TOKYO (Reuters) - The following are comments on Friday from finance officials in Tokyo for the semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“The global economy has not yet returned to robust growth ... It is inevitable that economic growth would stagnate as debt is reduced, because economic agents will reduce spending while they reduce debt.”
“Inopportune and inappropriate policies driven by discontent by (the) general public ... destabilize the global economy.”
“No responsible policymaker could dismiss the cross-border, spillover effect of their policies. Central bankers are buying time (with their ultra-easy policies) ... and the time must be used wisely. Monetary policy cannot replace structural reforms (that must be) undertaken by government.”
“There is a long way to go in Europe, but to give some credit where it is due, I think we’ve had a number of event risks in the past months that were successfully managed by our European colleagues.”
“Europe will be an event risk for some time, because there are so many steps that still put in place.”
“Australia is going into a global slowdown in reasonable shape. The question is how much scope do you have in domestic policies to ameliorate the slowdown. In Australia I think the answer is we have plenty of that scope.”
ITALIAN ECONOMY MINISTER VITTORIO GRILLI ON BUDGET CUTTING:
”Fiscal consolidation has had a negative impact on our economy.
“However, we knew that what we are doing has a price in the short term. But our conviction and determination is that the price we are paying in the short term is a necessary price to have for a much brighter future in the medium and long term”
GRILLI ON ECB‘S BOND-BUYING PROGRAMME:
”The ECB’s outright monetary transactions have provided a credible backstop in government markets that has removed fears of a breakup of the euro and will help stabilize market.
”The euro is not an experiment. It is the future of Europe and it is something to not be reversed.
”Given that growth potential in Asia is high and its middle class is expected to grow further from now on, Asia must avoid the overheating of its economies such as excess investment or the creation of bubbles.
“This lesson should be relevant even when Asia faces downside risk associated with the euro-zone crisis because if short-term policy stimulus ... turns out to be excessive, it may increase the potential risk of these imbalances.”
“What would make euro attractive for Poland? It’s not a 100 percent serious answer, but if we see there are no more bets on the euro collapse, and when we see that Spanish economy restarts growing, this is the first thing for us to start considering timelines and procedures. Because then we can have faith that we would be entering something which will not disappear.”
PORTUGUESE FINANCE MINISTER VITOR GASPAR ON EUROPE‘S CRISIS:
“In Europe, the decision-making process is slow and cumbersome. But it’s always delivered in the end. In more than five decades of European integration, it’s always been able to come to the level required by any crisis that has appeared in the process of European integration. And as you know, there have been quite a few.”
Asked if Spain wanted more political clarity rather than technical details before taking a decision on an aid request, de Guindos said: “absolutely not.”
“There was no pressure, in one sense or in the other.”
“Given the ... lack of growth, given the market pressure, given the efforts that have been undertaken, a bit more time is necessary.”
“We have consistently, I have consistently ... said the same thing: adjustment is needed, but it’s not going to be at the same pace for all; it’s going to be country-specific and it’s going to be also part of the rest of the package of policies that are put in place. But there’s no doubt in our mind that the burden of debt that is currently weighing on the shoulders of advanced economies is not sustainable in the long-term.”
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE ON GIVING GREECE MORE TIME:
“We have to wait to see what the final outcome of the report of the troika will be. Until we have the troika report, we must not speculate.”
“I think it’s even more important for sustainable growth that investors and consumers have some confidence ... We have to stick to what we announce, and we have to implement it step by step... If you want to go in some direction, you must not start to move in the opposite direction.”
“We need a sustainable fiscal policy as one precondition of sustainable growth... and that is the best way to get more jobs.”
“I am optimistic that in one year we will have overcome the most part of the uncertainty related to Europe.”
“It is time to move from dreaming of a world free of poverty to achieving it. It is time to bend the arc of history. With global solidarity underpinned by a relentless drive for results, we can, we must, and we will end poverty and build shared prosperity.”
BUNDESBANK PRESIDENT AND ECB COUNCIL MEMBER JEANS WEIDMANN:
“The world economy is in a difficult state, but there is no reason for painting a black picture.”
“What is of some concern to me is that the hopes and expectations of the governments are increasingly focused on the central banks as main actors in fighting the economic and fiscal problems.”
“I want to underline that monetary policy is not an instrument that can solve everything, it is not a miracle weapon. It cannot solve problems it can only provide short-term financing while stretching its mandate and in the process ends up in the tow of fiscal policy.”
BRAZILIAN FINANCE MINISTER GUIDO MANTEGA ON FISCAL MULTIPLIERS:
“We have been arguing for some time that single-minded and draconian fiscal policies may be counterproductive and have a tendency to backfire.”
“Some major central banks are again resorting to quantitative easing. Recent experience suggests there are reasons to doubt the effectiveness of lax monetary policies in current circumstances. Real interest rates have been negative or close to zero for quite a long time without prompting a clear recovery in private consumption or investment.”
“There seems to be a consensus between the five countries that a self-managed reserve pooling scheme could have a positive precautionary effect, help forestall short-term liquidity pressures and provide mutual support. It would also contribute to strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements.”
SOUTH AFRICAN FINANCE MINISTER PRAVIN GORDAN ON GLOBAL ECONOMY:
“Policymakers in advanced countries need to speed up implementation of agreed policies and reforms.”
“The recently announced quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank’s Outright Monetary Transactions may have positive short-term impact, however, they are not sufficient to prevent the global economy from heading into a recession.”
Reporting by Reuters IMF and World Bank reporting team