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US to Host G-20 Financial Summit


The White House says President Bush will host a summit of 20 nations next month to discuss the global financial crisis, ways to recover from it, and mechanisms needed to ensure it does not happen again. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington, the gathering is being planned amid continuing global market volatility.

The White House says the November 15 summit will assess steps taken to combat the severe financial contagion that began in the United States and quickly spread across the globe.

"The leaders will review progress being made to address the financial crisis, advance a common understanding of its causes, and, in order to avoid a repetition, agree on a common set of principles for reform of the regulatory and institutional regimes for the world's financial sectors," said Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman.

The White House is inviting leaders of the G-20 finance group, which includes Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Japan and South Korea.

Perino says the summit is viewed as the first of several gatherings, in which working groups will develop recommendations for consideration in future meetings.

"We expect that the leaders will discuss the effects of the crisis on emerging economies and developing nations. The summit will also provide an important opportunity for leaders to strengthen the underpinnings of capitalism by discussing how they can enhance their commitment to open competitive economies, as well as trade and investment liberalization," added Perino.

Recent weeks have seen aggressive steps by governments around the world to prop up troubled banks and other financial institutions, and to inject capital to promote lending that has been severely curtailed in many parts of the world. Reports from financial capitals suggest the worst of the global credit crunch appears to have subsided, with banks more willing to make loans to businesses and consumers.

But financial volatility continues. World markets slumped Wednesday, with shares in Hong Kong falling more than five percent and shares in Tokyo dropping by nearly seven percent. Major European markets finished with similar losses. In New York, Wall Street's main stock index was down about three percent in midday trading, after numerous American companies reported disappointing earnings.

Many economists are now openly speaking of the prospect of a global recession. With less economic activity forecast, fuel consumption in the United States and elsewhere is expected to decline, and oil prices are reflecting that expectation. Oil traded at below $70 a barrel Wednesday - less than half the record price of $150 a barrel recorded just a few months ago.


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