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Definition - IMF

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Short for International Monetary Fund, referee and, when the need arises, rescuer of the world’s FINANCIAL SYSTEM. The IMF was set up in 1944 at BRETTON WOODS, along with the WORLD BANK, to supervise the newly established fixed EXCHANGE RATE system. After this fell apart in 1971–73, the IMF became more involved with its member countries’ economic policies, doling out advice on FISCAL POLICY and MONETARY POLICY as well as microeconomic changes such as PRIVATISATION, of which it became a forceful advocate. In the 1980s, it played a leading part in sorting out the problems of DEVELOPING COUNTRIES’ mounting DEBT. More recently, it has several times co-ordinated and helped to finance assistance to countries with a currency crisis.