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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has urged the International Monetary Fund to prioritize its core activities, emphasizing the need to support initiatives such as rebuilding buffers and reviewing debt and lending policies. 

Speaking during the International Monetary and Financial Committee Plenary session at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and IMF 2024, Saudi Central Bank governor Ayman Al-Sayari stressed the importance of remaining vigilant to financial sector risks. 

The governor emphasized the need for vigilance over continuing challenges, citing widening growth divergence, weak medium-term development prospects, food security issues, and elevated debt vulnerabilities. 

“In this rapidly changing world, the IMF should review its policies, as needed, to ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness. Given significant heterogeneity across the membership, the importance of delivering tailored policy advice as part of surveillance and program engagement cannot be overemphasized,” he said.  

Al-Sayari added that the IMF’s surveillance activities should continue to be “adaptable to meet the needs of the evolving economic and financial landscape.”  

“Further progress in incorporating macro-financial analysis into bilateral surveillance is essential, including financial spillovers and the volatility of capital flows and their effects on stability in EMDEs (Emerging Markets and Developing Economies),” the governor said. 

He welcomed the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda, a document presented at the Spring Meetings of the IMF. The GPA identifies policy challenges confronting member countries and outlines ways in which the IMF can provide assistance. 

Al-Sayari also highlighted the global economy’s resilience amid tight monetary policies, increasing fragmentation, and a slowdown in international trade. 

To offset the adverse effects of economic threats, he strongly supported multilateralism while advocating for a fair and open international trade system that would enhance global stability and inclusivity. 

Emphasizing the strength of the Saudi economy, the governor underscored the Kingdom’s proactive engagement with relevant bodies to help stabilize the financial systems of regional nations. 

This comes as the Saudi Minister of Finance and IMFC Chair, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, took to his X account to note that IMFC members acknowledged the significant impacts of the crises on the global economy. However, he added that the body was not the appropriate platform to address geopolitical and security issues, suggesting that they should be discussed in other forums. 

“The IMFC’s role is to advise and report on the supervision and management of the international monetary and financial system. This includes responses to events that may disrupt the system,” he stated. 

Al-Jadaan added: “Of course, the world and the IMF itself have faced multiple global disruptions over the last few years.

Prospects are improving, which is very positive, but numerous challenges remain, and we need to be vigilant and ready to address them. Today’s era must not be of war and conflict.” 

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