News / Economy

G20 Focus: Policy Clarity, Global Rebalancing

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center, meets with representatives of G20 Youth Summit, St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 20, 2013.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center, meets with representatives of G20 Youth Summit, St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 20, 2013.
Reuters
The world's economic crisis response team grappled on Friday with the prospect of more market volatility resulting from powerhouses the United States, China and Japan charting a course towards recovery.
 
Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20  nations, gathered in Moscow, were expected to call for greater clarity in policy 'messaging' after signals of a withdrawal of U.S. monetary stimulus caused a global sell-off in stocks and bonds, and a flight to the dollar.
 
G20 sources said a draft communique in the works would also urge China to encourage demand-driven growth and allow greater exchange-rate flexibility as part of wider efforts to rebalance the global economy.
 
"There has been a kind of over-reaction of the markets," French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said. "So we are looking for the balance."
 
The G20 also backed a fundamental tax rethink that takes aim at the loopholes used by multinational firms and responds to widespread anger among voters hit with higher tax bills to cover soaring national debts.
 
The forum took the lead in the 2008-09 financial crisis and now faces a multi-speed global economy in which only the United States appears to be nearing a self-sustaining recovery.
 
China, for years the engine of global growth, is suffering a slowdown amid doubts over the stability of its financial system; Japan has only recently embarked on a radical fiscal and monetary stimulus experiment, and Europe's economy is more stop than go.

Chairman Ben Bernanke's announcement that the Fed may start to wind down its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases sparked a panicky sell-off, particularly in emerging markets.
 
Investors were calmed by testimony to Congress this week by Bernanke, who is not coming to Moscow, though he said the exit plan from money-printing remained on the cards.
 
Clearer policy communication is "crucial for preventing serious volatility on financial markets," said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
 
Negotiators working on a joint communique reconvened after a drafting session on Thursday night that sources said was less fraught than at the February G20 meeting in Moscow, when there was talk of a currency devaluation war.
 
Ministers will review the text over dinner.
 
The BRICS emerging markets caucus — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — also met on Friday. They were unlikely to progress on joint steps, such as a shared pool of forex (foreign exchange) reserves, to guard against capital flight.
 
Jobs commitment

The United States is beating its fiscal targets thanks to improving growth and Washington has urged the G20 to priorities growth over fiscal consolidation sought by Europe's largest economy, Germany.
 
G20 labor ministers, who met on Thursday, held a joint session on Friday with finance ministers, putting the jobs crisis in Europe — where youth unemployment is nearly 60 percent in debt-strapped Greece and Spain — at the center of the debate.
 
"Getting people back to work must be top of the agenda," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote in an article for the Financial Times. "In many parts of the world, such as Europe, growth is too weak to drive job creation."
 
The European Union's employment commissioner, Laszlo Andor, shared Lew's prescription for recovery, telling Reuters that investment in jobs was vital for maintaining social peace and emerging from years of austerity.
 
"If in the name of competitiveness and internal devaluation you just compress wages constantly, you also kill demand and you can kill the recovery," Andor said.
 
The G20 released a tax action plan drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that said the existing system didn't work, especially when it came to taxing companies that trade online.
 
The tax plan is one of the major 'deliverables' that will go before the summit of G20 leaders being hosted by President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg in early September.
 
Protest in Moscow

Russia, the first big emerging nation to host the annual presidency of the G20, finds itself in an awkward political spot following the flight of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to Moscow.
 
G20 delegates arriving at Sheremetyevo airport may not have bumped into Snowden, who has requested asylum in Russia, but they ran into a protest in Moscow over the jailing on Thursday of a prominent Russian opposition politician.
 
Alexei Navalny, who organized protests against Putin's election for a third Kremlin term last year, was sentenced to five years in prison for theft in a case that drew international condemnation as politically motivated.
 
Navalny was released on bail on Friday pending an appeal.
 
Officials checking in to the five-star Ritz Carlton hotel on Moscow's central Tverskaya Street paid little attention to thousands of Navalny supporters protesting outside, in keeping with a G20 tradition of keeping politics and policy separate.
 
"The rally and the traffic jams are causing meetings to be postponed," said one European diplomat. "But we fully understand the democratic right to protest."

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9034
JPY
USD
120.24
GBP
USD
0.6550
CAD
USD
1.2440
INR
USD
62.254

Rates may not be current.