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IMF chief says maintaining policy support to households, firms critical for pandemic recovery

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a virtual news conference for the annual meeting of the World Bank Group and the IMF in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 14, 2020. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that maintaining fiscal and monetary support to households and firms while containing COVID-19 is critical for a durable economic recovery from the pandemic. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

  International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a virtual news conference for the annual meeting of the World Bank Group and the IMF in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 14, 2020. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that maintaining fiscal and monetary support to households and firms while containing COVID-19 is critical for a durable economic recovery from the pandemic. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) — International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that maintaining fiscal and monetary support to households and firms while containing COVID-19 is critical for a durable economic recovery from the pandemic.

“As I said in my curtain raiser speech, all countries now face a ‘Long Ascent’ — a journey that will be difficult, uneven, uncertain, and prone to setbacks. Think of how the virus is resurging in a number of countries,” Georgieva said during a virtual news conference for the annual meeting of the World Bank Group and the IMF.

“A durable economic recovery is only possible if we beat the pandemic everywhere. Stepping up vital health measures is imperative,” Georgieva said, adding policymakers should continue providing fiscal and monetary support to households and firms.

“These lifelines — such as credit guarantees and wage subsidies — are likely to remain critical for some time, to ensure economic and financial stability. Pull the plug too early, and you risk serious, self-inflicted harm,” she said.

Georgieva noted that the IMF has provided financing to 81 countries and extended debt service relief for the poorest members to help fight the pandemic.

“We are considering options to further adapt our lending toolkit,” Georgieva said, adding the multilateral lender still has substantial resources from the 1-trillion-U.S.-dollar lending capacity to help support members.

The IMF chief also stressed the importance of strong international cooperation, especially on vaccine development and distribution. “Faster progress on medical solutions could speed up the recovery; it could add almost 9 trillion dollars to global income by 2025,” she said.

In its latest World Economic Outlook report released Tuesday, the IMF revised up the 2020 forecast for global economy to a contraction of 4.4 percent. Despite the upward revision, the IMF said the ascent out of this crisis is likely to be “long, uneven and highly uncertain.” 

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