International Monetary Fund

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) [1] was set up by the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, mainly to provide loans to member governments in support of policies to deal with balance of payments problems. Unlike the World Bank, it does not provide loans for specific projects. It also monitors international financial developments and advises member governments about their economic problems. IMF representatives serve on the international Financial Stability Forum. The IMF is financed by contributions from member states that depend upon the size of their economies (the contributions levied in 2007 totaled over $300 billion).

An IMF loan is usually provided under an arrangement which stipulates the specific policies and measures that a country has agreed to implement to resolve its balance of payments problem. The economic program underlying an arrangement is formulated by the country in consultation with representatives of the IMF and is presented to the Fund’s governing body as a letter of intent.

See also Financial economics and International economics.