IMF's Lagarde Warns of Volatile Flows From Policy Normalization

  • Market volatility is reminder of economic transition underway
  • Lagarde calls for more reforms to boost economic resiliency

Central banks need to stay vigilant as uncertainty remains over the impact of the normalization of monetary policies in advanced economies, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.

“We have known for some time that this is coming, but it remains uncertain as to how exactly it will affect companies, jobs, and incomes,” Lagarde told a conference in Jakarta on Tuesday. “Clearly, policy makers need to stay vigilant about the likely effects on financial stability, including the prospect of volatile capital flows.”

Stock markets from the U.S. to Asia were in turmoil in recent weeks on concerns that the U.S. could raise interests rates at a faster pace than previously thought. Investors are awaiting Jerome Powell’s first public comments in the role of Federal Reserve chairman on Tuesday.

The global economy is on a broad-based upswing, involving about two-thirds of the world, and it offers an opportunity to reform financial markets, upgrade labor laws, and lower barriers to entry in overly protected industries, Lagarde said. The IMF forecasts global economic growth of 3.9 percent this year and in 2019.

“As I have been saying recently, the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” Lagarde said. “Repairing the roof also means using fiscal reforms to generate higher public revenues, where needed, and improve spending. By boosting public finances, countries can increase infrastructure investment and development spending, especially on social safety nets for the most vulnerable.‘”

While lauding countries in Southeast Asia for building stronger economic foundations, Lagarde called for adoption of technology to harness the demographic dividend and greater inclusion of women in the workforce.

— With assistance by Tassia Sipahutar, and Eko Listiyorini

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.