Back to the future as G20 comes to Russia

Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:46am EST
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* Petrodollars, monetary stimulus seen bad for reform

* G20 split over "currency wars"

* Expected to be at odds too over new debt targets

* Moscow chairs G20 this year, G8 in 2014

By Douglas Busvine

MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Group of 20 policymakers have an ideal chance in Moscow this week to ponder whether monetary policy largesse will blunt their will to carry out the economic reforms needed to put global growth on a sustainable footing.

On their drive from the airport to the city centre, down highways clogged with luxury cars, it may dawn on finance ministers and central bankers that Russia, this year's G20 host, got there first.

Some will check in to the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel near the Manezh, the former 19th-century cavalry stable by the Kremlin walls where they meet this weekend. But convenience comes at a price: almost $17,000 per night for a luxury suite.

The world's largest oil producer has, through much of the Vladimir Putin era, been minting money as its central bank bought up hundreds of billions of export petrodollars, and the government spent its way out of the 2009 slump.   Continued...