Spurring growth center stage as finance chiefs meet in Istanbul

Sun Feb 8, 2015 1:07pm EST
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By Nick Tattersall

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Finance ministers and central bankers face a tough task coordinating action to spur global growth at G20 meetings this week, with major economies running at different speeds and monetary policies diverging.

Concern over the ability of the United States to sustain the global economy as most of the world slows will be high on the agenda as the Group of 20 leading economies hold talks in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday.

The meetings come as Greece casts a new shadow over Europe, cheap oil plays havoc with inflation and growth forecasts and a strengthening dollar threatens emerging economies.

"There is a lot at stake," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a blog post on Friday. "Without action, we could see the global economic supertanker continuing to be stuck in the shallow waters of sub-par growth and meager job creation."

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan told an Institute of International Finance (IIF) meeting on Sunday that tackling sluggish global growth and giving low income nations more voice will be among the priorities for Turkey's G20 presidency.

The former will be easier said than done.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last week the United States could not be "the sole engine of growth" and a senior U.S. official said Washington's message going into the meetings would again be that Europe is not doing enough.

World financial leaders agreed last year to launch new measures to raise their collective gross domestic product growth over the next five years and create millions of new jobs.   Continued...

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde smiles while speaking at the National Assembly in Dakar January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Jaffe/IMF Staff Photograph Handout via Reuters