G20 Seeks To Chart Recovery Course Amid Choppy Markets

MOSCOW (TIP): The world’s economic crisis response team will grapple with the prospect of more market volatility as finance ministers and central bankers gather in Moscow to chart a course towards recovery. The Group of 20, a forum that took the lead in the 2008- 09 financial crisis, now faces a multi-speed global economy in which only the United States appears to be nearing a self-sustaining recovery.

China, for years the engine of global growth, is suffering a slowdown amid doubts over the stability of its financial system, Japan has only recently embarked on a radical fiscal and monetary experiment, and Europe’s economy is more stop than go. Collective efforts to balance the prospect of a withdrawal of US monetary stimulus against expansionary policies elsewhere evoke visions of passengers rushing from port to starboard to stabilise a listing ship.

“We used to believe that as soon as the economic situation stabilises … we will have less volatility in financial markets and currency markets,” Russia’s G20 summit coordinator, or ‘sherpa’, Ksenia Yudayeva, told Reuters. “The events we just saw have proved that we will not necessarily have less volatility – we will probably have quite a lot,” she added.

Chairman Ben Bernanke’s guidance in May that the Fed may start to wind down its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases – intended to ease the flow of credit to the economy – triggered a steep sell-off in stocks and bonds, and a flight to the dollar. Investors were calmed by dovish testimony to Congress this week by Bernanke, who is not coming to Moscow. Yet emerging markets – especially those that depend on commodities or that have external deficits – have underperformed.

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