International Monetary Fund team to visit soon for bailout negotiations

Christine Lagarde  International Monetary Fund  Flickr

A Pakistani delegation led by Finance Minister Asad Umar is in Indonesia to negotiate a possible bailout package after Prime Minister Imran Khan gave his finance team the green signal to begin negotiations with the Fund.

"It will remind all of us that when you are a member of a club and you decide to stay in that club, then you play by the rules of the club", she said.

The U.S. and Chinese exchanges of penalty tariffs in their dispute isn't helping, she said.

Citing the U.S. tariffs on China and Beijing's retaliatory measures, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to impose global automobile and parts tariffs, International Monetary Fund chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said he regards "further disruption in trade policies" as major near-term downside risks. They also want to help further stimulate exports.

Imran Khan said the construction industry was one of the most important sectors of the economy as over 40 other industries were related to it and added it was vital for reviving economic activity and employment generation.

He praised host country Indonesia, a democratic, Muslim-majority country of 260 million, for fostering strong growth but noted there was much room for improvement.

The meetings open in the wake of an quake and tsunami on September 28 on Sulawesi island that left more than 2,000 dead and possibly thousands more missing, highlighting disaster-prone Indonesia's safety hazards.

Some energy-rich emerging market countries have fared better due to higher oil prices, with Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation seeing forecast upgrades.

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Argentina and Pakistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe are among countries grappling with crises.

The latest bailout talks come amid increased scrutiny over China's infrastructure loans to Pakistan.

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Monday said that Pakistan would approach the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package of Dollars 6 to 7 billion to address the mounting balance of payments crisis.

On the IMF bailout, the premier said that Pakistan will approach the Fund as there is a deficit of $10-12 billion to pay its loans and purchase imports in the short term. Pakistan's currency plunged by around 7 percent earlier this week after word of the loan request was made public. "W$3 e need to have a complete understanding and absolute transparency about the nature, size, and terms of the debt that is bearing on a particular country", she replied, words that echoed widely around the world as multiple global news outlets picked them up.

The annual summit for global finance brings together central bankers and finance ministers, development experts and civil society groups from across the globe.

The IMF said the high downside risks in the medium-term are driven by relatively elevated United States interest rates, a strong USA dollar and a strong global risk appetite, which "tends to boost portfolio flows in the near term but foreshadows weaker inflows in the medium term".

Still, about a dozen activists concerned with land grabs and other issues sometimes associated with World Bank-sponsored projects staged a brief, peaceful protest over the cancellation by local authorities of a conference they were to hold in the nearby city of Denpasar. "The Orange Line Train project is in debt and we will have to borrow for it".

"I would certainly start with a tight monetary policy, higher non-oil revenue mobilization", the IMF boss said.

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