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IMF names White House official as chief economist

[WASHINGTON] The International Monetary Fund named Maurice Obstfeld, one of US President Barack Obama's top economic advisers, as its new chief economist on Monday.

Obstfeld, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will replace outgoing IMF economist Olivier Blanchard.

"His outstanding academic credentials and extensive international experience make him exceptionally well-placed to provide intellectual leadership to the IMF at this important juncture," said the Fund's managing director, Christine Lagarde, in a statement.

"He is known around the globe for his work on international economics and is considered one of the most influential macroeconomists in the world." Obstfeld, 63, has been on leave from Berkeley since mid-2014 to serve on the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

He will start at the Washington-based IMF on September 8, where a key task will be helping with the Fund's huge, troubled rescue programs for Greece and Ukraine, and more broadly, keeping a close eye on the slowdown in the global economy.