$2 trillion global growth ‘possible despite threats’
Washington, April 13, 2014
Finance officials from the world's major economies believe an ambitious goal to boost global growth by $2 trillion in the next five years is within reach despite a variety of threats, including rising tensions over Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 wealthy and developing nations, in a communique, avoided substantial differences in areas such as interest rate policies and tougher penalties against Russia, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
In the communique, officials pledged to keep working on economic reforms that could increase growth by two per cent over the next five years. But they acknowledged the political difficulty in the changes needed to reach that goal.
"We remain vigilant in the face of important global risks and vulnerabilities," the communique said. "We are determined to manage these risks and take action to further strengthen the recovery, create jobs and improve medium-term growth prospects."
Australia's treasurer, Joe Hockey, said officials know that hard decisions await regarding overhauling labour market policies and dealing with budget deficits.
"It is hard but that is the only way we are going to grow the economy," Hockey, the G-20 chairman this year, said after the group's two days of discussions.
Next up is a September meeting in Australia, ahead of a G-20 summit on November 15-16 in Brisbane that US President Barack Obama and other world leaders will attend.
The G-20 includes Russia, which helps explain why the group's statement did not mention the Obama administration's threat of "additional significant sanctions" if Moscow were to escalate its actions towards Ukraine.
Instead, finance officials said they were monitoring the situation in Ukraine and were "mindful of any risks to economic and financial stability."
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew insisted there was strong support for harsher penalties, saying that Western allies "stand together in asking Russia to step back."
The G-20 endorsed the $14 billion to $18 billion loan package that the International Monetary Fund has developed to help Ukraine avoid a financial collapse. IMF officials have said its board probably will approve the assistance plan by early May.
Also missing in the G-20 statement: a lengthy section from its February statement concerning the need for continued low interest rate policies by central banks.
Britain's chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, said, "I wouldn't read too much into that." He joked, "We're trying to keep the communique much shorter."
He noted that the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England were moving cautiously to reduce stimulus efforts as the US and British economies improve. Some critics have expressed concerns that there is a danger that central banks could move too quickly to reduce support before labour markets improve. – TradeArabia News Service