Thursday Dec 27, 1945 to Present
Washington D.C., U.S.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 190 countries "working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world." Formed in 1944, started on 27 December 1945, at the Bretton Woods Conference primarily by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international monetary system. It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises. Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries experiencing balance of payments problems can borrow money. As of 2016, the fund had XDR 477 billion (about US$667 billion).
The IMF was originally laid out as a part of the Bretton Woods system exchange agreement in 1944. During the Great Depression, countries sharply raised barriers to trade in an attempt to improve their failing economies. This led to the devaluation of national currencies and a decline in world trade. This breakdown in international monetary cooperation created a need for oversight. The representatives of 45 governments met at the Bretton Woods Conference in the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the United States, to discuss a framework for postwar international economic cooperation and how to rebuild Europe.
Ivar Rooth was a Swedish lawyer and economist. He served as Governor of the Swedish National Bank from 1929 to 1948 and as the second head (Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Board) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1951 to 1956.
Hendrikus Johannes "Johan" Witteveen was a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and economist. He served as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1 September 1973 until 18 June 1978.
Michel Camdessus is a French economist and administrator who was Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 16 January 1987 to 14 February 2000. To date, he is the longest-serving Managing Director of the IMF.
In May 2010, the IMF participated, in 3:11 proportion, in the first Greek bailout that totaled €110 billion, to address the great accumulation of public debt, caused by continuing large public sector deficits. As part of the bailout, the Greek government agreed to adopt austerity measures that would reduce the deficit from 11% in 2009 to "well below 3%" in 2014.
On 25 March 2013, a €10 billion international bailout of Cyprus was agreed by the Troika, at the cost to the Cypriots of its agreement: to close the country's second-largest bank; to impose a one-time bank deposit levy on Bank of Cyprus uninsured deposits. No insured deposit of €100k or less was to be affected under the terms of a novel bail-in scheme.
The topic of sovereign debt restructuring was taken up by the IMF in April 2013 for the first time since 2005, in a report entitled "Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Recent Developments and Implications for the Fund's Legal and Policy Framework". The paper, which was discussed by the board on 20 May, summarised the recent experiences in Greece, St Kitts, and Nevis, Belize, and Jamaica. An explanatory interview with Deputy Director Hugh Bredenkamp was published a few days later, as was a deconstruction by Matina Stevis of the Wall Street Journal.
The Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF, headed at the time by Acting Director Sanjeev Gupta, produced a January 2014 report entitled "Fiscal Policy and Income Inequality" that stated that "Some taxes levied on wealth, especially on immovable property, are also an option for economies seeking more progressive taxation ... Property taxes are equitable and efficient, but underutilized in many economies ... There is considerable scope to exploit this tax more fully, both as a revenue source and as a redistributive instrument."
Former IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato was arrested on 16 April 2015 for alleged fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. On 23 February 2017, the Audiencia Nacional found Rato guilty of embezzlement and sentenced him to 4 1⁄2 years' imprisonment. In September 2018, the sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Spain.
On 11 March, the UK called to pledge £150 billion to the IMF catastrophe relief fund. It came to light on 27 March that "more than 80 poor and middle-income countries" had sought a bailout due to the coronavirus.