G20 abandons the Stimulus economy

G-20.jpg Politicians finally seem to be giving up on the Stimulus economy. 9 months ago, the leaders of the G20 Group (the world’s major economies) were congratulating themselves on having delivered “the largest and most coordinated fiscal and monetary Stimulus ever undertaken“, and claiming “it worked“.

Now, Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has announced €80bn ($96bn) of budget cutbacks. And after the G20’s recent Finance Minister meeting in Seoul, French minister, Christine Lagarde, noted that “For the vast majority, addressing finances, budget consolidation, is priority No. 1.” Even US Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, was in downbeat mood, telling his colleagues that “they should not rely on spending by American consumers for their economic recovery“.

The problem is that this change of heart comes rather late in the day, after $trns have been wasted on auto and housing incentive schemes. Many politicians seem to have preferred to believe the Crisis was due to lack of confidence and liquidity. But as the blog has long argued, the fundamental issue is one of solvency – too many of the debts built up in the Boom years will never be repaid. And the extra spending caused by the Stimulus programmes has made this problem worse, not better.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. 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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