Global economic risks persist: G-20

SEOUL - G-20 leaders closed ranks on Friday and agreed to a watered-down commitment to watch out for dangerous imbalances, yet offered investors little proof that the world was any safer from economic catastrophe.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 14 Nov 2010, 1:16 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:25 AM

After an acrimonious start, the developed and emerging nations agreed at a summit in Seoul to set vague “indicative guidelines” for measuring imbalances between their multi-speed economies but, calling a timeout to let tempers cool, left the details to be discussed in the first half of next year.

European leaders broke away for their own mini gathering in the middle of the summit to discuss a deepening credit crisis in Ireland, a stark reminder that the consequences of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression still posed a serious threat to global stability.

In a communique signed off at the end of the gathering, the group’s fifth since the financial crisis exploded in 2008, there was a little something for everyone.

Leaders vowed to move towards market-determined exchange rates, a reference to China’s tightly managed yuan that the United States has long complained is undervalued. They pledged to shun competitive devaluations, a line addressing other countries’ concern that the US Federal Reserve’s easy-money policy was aimed at weakening the dollar. In a nod to emerging markets struggling to contain huge capital inflows, the G-20 gave the okay to impose “carefully designed” control measures.

They also agreed that there was a critical, but narrow, window of opportunity to conclude the long-elusive Doha round of trade liberalisation talks launched in 2001.

But there was no mention of Ireland, and the bland promises to deal with imbalances did not appear substantive enough to bring about any real shift. The International Monetary Fund warned that gaps between cash-rich exporters and debt-laden importers was widening to pre-crisis levels.

“The work that we do here is not always going to seem dramatic,” US President Barack Obama told a news conference after the summit. “It’s not always going to be immediately world-changing. But step by step what we’re doing is building stronger international mechanisms and institutions that will help stabilise the economy, ensure economic growth and reduce some tensions.” — Reuters

Global financial markets were not moved by the outcome of the G20 summit as it offered few concrete measures to change economic policy.

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