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IMF chief calls G20 shots on timing of U.S. taper

English.news.cn   2014-02-21 19:15:05

SYDNEY, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- With the dream of G20 consensus still frustratingly floating in the ether of Sydney, strident IMF chief Christine Lagarde again pointed the finger at emerging economies exposed to further unreadable vibrations from a U.S. monetary policy equally up in the air.

The mood was upbeat, thanks in part to Friday's spectacular Sydney summer afternoon as the gathering Sydney G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors prepared for the grind of a weekend certain to highlight the differences, rather than the similarities in this diverse economic ecosystem.

"The G20 meeting in Sydney has real relevance now the International Monetary Fund has commented that the risk of turmoil in emerging markets and deflation in Europe are threatening the global economic recovery," said Tim Harcourt, the JW Neville Fellow in Economics at UNSW's Australian School of Business.

While Lagarde turned her steely gaze upon the hi-jinx of a U.S. Federal Reserve seemingly distracted and divided on how best to draw down a stimulus exit, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne joined the IMF in chastising emerging markets for what he suggested was unconstructive "finger-pointing."

Harcourt told Xinhua that hopes were crystallizing around a G20 that recognizes the diversity of the world economy, and the importance of the emerging economies.

"It gives some new economic stars like Australia, Brazil and South Korea a major say, which is a big boost for Australia. The G20 has taken the place of the G7 thanks to a big push from Australia which wanted a wider world stage and to change the hegemony of U.S. centric talks. The world is not dominated by the G7 as it was a few years ago."

Nations from Argentina to India and South Africa to Turkey have suffered cruelly at the hands of a taper that has wrought damage upon currencies untested in a scenario that sees the final days of a stimulus program of extraordinary length and breadth.

Lagarde, who has commanded absolute attention over the first few days, told reporters "just a hint of tapering" in May last year had sent reverberations across global markets.

"Don't go too fast and explain what you are doing," the IMF chief said in a press conference open to the public, noting that the taper would be front and center of discussions over the weekend.

Emerging markets leaders such as India and Brazil have delivered a sense of the frustration among emerging economies, emphasizing the cold-turkey effect of stimulus revision that saw bonds and currencies dive last year as the taper turned into a trauma for investors.

U.S. policy makers responded this week by describing the issue as "primarily" driven by domestic policies within emerging-market countries.

And that is where the differences begin.

Editor: Lu Hui
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