Obama talks finance with new IMF chief Lagarde

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US President Barack Obama has discussed global finance with IMF chief Christine Lagarde in their first conversation since she was appointed head of the world lender.

"The president congratulated Madame Lagarde on her new role and reinforced the importance of close cooperation between the United States and the IMF," the White House said in a statement describing the phone call.

"The president and the (IMF) managing director agreed on the need for policies that foster growth and job creation in the near term, while securing medium-term fiscal consolidation," it said.

"They also concurred on the importance of rebalancing global demand towards emerging markets."

Obama had earlier cut short his summer vacation in Massachusetts to keep an eye on Hurricane Irene, a Category Two storm set to shear the US east coast over the weekend.

Lagarde took over as head of the International Monetary Fund in July after her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned in May to battle sexual assault charges in New York, of which he was cleared earlier this week.

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