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Dramatic Turnaround: IMF Head Calls For Stimulus Packages

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The intensifying credit crunch is so severe that lower interest rates alone will not be enough "to get out of the turmoil we are in", Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned at the weekend.

In a dramatic volte face for an international body that as recently as the autumn called for "continued fiscal consolidation" in the US, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the new IMF head, gave a green light for the proposed US fiscal stimulus package and called for other countries to follow suit. "I don't think we would get rid of the crisis with just monetary tools," he said, adding "a new fiscal policy is probably today an accurate way to answer the crisis".

Mr Strauss-Kahn's words rip apart a long-standing global consensus that fiscal retrenchment in the US and Japan is needed to help reduce huge trade imbalances.

It comes as the IMF is due to release new economic forecasts this week which, he said, would show a "serious slowdown and it needs a serious response".

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