BERLIN – The US Treasury Secretary said Tuesday the global economy was at its healthiest for several months, in bullish remarks on a whirlwind trip to Germany where he also discussed the euro crisis.
Speaking after a meeting with Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, Timothy Geithner said: “We see a gradually strengthening global economy.”
“I think we’re in a much stronger position than we were three months ago, six months ago, nine months ago to deal with the mix of challenges we face ahead,” added Geithner.
He said the talks in Berlin covered a wide range of issues, including financial market regulation, sanctions on Libya and Iran and Europe’s efforts to establish a bailout fund for potential future debt crises.
The US official praised debt-laden European countries such as Greece and Portugal for making strenuous efforts to reduce their deficit levels with painful austerity measures.
“What’s happening is remarkable in terms of the scope of the reforms underway,” he said.
“No one understands these challenges better than the leaders of Europe … they have done the essential thing and they have made clear they will do what is necessary to hold the euro together,” added the secretary.
Geithner also reiterated that developed economies had sufficient oil reserves to deal with any price spikes related to the recent turmoil in the Middle East.
Authorities were “closely watching” developments in the oil market, he said, but “it’s important to recognise that the major producers of oil and the major developed economies do have sustainable reserves available that they could mobilise.”
Earlier Tuesday, Geithner had briefly visited Frankfurt, where he held talks with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and the head of Germany’s central bank, Axel Weber.
For his part, Schaeuble expressed his own confidence that the global economy would pick up and repeated Europeans’ determination to return stability to the financial markets.