of boosting member country reserves through an allocation of SDRs like the Fund did in 2009.

And the second one is if, you know, for emergent market countries, you know, Ms. Georgieva said they are going to need around $2.5 trillion.

Is there any plan of opening a new window, a special window for those nations to get money from without going through the usual IMF conditionality or without, you know, complying with these conditions of strong policy frameworks like a new short liquidity like. Thanks.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: Maybe I could take the second one and maybe IMF OFFICIAL #2 wants to come on the STR. Just on the second one, two points.

First, we need to be very careful in how we characterize the $2.5 trillion financing needs. It’s a hypothetical gross financing need that kind of -- that’s really up all of these financial close. There is a lot of ways and means by which countries can fill these financing gaps, sorry, financing needs and it is not to be confused with the potential demand for IMF facilities. I just want to make that clear.

And second, I think the focus so far has been of the crisis response not just of the IMF but also of the broader community of doing things that can be done quickly and pragmatically. Because we are all, not just the IMF, we are all operating under major constraints you are probably also working from home like we are all.

There is very little time given the fast pace of the crisis in terms of arranging calls, in terms of, you know, the absence of travel. International calls are very limited because they have to essentially happen, you know, every morning for two, three hours because otherwise, someone will be up in the middle of the night and that’s often not convenient. And then there is the general uncertainty of how this crisis will evolve and there is a lot to do.

So bottom line is that I think we are trying to respond at the moment with the financial resources that we have and with the tools that we have. When it comes to inventing new tools or creating new facilities, the process for doing that takes a very long time, given the consensus that one needs to establish and the processes that one has to go through as this would be in a way counterproductive to focus energies on something that could have taken a long time where there is so much that needs to be done in the very short term.

And besides, the Fund is simply, you know, restricted from lending in any way or form that does not have the safeguards in place that the Funds will be eventually repaid, even if it is the last lend, the lender of last resort and that includes things such as taking measures, policy measures that address the origin of any balance payments needs that a country has had.

And second, to make sure that debt remains sustainable and that the lending used to its intended purpose so the safeguards have to be in place. And we will not be able to deviate from that even in the current situation.

However, as I said, the Fund has a tremendous lending capacity and we do have tools that will address our member's needs. And at this point we don’t see a need for any major changes that, you know, to respond to the crisis.

The short-term liquidity line that we just explained is a way that or is something that already has been negotiated quite far and does not require as we see it, a lot of new consensus findings. If there is willingness among the membership to implement it, it could be done fairly quickly, but that is a bit of an exception from what I’ve just said, but, otherwise, I don’t think we have any more at the moment to create new facilities you know, and maybe that -- handing over to IMF OFFICIAL #2.

IMF OFFICIAL #2: Thanks. So, I mean, as you know, there was a sizeable SDR allocation, agreed in the 2009 crisis and I think our view is it was helpful at the time, and in helping to restore confidence and provide liquidity to all members because SDR allocations go to all the membership in proportion to their quota shares and it helps ease foreign exchange pressures at that time, particularly for emerging market and low income countries. So, it is an option. There is a number of countries I think that have spoken publicly, and also outside commentators have raised this possibility again. But it’s also something that requires broad consensus among the membership. So, there have been some discussions, but I would say, I mean, very much still ongoing, and at this point there’s no conclusion on an SDR allocation.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you. Do we have more questions? Yes.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Thanks, guys, so much for doing this call. IMF OFFICIAL #1, earlier in the call, you gave a figure about how much has been requested at this point, and I didn’t catch the figure that you gave. It -- you know, you just cut out a little bit as you were giving the figure, but you said it was well short of the one trillion capacity. So, I was curious. If you could explain what that figure is again, since I might not be the only person who missed it, and if you could talk a little bit, if you can provide us any detail about the 80-something countries that have requested programs, if you could tell us kind of the breakdown, geographically or by income, or if there’s a plan to kind of like help publish a list, at some point, of who these countries are, and the scale of what’s being requested.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: Sure. Sorry if I was inaudible. Maybe I should go back and say you may remember the 50 billion number that was put on the table at some point by our Managing Director. That was essentially a calculation where we looked at a range of low income countries and emerging markets that we thought in a adverse scenario, potentially, would come to the IMF and ask for these emergency facilities, and that corresponded to the existing facility, at the time, with 50 percent of quota.

