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Monetary policy, global imbalance top agenda

business Updated: Feb 18, 2011 21:09 IST
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The world's major economies were split down the middle on Friday over how to measure imbalances in the global economy in a bid to avert future financial crises, Japan's finance minister said.

Speaking hours before the start of a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers, Yoshihiko Noda said he was not sure they would reach any agreement on a set of indicators to assess economic equilibrium.

“It is uncertain whether the countries will agree on all indicators, but I think agreement on some is possible,” said Noda.

In preparatory talks on Thursday, G20 sources said China and Germany dragged their feet over a balance of payments indicator while Beijing was resisting including measurements of the real foreign exchange rate and currency reserves in the package.

Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, in Paris for the G20 meeting, said Beijing would decide the pace of the appreciation of the yuan on its own and would be swayed by pressure from other countries.

A German source cast doubt on a deal at the two-day Paris session, saying Berlin wanted nothing less than a full list of five indicators to be used to tackle global mismatches.

France has run into opposition with its push for greater transparency and regulation of commodities prices and a reform of the international monetary system and is pinning its hopes on measuring imbalances in the world economy.

With world shares hitting fresh 30-month highs, driven by bullish views of economic growth, investors seem content for the G20 to achieve little, in contrast with the height of the crisis two years ago when markets were baying for policy action.