[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 12:03 GMT
No 10 shrugs off Brown-IMF rumour
Chancellor Gordon Brown
Chancellor Gordon Brown has said he wants to tackle global poverty
Downing Street has brushed off speculation that the Chancellor may be about to become head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The rumours surrounding Gordon Brown emerged after IMF managing director Horst Koehler decided to resign early.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The IMF is a big job, but the Chancellor's got a big job here."

Meanwhile, the Treasury said the story was "speculation", and that it was too early to comment.

Big names

Mr Brown's name is just one of several bandied around following Mr Koehler's decision to resign a year ahead of schedule.

Others include prominent banking figures from France, Spain and Poland.

Mr Koehler quit his post on Thursday to join the race for the German presidency in May.

He leaves his deputy, Anne Krueger, in the hot seat till governments can agree on a successor.

Traditionally, the IMF - responsible for managing world economic crises, but also the de facto arbiter of developing world nations' economic policies - is run by a European.

Tough rules

That tradition caused an ugly row in 2000, the previous time the five-year job was assigned, with many nations seeing it as outdated.

The IMF's reputation has improved in recent years, after criticism of its opaque decision-making and dogmatic policies.

Loans to Brazil and Turkey have arguably helped those countries back towards an even keel.

But the decision to stop loans to Argentina in 2002 following debt default - then start lending again last year - has been seen in some quarters as too harsh, then too lenient.

And the IMF is still seen as unbending when it comes to poverty reduction, focusing on a set policy prescription rather than adjusting to circumstance.

Runners and riders

Mr Brown might certainly be a candidate in theory, BBC political correspondent John Andrew said, as he already chairs the IMF's key decision-making committee.

Getting the job would also allow him to pursue his goal of tackling global poverty.

European finance ministers are likely to debate the issue of agreeing a new IMF managing director at a meeting on Monday.

Other possible candidates being discussed are the British former head of the Bank for International Settlements, Andrew Crockett.

Jean Lemierre, the French head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Mr Koehler's previous job - is also in the frame, along with Spanish economy minister Rodrigo Rato and Italy's Mario Draghi, a senior member of investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The BBC's Shaun Ley
"The Downing Street neighbours both say the IMF story is speculation"

IMF cautiously optimistic on UK
05 Mar 04  |  Business
Where do Brown's ambitions lie?
05 Mar 04  |  Politics
Healey calls for Blair to retire
05 Mar 04  |  Politics
IMF boss eyes German presidency
04 Mar 04  |  Europe
IMF gives Brown borrowing warning
19 Dec 03  |  Business
Brown calls for anti-poverty war
16 Feb 04  |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific