Emerging countries will get more power in IMF reforms

IMF reforms will shift 6% of current quotas to dynamic emerging and developing countries according to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Their role is significantly evolving. It reflects, as I was telling you for the credibility issue, the economic evolution of those countries. It is best manifested in three areas.

1) is the staff. How many staff do we have in the institution who come from India or from China? This applies throughout the institution but also at the top level. How many people in the management originate from China or India? We have quite a number of them. I’ve just recently appointed the Secretary of the Board, who is a Chinese national. One of my deputy managing directors is a Chinese national. Among the key leaders of this institution, we have many very talented Indian economists who lead key departments like the strategic department. So, that’s one level.

2) We are right in the middle of the quota reform, which is going to shift 6% of current quota to dynamic emerging market and developing countries, while protecting the quota shares and voting power of the poorest members. Clearly, the BRICs will be among the recipients of these additional quotas, and as a result of the reform, all of them will be within the top 10 countries of this institution in terms of quotas.

3) I don’t think is as relevant but it matters, is whether they sit at the board of the institution. As it happens, they do. Brazil sits at the table, Russia sits at the table, India sits at the table. China does as well.

What role could the IMF play in bringing about a better balance between rates of exchange, for example, for a possible re-valuation of the yuan versus the U.S. dollar and the euro?

Lagarde: It’s funny that you would focus exclusively on these currencies, because our job is to assess the appropriate exchange rate — and to actually say what we think of it — for all 187 members of the institution. We do that through appropriate modeling, gathering of data and comparing and taking into account multiple data, including the current account. It’s a daunting task because we don’t make anybody happy. Everybody sees himself either higher or lower and our assessment is not necessarily always welcome or well-received. But we do it on the basis of what we know, what we observe, what we can compile and model. We are in the process of refining and updating our methodology. Probably later in 2012, we’ll be able to come up with a new methodology and model of assessing exchange rates.

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