With the global economy weakening amid financial market turbulence and falling asset prices, Group of 20 nations should take “bold multilateral actions” to stimulate growth and limit risk, according to an International Monetary Fund report.
IMF staffers called for an emergency plan to address global economic ills as G20 finance ministers and central bank governors gathered for a meeting in Shanghai.
“The G20 must plan now for coordinated demand support using available fiscal space to boost public investment and complement structural reforms, and act to implement forcefully the existing G20 growth strategies.” the report said.
In advanced economies, the IMF said, “accommodative monetary policy remains essential where inflation is still well below central banks’ targets” but “a comprehensive approach is needed to reduce over-reliance on monetary policy. In particular, near-term fiscal policy should be more supportive where appropriate and provided there is fiscal space, especially through investment that boosts both the demand and the supply potential of the economy.”
The U.S. Federal Reserve in December raised interest rates from near zero for the first time in seven years but inflation in the United States remains below the Fed’s 2% target.
According to Reuters, the G20 Shanghai meeting “is already being compared to the G20 meeting in April 2009 when officials agreed on coordinated stimulus to prevent a worldwide depression during the global financial crisis.”
In its report, the IMF said the markets turbulence, falling asset prices, modest growth in advanced economies, and China’s economic slowdown “point to higher risks of a derailed recovery, at a moment when the global economy is highly vulnerable to adverse shocks” including geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, refugees, and global epidemics.
“The fragile conjuncture increases the urgency of a broad-based policy response that strengthens growth and manages vulnerabilities,” the report warned.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew downplayed expectations of a G20 emergency plan this week, telling Bloomberg Television that some world economies were doing better than thought and that investors should not “expect a crisis response in a non-crisis environment.”