IMF chief dismisses ECB criticism

Lagarde says it would be risk ‘extremely helpful’ if monetary policy addressed risk of low inflation

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said the IMF was “extremely generous in its suggestions” regarding ECB policy decisions. Photograph: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said the IMF was “extremely generous in its suggestions” regarding ECB policy decisions. Photograph: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 01:00

The head of the International Monetary Fund dismissed a European central banker’s recent remark that the IMF weighs in at his agency more than others such as the US Federal Reserve.

“We do say what we have to say when we think that it’s appropriate to say it,” said IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

Ms Lagarde brushed aside remarks made last week by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, who told reporters the IMF was “extremely generous in its suggestions” regarding his bank’s policy decisions, more so than with other central banks.

He was referring to comments Ms Lagarde had made on Wednesday, one day before the ECB’s monthly policy meeting. She said the bank should ease monetary policy to help prices to rise, prompting Mr Draghi to question the timing of her comments.

Ms Lagarde told Maria Bartiromo, host of the Fox TV’s Sunday Morning Futures , that those comments were nothing new and that the IMF has said for months that the ECB should be wary of low inflation.

“I believe that, with the risk of low inflation as we see it, it would be extremely helpful if the monetary policy was addressing it,” said Ms Lagarde.

The ECB left its policies unchanged last week.