Canada official: consensus on G20 fiscal moves unlikely

Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:31pm EDT
 
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By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA, April 12 (Reuters) - Group of 20 finance ministers are unlikely to reach a consensus on whether greater fiscal measures are needed to boost growth when they meet later this week, a senior Canadian finance official said on Tuesday.

The issue of tax evasion and avoidance is also expected to be in the spotlight after the so-called Panama Papers leak when ministers meet in Washington at the end of the week as part of the International Monetary Fund's spring meetings.

While some have called for greater action on the fiscal front, other countries at the table have argued they don't have room to take such steps, the official told reporters.

Although there is concern about where global growth is going, there is not the sense that the situation is dire, the official said.

Canada's new Liberal government won power last year campaigning on a plan to run deficits that would be invested in infrastructure, with the goal of boosting growth rates. That stance has made it a rarity among major economies, with many countries more focused on austerity.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to use the meeting to highlight the fiscal spending measures announced in last month's budget, which included a deficit nearly three times larger than promised during the election.

The IMF earlier on Tuesday cut its global growth forecast for the fourth time this year, due to the slowdown in China, low oil prices and weakness in advanced economies.

Ministers are also likely to discuss the impacts of monetary policy and to what extent central banks are reaching the limits of those policies, the official said, though he noted a number of central banks, including the Bank of Canada, have said they have not run out of tools. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)