A meeting of leading economic policymakers in Washington voiced worry that the Ukraine crisis could hurt the world economy, but fell short of taking concrete action to strengthen growth amid signs of discord.
Meeting on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings, G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs pledged to follow up on reforms and support a $27 billion rescue programme for Ukraine, even as Russia continues to menace its neighbour.
But there was little firm action on how to stimulate world growth further. The G20 reiterated last year’s promise to boost collective growth by two percentage points, but there was disagreement on how to do so.
Hockey said individual members’ plans for contributing to that goal, offered after they met in Australia in February, fell short of what is needed. “The comprehensive growth strategies that were submitted by countries following the meeting in Sydney were clearly inadequate,” he told reporters. When the G20 made the commitment to enhance growth, he added, “we really meant it. It wasn’t just a rhetorical figure put in the communiqué for publicity purposes.”
Despite rising tensions with. Russia — a G20 member that looks increasingly isolated — the group was cautious in speaking about Ukraine. “We are monitoring the economic situation in Ukraine, mindful of any risks to economic and financial stability,” they said in a statement.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2014.