IMF urges fast reforms

Tim Wallace
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EUROPE’S economies must seize the moment to push through vital economic reforms, and not wait until a renewed crisis forces them to make changes, IMF boss Christine Lagarde said yesterday.

She spoke as Greek socialist party PASOK voted for finance minister Evangelos Venizelos as party leader, as it heads towards a general election with a fraction of the support it previously received, after a spell in government which ended with the technocratic Prime Minister Lucas Papademos taking control of the country and negotiating a second bailout.

Meanwhile Mohamed El-Erian, boss of bond fund Pimco, warned that Portugal will be the next Eurozone country to falter, saying its bailout package is insufficient.

Lagarde told an audience in Beijing that advanced economies must take advantage of “newly gained breathing space” given to them by the current lull in the crisis, cutting fiscal deficits and improving competitiveness.

She also urged emerging economies to “translate higher growth into better living standards for all.”