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IMF sidesteps clash with U.S. over funding, delays shareholding changes to 2023

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Friday its 189 member countries had agreed to maintain the IMF’s $1 trillion in total lending resources while delaying changes to its shareholding structure to as late as December 2023.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva makes remarks at an opening news conference during the IMF and World Bank's 2019 Annual Fall Meetings of finance ministers and bank governors, in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva announced the decision at the Fund’s and World Bank’s annual meetings, saying that the move will provide confidence that the IMF can adequately support members as they deal with slowing global growth.

The move is a recognition that the current review of its quota - or shareholding system - was not going to result in changes that would grant more power to growing emerging markets such as China and Brazil in the face of U.S. opposition.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the IMF’s spring meetings in April that the United States opposes increasing overall funding and shareholding quotas.

“In our view, the IMF currently has ample resources to achieve its mission,” he said at the time.

The IMF’s steering committee endorsed the decision, which calls for completion of a package to ensure that the fund maintains its lending resources.

The IMF’s $250 billion crisis fund, the New Arrangements to Borrow created a decade ago, was due to expire in 2022. Bilateral lending arrangements, totaling about $440 billion, were due to expire at the end of 2019.

The move by the IMF will “preserve its role at the center of the global financial safety net,” Lesetja Kganyago, IMFC chairman and Reserve Bank of South Africa governor, said in a statement.

“The IMFC will continue to work to ensure that the IMF has sufficient resources and that its governance appropriately reflects developments in the global economy and its membership.”

IMF members last altered quotas in 2010, agreeing to increase China’s and other emerging markets’ voting power, but the changes were not implemented until 2016, in part due to approval delays by the U.S. Congress.

Reporting by David Lawder and Heather Timmons; Editing by Paul Simao and Andrea Ricci