British PM appeals for IMF funds

Brown says "hundreds of billions of dollars" needed to help worsening economies.

    Brown said the UK would welcome investment
    from sovereign wealth [AFP]

    "That is why I have called for more resources for the IMF - hundreds of billions of dollars on top of the $250bn they already have available - to lend to those countries at risk of financial collapse."

    Brown met Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Saturday and is leading attempts to boost the IMF's financial reserves.

    Referring to Gulf countries, he said: "The oil producing countries, who have generated over $1 trillion from higher oil prices in recent years, are in a position to contribute."

    Soverign funds

    Brown also stressed the UK's interest in receiving investment from sovereign wealth funds - of which there are many in the oil rich Gulf nations. The UK economy is edging towards recession.

    "The Gulf states are an increasingly important source of inward investment to the UK," he said.

    "As long as they play by our rules and operate in a commercial manner, we welcome investment from sovereign wealth funds in the UK."

    In the past few days, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, have invested more than $9bn in the UK's Barclays PLC bank.

    Barclays declined to take help from the British government's bailout plan for its banks - which offered a total of about $60 million.

    Brown will visit United Arab Emirates on the final leg of his tour.

    Economic summit

    The trip is something of a precusor to a summit of world leaders in Washington DC on November 15 to discuss the international financial situation, including contributions to the IMF.

    The IMF has provided a total of $30bn to Iceland, Hungary and the Ukraine in loans since the financial crisis hit.

    An IMF facility to provide loans for weakening economies due to the crisis was backed by Germany as well as the UK earlier this week. However, additional funds are needed for such a facility.

    Brown has criticised the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) recent decision to cut oil production in an effort raise prices. He is likely to highlight these concerns on the tour.  

    Within six months, oil prices have fallen by more than a half to less than $70 in the past couple of weeks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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