World is on brink of a precipice, says Clinton

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The Independent Online
PRESIDENT BILL Clinton launched a plan yesterday to counter the international economic crisis, and said it posed the most serious threat since the Second World War.

On Tuesday he will address leaders at the meetings of the IMF and World Bank to set out his ideas. He proposed a "new mechanism, anchored in the IMF, to provide contingent finance to help countries to ward off global financial contagion". He wanted institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to "develop a new emergency capacity to lend quickly". And he promised to boost the efforts of US businesses to invest in and sell to emerging markets, through new credit facilities. His speech sent the Dow Jones index up 114 points, to 7,747.36.

In London, more than pounds 20bn has been wiped off shares, ending the worst week for 11 years for the UK stock market. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, also called for action to avert a slump. Speaking before the G7 summit of industrialised nations that opens in Washington today, he called on the main economic powers to "share the burden" of restarting the world economy.

He would not say specifically if the Bank of England, which meets next week to decide on interest rates, will lower the cost of borrowing. While he did not want to "second-guess" the Bank, "everyone subscribes to the view that the balance of risks has shifted".

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