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2012年10月16日 (火)

IMF世銀総会 世界経済の減速に懸念高まる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 16, 2012)
Fears mounting over global economic slowdown
IMF世銀総会 世界経済の減速に懸念高まる(10月14日付・読売社説)

The slowdown of the global economy due to the protracted European debt crisis is becoming increasingly conspicuous. Countries around the world must work together to stop a negative chain reaction.

The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were held in Tokyo for the first time in 48 years, with 188 countries taking part. The meetings were a good opportunity for Japan to demonstrate its recovery from the devastation caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011.

A focus of attention at the annual meetings was how the world economy can overcome the challenges it faces.

In its global economic forecast, the IMF has revised downward the 2012 growth rate of the world's real gross domestic product to 3.3 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than its projection in July.

Countries in the eurozone have failed to extricate themselves from their negative growth patterns due to the fiscal and banking crises they are facing. The harmful effects are spreading to the rest of the world. The economic slowdown in China, India, Brazil and other emerging countries has become more pronounced.


Uncertainty on rise

It was a matter of course for IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to warn at a press conference ahead of the annual meetings that the "level of uncertainty" weighing down global economic growth was increasing.

Terminating this vicious cycle of global economic malaise is not easy. A major challenge is to determine how to achieve fiscal rehabilitation and economic growth at the same time.

Attention should be focused first on how to resolve the European crisis, the root cause for the global economic downturn.

We highly regard the European Central Bank's decision to buy the bonds of fiscally troubled countries and the eurozone's launching of the European Stability Mechanism on Oct. 8 as a new permanent safety net for banks.

Spain, a focal point of the fiscal crisis, is still hesitant in asking assistance from the ESM, and its government bond rating has been downgraded by two levels. Greece, meanwhile, has called on its creditors to extend its fiscal reform deadline by two years. The request has not yet been granted due to Germany's opposition and other factors.

If appropriate countermeasures are not taken promptly, the crisis will become even worse again. Based on a series of points made in Tokyo, the eurozone countries should take quick action to contain the spread of credit uncertainty. They also need to realize fiscal integration as soon as possible.


End friction with China

It is feared in the United States that drastic cuts in federal spending--the so-called fiscal cliff--will be made early next year. We hope both the ruling and opposition parties in the United States take appropriate measures to deal with this immediately after the U.S. presidential election.

Japan is on the brink of entering an economic downturn due to the slowdown of economies abroad and the superstrong yen. The country will be required to take additional measures to stimulate the economy and to get out of deflation.

Lagarde criticized China for not sending its finance minister and central bank officials to the IMF-World Bank annual meetings because of Beijing's confrontation with Tokyo over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. We think her remark was important as it emphasized the necessity of normalizing Japan-China relations at an early date.

Protracted deterioration of bilateral ties will also damage the global economy. Beijing will not benefit if such confusion applies downward pressure on the Chinese economy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 14, 2012)
(2012年10月14日02時03分  読売新聞)


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