So, we have, now, more than 80 requests for inquiries about such emergency funds, and we’re, I think, I said north of 20 billion, at the moment, in terms of volume, more than 20 billion. So, that tells you that out of these 50 billion that we just put, roughly, as an envelope, as we were thinking maybe requires, and I should add that this is not new money. This was all -- the facilities were always there. It’s just that we estimated that kind of demands on the basis of the downside scenario that one would assume, and so out of that 50 billion we’ve had, you know, not quite half, perhaps, and that reflects a fact that’s -- almost half the membership has now come to us, and at least inquired about the facility, and, with this, more or less what we would expect, that this has a lower -- a lot of low income countries, a lot of smaller countries, some emerging markets included in the mix. I -- we don’t usually release details of requests or inquiries of that nature.

You will see a lot of them coming to the Board, now, over the next couple of days and weeks, and I should mention that we also implemented some major streamlining measures to make sure that all these requests are being met very expeditiously. That includes both internal and our own kind of organization, internal streamlining measures. We’ve had other discussions with our Executive Board, how to expedite these requests. The first one went through the Board on Thursday, last week, I believe it was the Kyrgyz Republic. I think they got some $80 million, if I’m right, in emergency financing. Other countries will follow very quickly, and, in fact, I think we’ve already kind of internally looked at, at least, half of all requests, I believe, more intensely. That doesn’t mean that they’re all ready to go for the Board, but people are really working around the clock to make sure that countries (inaudible) get fast access to these facilities.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Thank you for doing this call. I really appreciate it. IMF OFFICIAL #1 and IMF OFFICIAL #2 and IMF OFFICIAL #3, I just wanted to ask you about this proposal that was made together with the World Bank about looking for some debt relief. The G20 doesn’t seem to have really taken that on board, and it almost looks like they’re saying to you, at the Fund and the Bank, well, why don’t you guys forgive some debt before we start doing that on a bilateral basis? Can you give us a kind of a sense of what’s happening there, and how quickly you think that there could be some move to, at least, suspend the debt payments by officials, bilateral creditors, and what steps you are taking that could potentially lead to some, you know, debt forgiveness or debt relief for the countries that are hardest hit? And I’ll go back on mute. Thank you.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: Thank you. So, we need to be careful to distinguish the proposal that was made by the Managing Director, and then David Malpass, and from a broader call for debt relief -- what has been proposed is, at the moment, a standstill. That would mean that countries would not have to repay official bilateral creditors for the time being, in order to free up resources to fight the epidemic and then support the economy. This does not mean that in any way there should be a broader round of debt forgiveness at the moment. It is a way of raising liquidity for countries that now need to concentrate all their resources on these immediately.

This initiative is currently kind of flushed out. Staffs of the two institutions are working on more concrete steps that will have to be presented to our executive -- relative -- respective Executive Board, and that will eventually be discussed during the forthcoming Spring Meetings, the Virtual Spring Meetings. The proposals are also being discussed in, as you mentioned, the G20. There’s, I think, a lot of support for the underlying idea that countries with low incomes, poor countries, should not give out resources, at the moment, to debt payments, but leaving everything to help themselves.

The modalities of how this could go forward, and, for example, the role that multilateral creditors, or, most importantly, private creditors play in that. That remains to be discussed and that will have to be fleshed out further. For example, official bilateral creditors may not want to provide resources for a debt standstill while private creditors will get repaid. So, this is something that certainly some countries are very keen to discuss. So, we’ll have to see how this plays out, but I think the underlying principles are -- or the underlying idea is something that finds a very broad consensus.

