G-20 tries to support growth

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The G-20 was created in 1999, after the financial crises that had hit emerging countries from 1997 onwards. It includes the G7 group of major industrial companies, plus the main emerging economies, including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Its ministerial meeting this weekend became a preparatory session for its first-ever Heads of State meeting in Washington on Saturday, with the aim of developing “concrete policy outcomes”.

Encouragingly, China used the occasion to announce a $586bn stimulus package, to be spent by the end of 2010, focusing on rural development and infrastructure programmes. As Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, noted “if China can maintain domestic demand, its helpful for global stability”. The BRIC countries also announced measures to promote trade flows between themselves, in an effort to compensate for lost exports to the West.

The background to these efforts is a forecast from the International Monetary Fund that world growth in 2009 will be at a recession level of 2.2%, and less than half the 5% seen last year. The IMF also forecasts that “output in the advanced economies (US, Europe, Japan) will contract” next year. This would be the “first annual contraction since 1945″, and be “broadly comparable” to the major recessions of 1975 and 1982.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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