IMF sees oil, commodities as risks to global economy
The IMF sees new risks to the global economy from a rise in the price of oil and other raw materials, a senior German official said on Monday.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of G20 ministers later this week at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, the official also said G8 finance ministers would hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.
"The IMF sees a new threat, namely the possibility of price shocks from raw materials, especially oil," the official said, requesting anonymity.
Conflicts in the region, notably in Libya, have helped push oil prices to 2-1/2 year highs.
The IMF publishes its world economic outlook at 1400 GMT and the official said the fund now sees downside risks to its outlook, pointing in particular to high sovereign debt levels.
The official said the IMF would make the point that neither Japan nor the United states had formulated a successful medium-term strategy for budget consoliation.
On Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a short-term spending bill that averted a government shutdown, formalising a compromise deal with Republicans that paves the way for more, and bigger, deficit-reduction fights to come.
On Japan, the IMF estimates the economic impact of the earthquake and tsunami at 3-5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), the official added, noting that the full consequences were still difficult to predict due to uncertainties about the nuclear disaster that resulted.
The official said he expected G20 progress in Washington on country-specific "indicative guidelines" for addressing global economic imbalances.
In an interview published earlier in the Monday edition of the Financial Times Deutschland, the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said parts of Germany's banking sector still need restructuring but the costs involved should be fairly modest.
The IMF will warn about the fragility of some banking sectors but will not name countries, the German official said, acknowledging, however, that Germany was a source of concern in that regard.