As far as the Fund is concerned, first of all, we already have a tool, now, with the reform of the CCRT, that will essentially provide a similar relief to counties, as far as repayments to the IMF are concerned, throughout the epidemic, and, second, it’s also important to understand that the Fund and the Bank will be required for such significant fresh resources, fresh financing, at this point. I mean, all our programs are essentially there to provide new financing to these countries that’s consistent with our role as lender of last resort. So, the question of debt relief from the Fund and the Bank, I think, is not something that in the foreground at the moment because we are actually provided a debt relief. Maybe I’ll leave it at that.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Good afternoon. I was curious about the secondary credit line you mentioned. If you could explain a little better, like, what are the steps needed to implement that, you know, is there Board approval? You said the members mostly agreed, but what does it take, and how much money is in that bucket that’s available? I kind of related to that, wondering about the FCL, too, and there’s only a couple of countries, Mexico and Colombia come to mind, that have that, but they can draw on that at any time, right, so, and they’ve been preapproved in all that. Is there a similar process for the secondary credit line that you mentioned? So, yeah, that --

IMF OFFICIAL #1: IMF OFFICIAL #3 would like -- would you like to take that?

IMF OFFICIAL #3: Sure. Just -- if we’re going to clarify that the access levels that we are thinking of for the -- of with the short-term liquidity line would be much more limited. I mean, as you know, the FCL has -- is uncapped in principle. So, the amount that the countries that have the FCL have been calibrated to respond to potential financing needs, and they are multiples of the quota of the countries. For the short-term liquidity line, we are thinking of, again, a much lower -- and to access of 145 percent of the quota, so, again, much smaller amounts, but unlike the FCL, which countries are expected to exit from, once the shock stops being there. It -- for the short-term liquidity line, the expectation is that capped countries could avail themselves with that line again and again, so, on that renewed base, a revolving basis, without that firm expectation of exit, for as long as they qualify. So, in many ways, you can see how that short-term liquidity line is a compliment to the FCL, not really a substitute.

QUESTIONER: So, is there -- but is there -- is that in place now, or does that have to be approved, still, and what type of conditionality is attached?

IMF OFFICIAL #3: Okay. So, it is not in place now. The -- we developed the proposal about three years ago, and, actually, all of the information about this is public. We do have the papers out. We had gone through almost a finish line, but we didn’t quite get there. So, there was -- so, it was not, at the time, formally taken to the Board for approval, but, evidently, we do have all of the preparatory work done, and, assuming that there is a support for this, we could implement it very, very quickly.

QUESTIONER: All right. Thank you, and just one quick follow up. When you said earlier, I think it was IMF OFFICIAL #1, the -- that the procedures had been streamlined greatly to make it easier for countries to access, especially the rapid deploying credit, can you give a sense of what that entails? I mean, how, like, how much -- I’ve heard people ask about if there was sort of a back door way for the IMF to come in and impose conditions on countries that don’t currently have programs. So, really, just wondering how much conditionality would be attached to some of these lending, if you’re streamlining the process. Thank you.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: You know, this is much more mundane, actually, than what you suggested. I mentioned earlier that even though these emergency financing mechanisms are facilities that can be accessed essentially without the standard conditionality in terms of fiscal targets and all the like.

They still need to preserve some conditions which is a, that the money is formally speaking used to address the underlying source of the financing needs so in this case the health crisis. And second the debt remains sustainable. That needs to be fulfilled.

So when you usually have a program request from a country, then papers get written, you know, the country gets kind of -- the issue gets described, why is it needed. There will be a bit of a discussion of economic policies and they will get the sustainability assessment and this is all being done very thoroughly normally.

Because of the special nature of this climate and the very common shock that everybody is facing, we don’t need to go as deep into the case by case assessment as usually we would do say for something if there is an earthquake in a country or a hurricane strike.

So essentially it's understood that the countries are in dire need to finance their health expenditure and protect their people and companies, the small enterprises and the like. And therefore, we don’t need to do this kind of in depth assessment but we still need to do is the debt sustainability assessment.

And so when I talked about streamlining, it's really to make sure that we are doing all these things and process them in the really minimum time that needed to still do a thorough job. And that means de facto that a lot of our economists at the moment essentially work, you know, I'm going to say 12, 14 hours a day just to process all these requests through the machine.

