The IMF has just announced that it is expanding its New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) multilateral facility from its existing $50 billion by a whopping $500 billion (SDR333.5 billion), to $550 billion. The current lending participant group of 26 entities will be increased by 13 new members all of whom will contribute token amount of capital to the NAB. The one country most on the hook in the new and revised NAB - the United States of America, will provide over $105 billion in total commitments, or 20% of the total facility. The US is currently on the hook for just $10 billion, meaning its participation in global bail outs just increased by $95 billion. And the bulk of these bailouts will certainly be located across the Atlantic. What is most troublesome is the massive expansion of the NAR. If the IMF believes that over half a trillion in short-term funding is needed imminently, is all hell about to break loose.
Never one to present a realistic picture Dominique (or is that Mrs, Pisani?) Strauss-Khan said: "The expansion and enlargement of the NAB borrowing arrangements provides a very strong multilateral foundation for the Fund’s efforts in crisis prevention and resolution, as an essential back-stop to the Fund’s quota resources. This will help ensure that the Fund has access to adequate resources to help members that are vulnerable to financial crises."
If memory serves us right, the Fund's current resources give it acces to about a third of a trillion, so as of today the IMF has recourse funding to just under a trillion. Something big must be coming.