The meeting of G20 nations concluded this weekend in Toronto with communiqués reflecting a strong support for the US financial reform, called the Dodd-Frank bill. Indeed, information released from the summit show a mix of ambitious plans for growth, mixed with further calls to reduce spending, especially among countries with higher debt burdens. Citing the recovery as moving faster than anticipated, the G20 members say that improvements are uneven across sectors and, therefore, indicative of a level of fragility. “If we chose a more ambitious path of reforms, over the medium term, global output would be higher by almost $4trn; tens of millions of jobs would be created; even more people would be lifted out of poverty; and global imbalances would be significantly reduced,” said one report (access here). The G20 is promising “growth friendly fiscal consolidation plans” in order to achieve a stronger and more sustainable lift to the world economies. The EU decision to stress test banks and publish those results is also a welcome development. The G20 financial reform comes in the form of the oft-criticized Basel Accords (II and III), currently being updated by the Bank of International Settlements. “The big question has been one of the timeframe: the more capital the banks are holding, the greater the limit on what they can lend,” said British Bankers Association chief executive Angela Knight. “The G20 statement clearly recognizes, as we all do, that the new measures be phased in over a time frame which safeguards economic recovery and the ability of markets to provide funding to individuals and business customers.” The G20 is also committed to increasing capital to under developed areas by 85%. Before the crisis $37bn went to development banks, that number will increase to $71bn. Write to Jacob Gaffney.
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