IMF chief hopes U.S. debt ceiling deal will come before ’11th hour’

LONDON (Reuters) – International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Tuesday she hoped the world economy would not have to wait until the 11th hour for a solution on the U.S. debt ceiling.

White House and congressional Republican negotiators are seeking to resolve a months-long impasse over raising the U.S. government’s $31.4 trillion government debt limit, with the nation facing the risk of default in as soon as nine days.

Georgieva, speaking at a press conference in London, said a U.S. default would damage both the U.S. and the global economies, representing a powerful incentive for negotiators to reach an agreement.

“We have seen historically that discussions on the debt ceiling in the United States have always been quite tense, but always resulted in solutions,” she said.

“Let’s see how much this will be driven to the 11th hour. Hopefully we won’t have to wait that long.”

Georgieva was in London to present the IMF’s annual assessment of Britain’s economy, which it now expects will avoid recession but continue to suffer from high inflation and muted growth in the near term.

(Reporting by David Milliken; additional reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by William Schomberg)