G20 more upbeat on growth, but officials fret over Greece
By Anna Yukhananov and Jason Lange
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Group of 20 leading economies struck a hopeful tone on the outlook for global growth on Friday, even as officials fretted that Athens' inability to strike a deal with its lenders could upset Europe's tentative recovery.
In a communique after a two-day meeting, G20 finance ministers and central bankers welcomed brighter economic signs in rich nations, but lamented weakness in emerging markets.
"Risks to the global economy are more balanced since we last met," the finance officials said. "Near-term prospects in advanced economies, notably the euro area and Japan, have improved recently, while the U.S. and UK continue to record solid growth, which could support a stronger global recovery."
Still, the group of developed and emerging market nations, which represent around 80 percent of global economic output, cited challenges from an array of sources, including exchange rate volatility and geopolitical tensions.
Greece was not mentioned by name in the communique and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, speaking on behalf of the G20, said the issue of Greece did not feature in the formal discussions.
But uncertainty over whether Athens could reach agreement with its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders over new bailout terms in time to meet big upcoming debt payments cast a cloud over the gathering and other talks on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings.
"The mood is notably more gloomy than at the last international gathering," British finance minister George Osborne told reporters. "It's clear now to me that a misstep or a miscalculation on either side could easily return European economies to the kind of perilous situation we saw three to four years ago."