Monday, February 17, 2014

G20 this weekend - the next thing to keep an eye on

A blog reader sent me a link to this article  reminding me that the G20 meets once again in Australia this weekend (thanks for that).

Usually, nothing much significant comes out of these meetings and early news articles are pretty much expecting the same thing this time.

But here are a few quotes from the article that confirm that there is far from unity of mind these days at the IMF.

"The International Monetary Fund's chief, Christine Lagarde, has called on Australia to help the G20 work together to complete financial sector and tax reforms, as a resurgence of unilateral approaches to monetary policy threatens to undermine the global body's mandate of international economic co-operation."

"This year's series of G20 meetings in Australia are meant to focus on fostering economic growth. But the recent turbulence faced by emerging markets as the US winds back its monthly bond-buying program and the outlook for China's growth could dominate Sydney's agenda instead."

"A US Treasury official has acknowledged the emerging markets' turmoil would be a ''focal point'', although analysts said the Federal Reserve was likely to continue acting in the best interests of the American economy. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is also set to attend the meetings. The Fed has to look after No. 1 and the world later,'' said JP Morgan's chief economist for Australia Stephen Walters."

And lingering in the background is the US refusal to approve IMF reforms and send more money as noted in this article.     Some quotes from this one:

"The Obama administration supports Treasurer Joe Hockey's call for the United States to hand over power to emerging economies at the International Monetary Fund, but some Republicans are digging in over blocking reforms of the fund."

"Foreign policy experts are warning the US's failure to follow through on the IMF reforms is damaging its reputation and angering China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies."

"Under a proposed change agreed to by the G20 in 2010 to enhance the resilience of the global financial system, the IMF's permanent resources would be doubled to $US733 billion ($818 billion). The board's voting shares would be reallocated towards emerging economies such as China and away from Europe to reflect the changing weights of countries in the global economy.

The Obama administration supports the changes, which would require the US to commit an additional $US314 million and shift $US63 billion in existing loans to permanent capital.

However, Republicans suspicious of multilateral institutions such as the IMF and United Nations claim the extra taxpayer funds could be blown on bailing out bankrupt European economies."

So, nothing in these articles suggest a kum ba yah moment is at hand :)

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