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Emerging Powers Tell IMF to Watch Rich Nations

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On Sunday, the emerging nations within the 187-member International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave voice to their concerns that weak U.S. and European economies were driving the downturn. The rising countries’ growth in the world economy, suffering because of the problems they attributed to U.S. policies weakening the dollar, gave them added weight as they pointed at developed powers as the cause of economic woes.

In a Reuters report, Thailand’s finance minister, Korn Chatikavanij, said, "The IMF is no longer the institution designed to look after the developing countries solely. Its role needs to be more broad-based, and it needs to realize that mistakes in the larger economies have global impact." This came as the U.S. had been blaming China for some of the dollar’s problems, because of the Asian nation’s undervalued yuan and its huge trade surplus.

While no agreement was reached on currency issues, the IMF did acknowledge emerging nations’ call for closer examination of rich nations’ policies, even as it added language wanted by the U.S. urging the IMF “to speak with greater ‘candor’ in advising countries on economic policy.” The U.S. hopes that this will give the IMF more leverage with China on its treatment of the yuan.

Emerging markets were also warned by U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that they would have to loosen up on management of their own currencies if they wanted more influence.

Action did not advance very far, with nations on both sides expressing discontent with any proposed changes. Russian finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, said, "As long as the Fund is seen as an organization in which all decisions are taken by a relatively small number of rich countries, and then announced in the name of the international community, mistrust in the Fund will persist in many regions of the world."