The International Monetary Fund's policy committee said the United States needed to take "urgent action" to address the budget impasse that has blocked approval of legislation to increase the government's borrowing limit before a fast-approaching Thursday deadline.
"A while ago there was an excess of exuberance and now perhaps an excess of pessimism," Alexandre Tombini, the head of Brazil's central bank, told the International Monetary Fund's policy-setting panel Saturday. Lew told finance ministers that the United States understands the role it plays as "the anchor of the international financial system." He assured the finance officials that the administration was doing all it could to reach a resolution with Congress to reopen the government and increase the borrowing limit. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, whose country currently holds the rotating chair of the G-20, told reporters that no emergency plans had been discussed by the group to deal with the potentially catastrophic impact on the global economy of a U.S. debt default. "We trust the U.S. authorities will find a way out of this complex situation," Siluanov said. Other finance leaders attending the meeting said they saw the risk of default as remote.