Monday, 2 October, 2023
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IMF chief hails ‘productive’ talks as China visit ends

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday praised "productive and substantive" talks with top officials in China as she wrapped up a visit to the country.

The IMF warned in July that the overall global economic recovery from the pandemic was slowing, despite slightly upgrading its outlook for world growth this year.

In China, the world's second-largest economy, the IMF has forecast 5.2-percent expansion in 2023, slightly higher than Beijing's target of around five percent.

However, growth in the Asian nation has stuttered in recent months as weak consumer demand, high youth unemployment and a crisis in the crucial property sector have chipped away at an already lukewarm post-Covid rebound.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said she had "very productive and substantive discussions with the Chinese leadership", including Premier Li Qiang, Vice Premier He Lifeng, central bank governor Pan Gongsheng and Finance Minister Liu Kun.

The group spoke about the "status of the world economy and on the developments here in China", Georgieva said in a video posted on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

"We talked about measures the Chinese government is taking to bring forward the (growth) goal," the Bulgarian economist said, adding that the target was "important for China (and) important for the world".

"In a world where so many countries are vulnerable to the impact of the Covid and war shocks, it is critical that the IMF has the financial strength to help them," she said.

"I am grateful to China for recognising the role of the IMF at the centre of the global financial safety net," she said.

Georgieva said she also met the mayor of Shanghai and Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian former president who now heads the New Development Bank, an institution founded by the BRICS emerging economies.

The IMF chief urged China's policymakers in March to seek to raise productivity and rebalance the economy away from investment and towards more durable consumption-driven growth.