Thursday, February 22, 2024

Markets may fall further: IMF

The US government pushed on Saturday to finalise a plan to buy direct stakes in American banks as the International Monetary Fund warned markets could drop another 20 % in a worst-case scenario.
Global stocks plunged to five-year lows on Friday as panic gripped. The US S&P index and European stocks suffered their worst week ever, losing around a fifth of their value.
“In a worst-case scenario, governments will need a few more weeks to take the correct measures and the markets could fall another 20 %. Then, we’ll turn around,” the IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard was quoted as saying in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
The world’s rich nations vowed on Friday to take all necessary steps to unfreeze credit markets and ensure banks can raise money but they offered no collective course of action to avert a deep global recession.
In a surprisingly brief statement after a 3-1/2 hour meeting, the Group of Seven stopped short of backing a British plan to guarantee lending between banks, something many on Wall Street saw as vital to end growing market panic.
However, an emergency meeting of euro zone leaders on Sunday would discuss a bank rescue package taking Britain’s initiative as a reference point, a source close to the French presidency said, even though as a non-euro member Britain would not attend.
Reports say Germany is thinking along the same lines. Britain’s rescue plan, launched last week, involved injecting 50 billion pounds ($86 billion) of taxpayers’ money into its banks and, crucially, to underwrite interbank lending which has all but frozen around the globe.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the US government would buy shares of financial institutions if necessary to halt market turmoil that has wiped out trillions of dollars of wealth and threatens to throw the global economy into major recession.
The IMF’s Blanchard estimated there was about a 50 % chance of a recession in the United States and Europe.

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