The IMF is “saddened” by the terrible impact of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean islands and Florida coast and stands ready to help recovery efforts, spokesman Gerry Rice said Thursday in Washington, DC.
“Of course the IMF has tremendous sympathy and has been saddened by what happened in the region and reports of lives lost and the property damage from Hurricane Irma. She [MD Lagarde] said we stand ready to help our members in the aftermath,” Rice said.
“There are a number of options that we can look at in that context. But at the moment we are still trying to make an assessment. We are working with the authorities on that and working with our partners on that in terms of trying to get a handle on the impact,” he added.
Rice added that at this point no member states have officially requested aid or concessionary loans.
The IMF has a fact-finding team on the ground in Greece, Rice said showing a commitment to ongoing engagement.
“The IMF, and I think everyone else is in fact acting in good faith to try and support Greece and get Greece back on a sustainable path. The IMF as you know has devoted a very large amount of resources – financial and otherwise – to the Greek program over the years.
“So I think any question of the IMF’s commitment, the IMF’s seriousness, the IMF’s support for Greece I think is really beyond question.”
And IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has just concluded travel to South Korea and China. During the trip she was frequently asked about the impact of North Korea’s ramped up nuclear and missile testing programs on the economy.
“The way she [MD Lagarde] put it was that we see every downside in the escalation of tensions and every upside in trying to resolve those tensions and in trying to re-establish certainty rather than uncertainty,” Rice said.
“More broadly what she said in Korea recently was that it’s encouraging to see that South Korea and the region remain resilient and beyond that it is difficult to speculate on the possible economic impact of further geopolitical tensions in the region at this stage,“ he added.
The IMF is more formally assessing the impact of the Hurricanes, flooding in South Asia and the tensions on the Korean peninsula and will release its findings in the World Economic Outlook October 10th.
The IMF’s next briefing will be on Thursday September 28th.