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World Finance Officials Focus on Global Risks

Adopting language used Friday by the Group of 20 major economies, the IMF's policy panel in its closing statement said, "The United States needs to take urgent action to address" the uncertainties created by the budget impasse.

The IMF panel called on emerging economies, which have been key in recent years to global growth, to undertake the reforms they need to better withstand the adjustments that will come as central banks such as the Federal Reserve begin the process of withdrawing the economic support that has kept interest rates at ultralow levels.

Emerging market economies benefited from investment flows as investors poured money into those nations during the period when rates were low in the United States and other developing countries. But many of the developing nations have been rocked in the past few months as the investment flows reversed as investors rushed for the exits following the Fed's signals in June that U.S. higher rates could be coming.

Such countries as India and Indonesia have been among the hardest hit as their currencies and stock prices tumbled.

In addition for the need for developing countries to improve their economic fundamentals to withstand the transition, the IMF called on the Fed and other major central banks to pursue interest-rate policies that are "carefully calibrated and clearly communicated."

Critics have charged that the Fed has botched its communications strategy and left investors confused while Fed officials contend that the economy has not improved as expected, and because of that, it delayed an expected initial reduction in bond purchases at the September meeting.

Now with the hit to the U.S. economy from the partial government shutdown and the uncertainty over the debt ceiling, many economists believe the Fed will not start trimming its $85 billion in monthly bond buys until next year after Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who was nominated this week to succeed Bernanke, takes over in February. Her nomination by President Barack Obama must win Senate approval.

Many economists believe that once the transition has been accomplished, the global economy should actually begin growing at better rates in part because less support from the Fed will mean the U.S. economy is doing better and serving as a market for foreign products.
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