International Monetary Fund

The head of Taiwan's Central Bank told lawmakers Oct. 14 that the island is trying to secure an invitation to next year's meeting of the IMF, a legislator said. The bid is in line with President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of trying to leverage improving relations with China into increased international exposure for the island of 23 million. Taiwan was an IMF member until 1980, when the organization's China seat was transferred from Taipei to Beijing. Lai Shyh-Bao of the ruling Nationalist Party told The Associated Press that Central Bank head Perng Fai-nan told a legislative committee the island "is working on" gaining permission to attend the meeting.

Pakistan may have to seek an additional USD 847 million from the IMF if the aid the US has proposed under a controversial bill does not come through, the country's finance minister has said. Pakistan, in its budget for 2009-10, had estimated a US grant of USD 874 million for the fiscal that began July 1 but the ongoing impasse on the bill had put this at stake and the government would have to take measures to bridge the gap, Shaukat Tarin saids. Under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, Pakistan would annually get USD 1.5 billion in non-military aid for five years. Pakistan is opposed to the bill in its present form, saying it puts severe conditionalities on the manner in which the money will be utilized and impinges on its sovereignty.

Gulf Arab oil exporters, facing anemic growth of 0.7 percent this year and a more robust 5.2 percent next year, must keep up public spending in 2010 to help their economies recover from the global downturn, the IMF said this weekend. The pickup in growth next year is based on rising oil revenues but is still below pre-crisis estimated growth rates of around 7 percent, when oil touched USD 147 a barrel. AP writes that in the meantime the Middle East has weathered the global economic downturn better than other parts of the world because its energy exporters were able to tap billions of dollars in oil profits collected when prices were booming, the IMF said.

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