APEC nations eye closer financial integration amid gloomier outlook
CEBU, Philippines Sept 10 (Reuters) - Asia-Pacific nations must integrate their financial markets more closely to boost trade and investment, the Philippines' national treasurer told a meeting of finance ministry officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group on Thursday.
"It is imperative for APEC to further advance financial integration as a driver for intensified intra-regional trade and investment," National Treasurer Roberto Tan said, even as China's slowdown clouds economic prospects.
Tan was speaking at the start of a meeting of finance ministers from the 21-member bloc on the Philippine resort island of Cebu.
He also called for fiscal reforms to make policy more effective, and stressed the importance of public-private partnerships in financing the region's infrastructure needs, estimated by the Asian Development Bank at $800 billion a year.
"For this to materialise, bankable projects have to be identified in the pipeline and capital markets developed," he said.
The Cebu meeting takes place amid growing concern over slower growth in China, the world's second-largest economy, and recent ructions in global financial markets following Beijing's devaluation of its yuan currency last month.
APEC's members include the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Canada, and together account for 57 percent of global production and 46.5 percent of world trade.
In public, delegates have refrained from expressing concerns about China, but one source at the closed-door talks said a lack of financial market integration was partly to blame for recent market swings.
"If China adhered to market forces it should have adjusted more gradually," he said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. Continued...