And similarly, what the document when it comes to bold streamlining its really a shortage of circulation period -- a shorter circulation period and the type of requirements that need to be in place in terms of the time that is being given to people to read things and consult with their headquarters, capitals and so that is something that we are trying streamline. It is really a process issue, it has nothing to do with any policy issues or any requirements that are underlying.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you. Do we have any more questions?

QUESTIONER: Hi. I am very appreciative for your speech. I just want to ask one question that (inaudible) had announced maybe several days before that COVID-19 is the biggest challenge since IMF has built. So I just wondering how it is, can become such a big challenge for IMF and especially compared to the crisis of 2009. Thank you.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: That is a good question. I think it is in several dimensions. The financial crisis from 10 years ago of course was a massive shock. It was something that played out first of all in the United Sates and then in Europe with other countries of course also being drawn into it because of all the spillovers.

And it required major unprecedented action from central banks and governments at the time. And it was still something that was in a sense-- well, first of all it was more of a traditional crisis, financial crisis. It was also somewhat localized although the effects were felt around the globe.

But this one, this crisis right now that we are facing is unprecedented in the sense that it is a really, truly global crisis where everybody goes through the phases of infection, the rapid spread of the disease, the need to shut down large parts of an economy and it doesn’t matter whether it's China or the United States or Europe or a smaller country, low income countries. It could have devastating effects on the health systems.

And the need to shut down economies really deprives people of incomes and also can have lasting consequences the longer the crisis goes on. Because once companies have to shut down, it's not clear that they will all be open because as we know, you know, there is risk of insolvency, there is risk of business models that change and many countries don’t have the same type of resources that advanced economies have to see their economies through this kind of shock.

So what we need to think about is not only an economic crisis but we also need to think about the health dimension and that it is really also the very new part that we all need to fight this health crisis simultaneously almost because if it is not being addressed in some part of the globe, there is always a risk that it comes back and spreads to a part that may be thinking they are out of it.

And there is vigilance toward the virus reemerging and spreading again after the initial wave is going to be there. So it really requires a global response and different levels of global cooperation. And then again, the economic shock is massive and many countries will probably have to deal with this for quite some time.

And in that sense, we have never had something like that. We have had crisis in different parts of the world, always with the risk of spillovers but it's really global and interconnected nature between health and economics that is just something that’s unprecedented in the true sense of the word.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you, IMF OFFICIAL #1. Maybe we can take two more questions.

QUESTIONER: Yes. Thank you. I wanted to ask about something else that the Managing Director recently mentioned in terms of swap lines and swap line facilities for the IMF. And I was curious to know to what degree is that under consideration and is there concern that some swap lines could erode the conditionality and the condition based model of IMF lending in that they, you know, they would seem to put IMF resources at greater risk than some of the traditional lending instruments?

And also, just to follow on the question, so we are good with a figure of around $20 billion as far as the incoming requests so far from those 80 plus nations for the rapid emergency financing. Thank you.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: I didn't quite get the second part of the question. Maybe you could repeat that? What was it about the 20 billion? Sorry.

QUESTIONER: Sorry. I'm just confirming the answer from the question that the $20 billion is a good approximate umber to use in terms of totaling up the requests that have come in so far from the 80 plus IMF members for the rapid emergency financing so far.

IMF OFFICIAL #1: Yes, I would ask IMF OFFICIAL #2 to confirm that but yes, that’s, I think my understanding. On your question with the swap lines, so we need to distinguish two ideas that are out there.

One is the, what was called the short-term swap line from the IMF, the (inaudible) that IMF OFFICIAL #3 described at the, that we already talked about today. That as I said it's really not, it's not something comparable to a central bank swap. It is essentially a Funds facility with a special feature.

The other item that you sometimes see being discussed is really related to central bank swap lines, genuine central bank swap lines. And the most prominent example but of the only one is the swap lines that the Federal Reserve put out, I believe last week.

We have had several countries that they had already offered back in the global financial crisis 10 years ago and I think the same group of countries were again offered these kinds of swap lines from the Fed. These are really kind of short-term swap lines, not the type that provide liquidity and then somewhat kind of shorter duration liquidity provisions.

