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G20 Provides Mixed Messages on Steps Needed For Global Economy

G20 Provides Mixed Messages on Steps Needed For Global Economy

Oded Shimoni, Junior Currency Analyst

Talking Points:

  • Positive signs for China's growth in 2016 according to Zhou, need for proactive fiscal policy
  • German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble opposed any fiscal stimulus plan
  • Mark Carney emphasized it’s imperative to avoid a global liquidity trap and ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ environment

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The first day of the G20 meetings in Shanghai called for better policy coordination on a slowing global economy, but provided mixed commentary showing disagreements about what actual steps to take. China’s Zhou said fiscal policy in China would be more proactive, while German finance minister Schaeuble posed a counter position and stressed monetary and fiscal policy in Europe has been exhausted. Other speeches emphasized need for structural reforms. G20 meetings are attended by finance ministers and central bankers from 20 industrialized nations consisting of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

As was mentioned earlier today by DailyFX Chief Currency Strategist John Kicklighter, a lot of hope and optimism is being put on the summit, but concerns rise as to the actual ability for the G20 to provide tangible solutions amidst slowing global growth and low inflation, China and Emerging Markets worries, mounting global debt and low energy prices. In this context, the summit serves as a reminder of longer term issues.

Highlights from Today’s Commentary:

Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde

  • China faces an "overwhelming" agenda of structural reforms
  • Global economies need broad-based, accelerated structural reforms
  • Large capital outflows from China pose risks to the global economy

People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan

  • The latest economic data shows positive signs for China's growth in 2016
  • PBoC still has room and tools in its monetary policy to deal with potential downside risks to economy, and will continue prudent monetary policy
  • GDP growth still sustainable albeit lower than the past
  • China economic fundamentals remain strong
  • Not worried about China's external payments situations despite recent falls in FX reserves; fluctuations in the reserves are normal and will be kept at appropriate levels.
  • China would be more proactive on fiscal policy and structural reforms
  • China will not stage another devaluation of the Yuan
  • Called for G20 to coordinate on monetary policies to better spur growth

China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei

  • Called for G20 countries to work together more on economic policy and reduce barriers to cross-border trade and business. Members need to promote trade and investments.
  • China has fiscal space to act and plans to expand its deficit
  • China needs regulatory improvements to boost business growth

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

  • Opposed any fiscal stimulus plan from the G20
  • Does not agree on a G20 fiscal stimulus package in case risks materialize
  • Space for monetary policy has been exhausted
  • Talking about further stimulus distracts from real tasks at hand; Necessary to continue with financial regulation, implement structural reforms, and make markets less volatile
  • The debt financed growth model has reached its limits causing new problems, raising debt, causing bubbles and excessive risk taking, zombifying the economy. May have laid foundations for next crisis.
  • Public and private debt levels in the world are too high while growth is too slow
  • High level of debt and lack of structural reforms hinder growth
  • Low oil prices already offers a "huge" stimulus for demand

BoE Governor Mark Carney

  • Falls in liquidity have contributed to strains in some markets
  • Ambition of global monetary policy has not been matched by structural measures.
  • International financial and monetary architecture has been tinkered with rather than transformed. Sees 'sizeable downside risks'
  • Global economy risks being trapped in "low growth, low inflation and low interest rate" environment
  • There are limits to which negative rates can spur domestic demand
  • Imperative to avoid a global liquidity trap and ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ environment

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