16 Dec 2011

No country immune - IMF chief

9:45 am on 16 December 2011

The head of the International Monetary Fund says the world economic outlook is gloomy and no country is immune from escalating risks.

Managing director Christine Lagarde says all nations, starting with Europe, need to head off a crisis with risks of a global depression.

Ms Lagarde said in Washington that there's no avoiding the new reality.

''There is no economy in the world immune from the crisis that we not only see unfolding but escalating,'' she said.

''It is going to be hopefully resolved by all countries, all regions actually taking action.''

Ms Lagarde said global economic leaders now needed to take a rounded approach towards addressing monetary weaknesses, such as those underscored by the current eurozone debt crisis.

''It is going to require efforts, it is going to require adjustment, and clearly it is going to have to start from the core of the crisis at the moment, which is obviously the European countries and in particular the countries of the eurozone.''

Ms Lagarde mentioned economic bright spots in Asia and Latin America, which took steps, with IMF help, during crises in the 1980s and 1990s to address weaknesses in their banking systems and their financial frameworks.

''All those challenges that they faced in the days of the Asian crisis, of the Latin American crisis, have now served them well,'' Ms Lagarde said.