BEIJING: The global economy has stepped back from the brink of danger and signs of stabilisation are emerging from the euro zone and the United States, but high debt levels in developed markets and rising oil prices are key risks ahead, the IMF said on Sunday.
“The global economy may be on a path to recovery, but there is not a great deal of room for manoeuvre and no room for policy mistakes,” IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, said in a speech in Beijing.
She said signs of stabilisation were emerging to show that policy actions taken in the wake of the global financial crisis were paying off, that U.S. economic indicators were looking a little more upbeat and that Europe had taken an important step forward in solving its crisis with the latest efforts on Greece.
“On the back of these collective efforts, the world economy has stepped back from the brink and we have cause to be more optimistic. Still, optimism must not lull us into a false sense of security. There are still major economic and financial vulnerabilities we must confront,” Lagarde said.
The IMF chief cited still fragile financial systems burdened by high public and private debt persists advanced economies as the first of three major risks and said euro zone public sector and bank rollover funding needs in 2012 were equivalent total about 23 percent of GDP.
“Second, the rising price of oil is becoming a threat to global growth. And, third, there is a growing risk that activity in emerging economies will slow over the medium term,” she said.
Lagarde also said youth unemployment should be tackled and that all countries must persevere with their policy efforts if the progress made in stabilising the global economy is to pay off with better prospects ahead.
She said advanced economies must continue with macroeconomic support and a balanced fiscal policy, together with financial sector reforms and structural and institutional reforms to repair the damage done by the crisis and to improve competitiveness.
Meanwhile emerging market economies need to calibrate macroeconomic policies both to guard against fallout from the advanced economies as well as to keep overheating pressures in check.