The International Monetary Fund has raised by more than $1 billion the estimate of the amount of money it will need to borrow next year to help its member countries meet growing balance-of-payments deficits.
In a speech to German bankers in Bonn yesterday, IMF Managing Director Jacques de Larosiere said that "we are presently thinking in terms of borrowing" as much as $9 billion in 1981, "with additional borrowing in 1982 and 1983." A text of the speech was made available here by the IMF.
Coincidentally, Assistant Treasury Secretary C. Fred Bergsten said in a speech in Dallas on Tuesday that the United States strongly supports not only an enlarged lending role for the IMF but an enchancement of its powers as a policeman of the international monetary system.
At the IMF annual meeting in Washington last month, De Larosiere had set a top borrowing limit for each of the three years of nearly $8 billion. But in Bonn yesterday, he not only raised the borrowing target for next year, but withdrew any forecast for 1982 and 1983 because of the difficulty in predicting the level of real oil prices. The implication was that the borrowing load might be substantially more.
De Larosiere placed the new target for 1981 borrowing between 6 billion and 7 billion SFR's (special drawing rights, the unit of account used by the IMF.) The earlier-stated goal for each of the three years was between 5 billion and 6 billion SDRs. Currently, an SDR is worth approximately $1.30.
De Laroisere reiterated that to meet what all agree should be "an enlarged role of the fund," primary reliance should be placed on larger quotas -- deposits by members -- as a source of financing. To supplement the quotas, however, the IMF still expects to borrow the major portion of its outside needs from the wealthy Arab nations and still is working on the possibility of borrowing from the private capital markets.
In reviewing the role of the private banking system in "recylcing" large sums of money from the surplus oil producers to the smaller countries experiencing international deficits, De Larosiere appeared to be warning his banking audience that, while the IMF would be making larger loans, the banking system should not expect the IMF to carry an excessive part of the load.
The huge expansion in bank loans that followed the 1973 oil shock brought in its wake "a few, well-publicized bank failures," De Larosiere observed. While these could be traced to factors such as foreign exchange gambles that failed -- rather than international lending -- "they brought to the forefront the broader questions of prudential behavior in international bank lending," the IMF director said.
But he quickly added that bank management standards had been strengthened and said "banks should be playing a major role in the current phase of recycyling, without facing undue strain." But he warned the banks not to repeat the mistake of making loans that serve merely to maintain consumption at unsustainable levels in the less-developed countries.