The international monetary system is a topic that encompasses a wide range of issues—reserve currencies, exchange rates, capital flows, and the global financial safety net, to name a few. Some are of the view that the current system works well enough. I take a less sanguine view. Certainly the world did not end with the crisis that began in 2008 and a recovery is under way. But, it is not the recovery we wanted—it is uneven, unemployment is not really going down, there are widening inequalities, and global imbalances are back. Reform of the international monetary system may be wide-ranging and complex. But concrete reforms are needed to achieve the kind of well-balanced and sustainable recovery that the world needs, and to help prevent the next crisis.
As the global economics crisis abates, there is an emerging consensus that a better global financial safety net is needed to enable countries with good policies to insure against bad outcomes, especially when they are innocent by-standers caught in a financial turmoil. Last week the IMF took another step toward meeting this need by further enhancing its country insurance facilities. Reza Moghadam, head of the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, has authored this blog to coincide with a series of speeches about the reforms, including a scheduled speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics next Monday. The blog outlines the two major changes: enhancements to our flagship insurance option—the Flexible Credit Line (FCL)—for countries with very strong policies and economic fundamentals; and the establishment of a new Precautionary Credit Line (PCL), which offers a new form of contingent protection for countries with some moderate vulnerabilities.