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Fix the Roof While the Sun Shines
World Economy

Fix the Roof While the Sun Shines

International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde has urged France and other countries to push through reforms “while the sun is shining” on the global economy.
In an interview with France’s Le Journal du Dimanche published Sunday, Lagarde said the strength of the global economic recovery had taken the IMF by surprise, AFP reported.
“In 2017, for the first time in a long time, we revised our growth forecasts upwards whereas previously we used to lower them,” she said.
Global growth of 3.6% was both “stronger and more widely shared” in 2017, she said, noting that developed economies were now growing again under their own steam and no longer merely being pulled along by demand in emerging markets.
Lagarde said the favorable climate lent itself to implementing reforms. “When the sun is shining you should take advantage to fix the roof,” she said, using one of her favorite maxims. This year’s global growth is on a par with the average of the two decades leading up to the global financial crisis. The IMF has forecast a further slight improvement in 2018, to 3.7.
In Lagarde’s native France, seen for years as one of Europe’s weak links, the recovery kicked in earnest this year. From 1.1% in 2016, growth is expected to rise to 1.9% in 2017—still short of the 2.4% forecast for the eurozone as a whole but better than the 1.6% initially forecast in the eurozone’s second-largest economy.
Centrist President Emmanuel Macron aims to consolidate the momentum and bring down stubbornly high unemployment with an ambitious program of labor, tax and welfare reforms.
Lagarde said the changes were key to boosting France’s credibility at a time when Macron is pushing for reforms at the European level, including closer integration among eurozone members.
The managing director of the IMF was France’s finance minister in 2008, when the euro looked to be in serious jeopardy. Nearly 10 years later, the currency is out of the woods.
But, Lagarde warned, “the mission has not been accomplished—and maybe never will—because Europe is not united on moving toward greater integration while maintaining national sovereignty.”

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