IMF appoints new chief economist

International Monetary Fund

An academic who has warned that the euro was a gamble has been named as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Maurice Obstfeld, an economic advisor to President Obama, is on leave from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a prolific author of research papers on exchange rates, international financial crises, global capital markets, and monetary policy.

The chief economist role as the IMF is a crucial post and Obstfeld’s appointment has been announced at a time when the Washington-based fund is heavily involved in the Greek debt crisis. He is an expert on currency markets and wrote in 1999 that the euro “is a gamble that can be won in the long run only if it overcomes the existing political stasis to force fundamental fiscal and labour market reform in its member states.”

Christine Lagarde, boss of the IMF, described him as an “exceptional candidate” for the role.

He takes over from Olivier Blanchard who in 2013 warned George Osborne that he was “playing with fire” with his deficit reduction measures. The IMF later admitted it had misjudged its forecasts for the UK and Lagarde said earlier this year that the recovery in the UK economy was “exactly the sort of result” she wanted to see.

Blanchard’s retirement had already been announced and Obstfeld takes over on 8 September.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Monday 20th July 2015 19.48 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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