International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has strongly rebuffed talk of Greece obtaining a delay on its debt payments to the Fund.

"It's clearly not a course of action that would actually fit," she said, adding: "We have never had an advanced economy ask for payment delays."

"Payment delays have not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years," she continued at a news conference as the IMF and World Bank spring meetings were getting underway in Washington.

In cases in the past where it did happen, "that delay was not followed by very productive results."

With huge debt payments looming and lack of progress toward a new financing deal with the European Union, media reports said Athens had informally asked the IMF to be allowed to put off payments to the Fund.

Ms Lagarde said any such action was the equivalent of adding more financing for Greece, and that it would create an additional burden on Fund members, some of which are much more needy than Greece.

In her ‘Global Policy Agenda’, which sums up the Fund's main advice and actions for its 188 member countries, Ms Lagarde also warned that overreliance on currency depreciations to boost domestic economies could exacerbate global tensions over exchange rates.

The sharp rise of the dollar against the euro and yen is expected to be a major theme at the meeting of the world's top economic policymakers in Washington this week. 

The recent currency moves have exposed some emerging economies as well.

"Excessive reliance on exchange rate depreciations to spur domestic activity could increase global currency tensions and should be avoided," she said.

The IMF has said the currency shifts are helpful on the whole, as they support the struggling economies in the euro zone and Japan, but could create winners and losers. 

The US Treasury last week warned Europe against relying too much on exports, which have been spurred by a weaker euro, and also took South Korea to task for currency interventions. 

More than two dozen central banks have further eased monetary policy over the last few months to support their economies or counter global deflationary pressures.

According to OECD calculations, countries pursuing monetary easing in the last few months accounted for roughly half of global GDP.

Ms Lagarde said the world still does not have a good system for helping countries in times of turmoil, as evidenced by recent exchange rate fluctuations and large capital flows and reserve accumulation in some emerging markets.

While regional financing arrangements, bilateral swap lines and the IMF's own loan programs have helped, they are still not well-coordinated, Ms Lagarde said.
"The global financial safety net remains underused during periods of turbulence, with uneven access and a multilayered structure," she said.