G-20 countries pledge stronger efforts to bolster weak global recovery
Alex Brandon, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — World finance leaders are pledging to pursue further actions to bolster a disappointingly weak global recovery. They also reaffirmed their commitment to avoid using their currencies as an economic weapon to gain unfair advantages in foreign trade.
Finance ministers and central bank presidents from the leading rich and developing nations, or Group of 20, wrapped up two days of talks Friday with a joint statement that said they had managed to avoid some of the biggest economic threats but growth was still too weak in many countries and unemployment too high.
The joint statement revealed no major new policy initiatives but did urge the United States and some other countries to emphasize efforts to jump-start growth in the near-term even if that meant less emphasis on deficit reduction.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke represented the United States in the discussions which were led by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, whose country is chairing the G-20 this year.
The communique repeated a pledge the group had made after a February meeting in Moscow that they would "refrain from competitive devaluation" and would not target certain levels for their currencies in an effort to gain trade advantages. These worries have been heightened by recent moves by Japan to pursue aggressive credit easing by the Japanese central bank in an effort to boost growth in that country.
Those efforts have contributed to a significant slide in the value of the yen against other currencies. A weaker yen would make Japanese goods cheaper in foreign markets and products made by the United States and other foreign manufacturers more expensive in Japan.
Japanese officials sought to assure the group that its efforts were not aimed at sparking a currency war but were intended to boost Japan's lagging economy, which has been plagued for two decades by slow growth.
Siluanov told reporters at a news conference that the group did not spend as much time discussing currency issues as they had in February. The communique praised the efforts Japan has made to halt the country's prolonged bout of deflation, a slide in prices.
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