Because, not all countries normally are covered by such swap lines. I don’t mean only the Fed, I also mean other ones. For example, China and Japan do provide swap lines to countries. (Inaudible) to some but there are countries that don’t have access to these swap lines.

And the discussion was for some time whether the IMF couldn't offer to the central banks involved to safely be there and kind of help central banks with the credit risk by offering or by accepting the request of the country to have an FCL for example in place so that the country could have access to the Funds, sort of the Funds liquidity in order to repay the central bank if there was some.

So in that sense, it was the Fund offering its services at a mediator between a country and another central bank to help, to bring a transaction together that would otherwise not be happening.

And we have had the discussion, so far no central bank has come forward to say that this would be something that they would be willing to entertain.

It is something that could again, could be implemented more easily because it doesn't really require any change in architecture. It is something that the Fund simply offers its services.

But we really remain dependent on the other two partners in their transaction so to speak, the central bank and the country that would like to have such a small bank or another central bank. And if we don't get a request from any of these partners to or from both of these partners to engage, then this will not be something that we can pursue.

So in that sense, it is really not comparable to a fund facility of the type of the FCL itself or the short term liquidity line that the (inaudible). It's really a combination of one of our facilities with a transaction having other partners. And maybe, IMF OFFICIAL #2, on the amounts.

IMF OFFICIAL #2: Sorry, I missed the question on the amounts. What was the question again?

IMF OFFICIAL #1: Whether we can confirm the number of 20 billion for the 80 (inaudible) requests that we have gotten so far to check for inquiries. As far as I know --

IMF OFFICIAL #2: That’s also my understanding, yeah.

IMF OFFICIAL #3: Okay. Can I just come in for a second, this is IMF OFFICIAL #3. Just to clarify one aspect, I think there was a question about this before as well.

When you mentioned the traditional Funds model of conditionality, just to clarify that the FCL and also the same idea would apply to the new liquidity line, in both cases, the, there is no exposed conditionality, the type of conditionality that you have in our other programs. And this is kind of a bridge that we crossed back in 2009 when the FCL was established.

So the only conditionality that exists in that, in these -- in this instrument is what we would call ex ante conditionality which is really the high qualification bar.

The fact that only few countries with very strong policies would be deemed to qualify for it and that’s how we are sending the conditionality aspect. So in that sense, we already have that facility with the FCL.

MS. CANDIA: Thank you. So we will take one more question.

QUESTIONER: Hi, hey, thanks for taking a follow up. So real quickly, on the CCRT, the Managing Director keeps saying we need people to put money in but we are not really seeing that happen. Can you tell us where you are now? Who has put money in and how long will it take to get that up to the billion that she is striving for?

And then specifically you mentioned, you know, these -- some of these requests. I was wondering if you could say anything specifically on the request from Iran and how quickly that could be addressed since they are one of the countries that has been hardest hit?

And obviously another specific one that people are watching for is Argentina because having declared them to be, to have their debt be unsustainable, they wouldn't technically be eligible for any of the emergency relief.

So how are things moving with Argentina in case they, I mean, you know, in case they do get hit harder and have they actually asked for funding?

IMF OFFICIAL #1: If it's all right with you, we won't discuss country specific issues today. It was really more about facilities. And I think on the other question regarding the CCRT, maybe if IMF OFFICIAL #2 wants to come in?

QUESTIONER: Thank you. We had to try.

MS. CANDIA: Thanks. IMF OFFICIAL #2, do you want to say a few words on the CCRT? Are you on mute, IMF OFFICIAL #2? Well, maybe what we can do is just, we will follow up in --


MS. CANDIA: -- if he might be having some trouble connecting. If anyone else wants to weigh in? All right. Okay. Well, we will leave it at that and then we will follow up. Please follow up with us. And --


MS. CANDIA: And thank you so much everybody for joining this call and have a good day. Just a quick reminder, this is in background and the quotes would be attributable to IMF officials. Thank you so much. Have a good day.

OPERATOR: Thank you and that does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for using AT&T event conferencing. You may now disconnect.


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