G-20 determined to use all tools to contain coronavirus pandemic, save jobs, incomes

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BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Group of 20 (G-20) nations are determined to continue doing everything possible to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, warning in a draft communique that the global economic recovery remains “uneven, highly uncertain, and subject to elevated downside risks”.

Bringing the pandemic under control is the key to supporting a global economic recovery, the G-20 leaders said in the draft, excerpts of which were obtained by Reuters.

A final joint statement will be released by leaders from the United States, China and other Group of 20 nations after they meet by video conference on Saturday (Nov 20).

In the draft, the leaders noted that the coronavirus crisis had hit the most vulnerable in society hardest, and said some countries may need debt relief beyond a temporary freeze in official debt payments that ends in June 2021.

It said G-20 leaders would revisit whether to extend the moratorium, the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), for another six months in the spring of 2021, and endorsed a common framework to deal with debt issues that is also backed by the Paris Club of official creditors.

“We are determined to continue to use all available policy tools as long as required to safeguard people’s lives, jobs and incomes, support the global economic recovery and enhance the resilence of the financial system, while safeguarding against downside risks,” the statement said.

Transparency

The draft underscored the importance of borrowers and creditors to expand transparency on official and private debt, and urged private sector creditors to participate in the G-20 debt relief effort on a comparable basis.

They also expressed support for a push by the International Monetary Fund to explore additional tools to address countries’needs as the crisis evolved, and to address the “particular challenges faced by small developing states”.

There was no specific mention of a new allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights, a move akin to a central bank printing money, which has been blocked thus far by the United States, the IMF’s largest shareholder.

US President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, is likely to take a more cooperative global stance after he takes office on Jan 20, economists say.

Biden is expected to take the United States back into the Paris climate treaty and reverse threats by outgoing President Donald Trump to quit the World Health Organisation.

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