IMF Latest: G-7 Condems Hamas, War Clouds Global Economy Outlook

Finance ministers from the world’s most advanced economies condemned Hamas for its attack against Israel, as war in the Middle East added to the threats facing the global economy.

(Bloomberg) — Finance ministers from the world’s most advanced economies condemned Hamas for its attack against Israel, as war in the Middle East added to the threats facing the global economy.

“We unequivocally condemn the recent terror attacks by Hamas on the State of Israel and express our solidarity with the Israeli people,” the Group of Seven countries said in a statement on Thursday in Marrakech, Morocco.

Guardians of the world economy are gathering here for the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank to discuss challenges that include poverty reduction, climate change and lifting the debt burdens of the poorest nations. The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has added additional uncertainty to the global outlook.

War Jolts Finance Chiefs Facing ‘Shock Prone’ World Economy (6:33 p.m.)

War in the Middle East has swollen the list of geopolitical risks for global finance chiefs already confronting fallout from conflict in Ukraine and bracing for a year of pivotal elections.

The Hamas attack on Israel and potential for further economic disruption have taken center stage among the fiscal and central banking elite gathered at the International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings being held in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

IMF Walks Back Comment That Zambia Deal Is Signed; Expected Soon (6:32 p.m.)

The International Monetary Fund said a memorandum of understanding between Zambia and its creditors is yet to be signed, clarifying a statement by Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva that the deal was done.

“An agreement on an MoU is nearly finalized and the signing is expected soon. More details will be made available then,” an IMF spokesman said in a message.

Japan Official: G-7 Confirmed Excessive FX Moves Are Problematic (6:27 p.m.)

Senior Japanese finance ministry official says that the Group of Seven reaffirmed its stance on the foreign exchange market during a meeting Thursday in Marrakech.

Excessive moves in foreign exchange rates are problematic, the official tells reporters, after the yen weakened against the dollar following the release of stronger-than-expected US inflation data.

World Bank Group Governors Adopt Lending Reforms, Germany Says (2:40 p.m.)

Changes include lowering the minimum equity-to-loan ratio to 19% from 20% and the use of hybrid capital, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze tells reporters in Marrakech.

She says the role of the International Finance Corp., the World Bank Group’s lending arm for the private sector, will be increased. Other changes include Climate Resilient Debt Clauses, whereby loan repayment can be suspended in case of natural disasters.

IMF Says Up to Eight African Nations Need Debt Restructuring (1:45 p.m.)

Africa needs international relief from a vicious funding squeeze that has left as many as eight of its countries requiring debt restructuring, an International Monetary Fund official said.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, the picture is really quite varied,” IMF Director of the African Department Abebe Selassie said Thursday in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Sri Lanka Nears IMF Deal on Funding While Debt Talks Proceed (1:36 p.m.)

Sri Lanka is likely to clinch an agreement in the next several days that would help it tap more funds from the IMF even though it’s still trying to firm up negotiations with creditors on debt restructuring. 

Officials from the South Asian nation and the IMF are close to reaching a staff-level agreement following talks in Morocco this week, according to people involved in the discussions, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t finalized yet. Only a few outstanding issues remain, one person said, declining to provide more detail.

Egypt, IMF Hash Out Date to Talk Key Review After Progress (12:57 p.m.)

The IMF is in “close engagement” with Egypt to set the dates for discussing a much-delayed review of a $3 billion rescue program, citing recent progress on reforms.

“Our discussions are very much focused on making sure that Egypt succeeds,” Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told reporters Thursday at the lender’s annual meetings in Marrakech.

Roubini Says Markets Discounting Risk of Major Mideast Conflict (11:22 a.m.)

Global financial markets are discounting the risk of a “massive conflict throughout the Middle East for now,” economist Nouriel Roubini said.

Investors expect Israel “has no choice but go into Gaza and get rid of Hamas,” Roubini told Bloomberg Television. Markets are pricing in a baseline scenario in which “Israel occupies Gaza, it’s going to get ugly, but the conflict remains contained.”

ECB’s Centeno Says Current Stance Will Bring Inflation to Target (9:04 a.m.)

European Central Bank Governing Council member Mario Centeno said he’s confident that current monetary-policy settings will bring inflation back to the target.

“With the current level of interest rates, we will be making a substantial contribution to the 2% objective,” the Portuguese central bank governor told Bloomberg TV. “We will get there with continuing this monetary-policy stance, holding on for a while until we are totally sure that inflation is coming down.”

Bank of Korea Warns of Potential Oil Impact from Conflict (8:49 a.m.)

Bank of Korea Governor Rhee Chang-yong said any potential widening of the Mideast conflict that spurs oil prices sharply higher could weigh on the bank’s growth forecast, but it’s too soon to gauge the impact at this point.

“If this issue will go beyond regional and across the whole Arab region, then that’ll have a large impact,” Rhee told Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua.

–With assistance from Christopher Condon, Mirette Magdy, Martha Beck, Adelaide Changole, Sam Kim, Alexander Weber, Ekow Dontoh, Eric Martin, Jana Randow and Abeer Abu Omar.

(An earlier version of this story corrected spelling of Israel in headline.)

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