Opening Remarks for Annual Meetings Press Conference
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF
October 17, 2019
As Prepared for Delivery
Welcome to the 2019 Annual Meetings! It is an honor to speak with you
today, as I begin my first meetings as Managing Director of the IMF.
As we start these meetings – with a slight chill in the air – I thought
about the words of the Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin. He wrote:
“The breath of Autumn begins to ice the roadway.”
Unfortunately, that is a fitting description of the current outlook . But I believe we can still travel forward safely and
efficiently, despite the slippery terrain. Let me explain what we see
The Global Economy is Now in a Synchronized Slowdown
We are forecasting slower global growth this year and next — 3.0 percent in 2019 and 3.4 percent in
2020. In both cases a downgrade from our April projections.
Measured by GDP,
nearly 90 percent of the world is experiencing slower growth.
As I said in my curtain raiser speech, this means the global economy is now
in a synchronized slowdown.
, driven by trade, Brexit, and geopolitical tensions, are holding back
growth. They are causing hazards on our shared roadway and forcing the
So, what can we do about it?
What Can we do to Travel Safely and Efficiently? 5 Priorities
The Global Policy Agenda, which you all have, explains the steps
I see 5 priorities.
The first is to undo the harm on trade and find a lasting solution that
will help us build a stronger trading system.
I was encouraged by last week’s announcement from the U.S. and China. Our
meetings are an opportunity for all parties to make progress in moving from
a trade truce to a trade peace.
The second priority is to use monetary policy wisely.
Accommodative policy remains appropriate in many countries.
To be effective, all central banks need to maintain their independence and
communicate their plans clearly. At the same time, we cannot ignore the
financial stability risks that come with prolonged low rates.
This brings me to my third priority, enable fiscal policy to play a more central role. Now is
the time for countries with room in their budgets to deploy – or get ready
to deploy – fiscal firepower.
Of course, with global public debt at a record high, this advice will not
One thing that all countries need to consider is structural reforms. My fourth priority.
Lagging productivity calls for measures to achieve stronger, more
inclusive, and more resilient growth over the medium and long-term.
From cutting red tape to boosting female labor force participation there
are a range of ways countries can invest in their futures. Potential job
losses from automation, dislocations from trade, and aging populations
makes the need for reforms even more urgent.
My fifth and final priority is promoting stronger international
. This extends well beyond trade. From financial regulatory reform, to
addressing climate change, to safely adapting to fintech, to fighting money
laundering, so many of our challenges do not recognize borders.
Our solutions must operate by the same principle.
The IMF, which sits at the center of the global financial safety net, is a
good example of international cooperation working well. I am encouraged by
our members’ efforts to ensure that the Fund remains adequately resourced
and that governance reforms continue. We hope to have more on this during
Before I conclude, one additional bit of news. I am pleased to announce
that beginning January 1st, 2020,
all IMF publications in digital formats will be made available free to
It is just one more way the IMF is serving all our members.
So what is my goal for the days ahead? I want to make progress in all of
the areas I have outlined this morning, and in the process secure a safer
and more efficient journey on the challenging road ahead.
With that, I am happy to take your questions.
Alexander Pushkin. On Autumn. 1833
IMF Communications Department
Phone: +1 202 623-7100Email: MEDIA@IMF.org