As growth stalls, G20 seeks closure on regulations

Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:36am EDT
 
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By Lincoln Feast and Ian Chua

SYDNEY (Reuters) - G20 host Australia is leading a push to draw a line under the global financial crisis, urging the group of top economies to swiftly finalize regulations aimed at preventing a repeat of the crash and focus on measures to revive sputtering global growth.

But the efforts of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers, meeting this weekend in the tropical tourist town of Cairns, risk being drowned out by growing alarm over geopolitical tensions and increased market volatility.

"They will do so against a backdrop of downgraded OECD growth forecasts and a deteriorating global political climate," said London-based Lena Komileva, chief economist at G+ Economics.

Indeed, headlines from the G20 will vie with any fallout from Scotland's independence vote on Thursday and ongoing U.S. interest rate speculation that has driven the dollar to six-year highs against the yen.

At home, a sweeping counter-terrorism operation across several major Australian cities on Thursday has knocked everything else from the front page.

Yet Treasurer Joe Hockey this week said he and his G20 colleagues are focused on delivering jobs and growth more than ever before.

"The changes in the economy over the last few months have made the job harder but it has not diminished our collective resolve," he said.

He acknowledged the challenges in attaining the target of bettering the global growth trajectory by 2 percent by 2018, a goal set earlier this year at a similar meeting in Sydney.   Continued...

 
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, July 17, 2014.   REUTERS/Lisa Maree Williams/Pool