World leaders on Thursday heralded the G20 summit as the day the world “fought back against the recession” as they put on a show of unity that lifted global markets and mapped out a new future for financial regulation.

Gordon Brown, UK prime minister, host of the summit, said the meeting marked the emergence of a “new world order”, as he unveiled what leaders claimed was a $1,100bn package of measures to tackle the global downturn, including support for lower income countries and a $250bn plan to boost the international money supply.

Close inspection showed that some of the $1,100bn pledged included reannouncements and half-done deals. However, even before the summit ended, equity markets rose sharply around the world amid hopes that the global economy was stabilising.

In London, the FTSE 100 rose 4.3 per cent to pass 4,000 points for the first time in six weeks, while in New York, the S&P 500 closed 2.9 per cent higher. Early Asian trade on Friday showed investors extending the strong gains made on Thursday.The benchmark Nikkei was up 0.6 per cent after hitting a three-month intraday high.

The leaders papered over divisions between the US and Europe about whether the world could afford a new fiscal stimulus.

President Barack Obama described the summit’s measures as “bolder and more rapid than any international response that we’ve seen to a financial crisis in memory” and predicted that they would mark “a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery”.

Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, said that agreement on a new regulatory regime and crackdown on tax havens showed that “a page has been turned” on an era of post-war “Anglo-Saxon” capitalism.

The summit ended with smiles as a dispute between China and France over the blacklisting of tax havens – including possibly Hong Kong and Macao – continued behind the scenes.

US officials say that Mr Obama helped broker a compromise between Hu Jintao of China and Mr Sarkozy, who had threatened to walk away from the summit.

Mr Sarkozy had objected to the absence of agreement to publish a list of offshore tax centres that were not in compliance with existing standards on transparency. In the end they agreed the G20 would only “take note” of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development list, rather than endorse it.

Mr Brown claimed that China had agreed a $40bn contribution to IMF funds. Chinese authorities could not confirm that last night. The IMF declined to comment

The summit text included commitments to curb “risky” bank pay and bonuses, but offered little new on monetary policy action or efforts to clean up bank balance sheets.

Of the $500bn of money pledged to the IMF to bolster struggling economies, some had already been announced and $250bn was a pledge of future funds.

The G20 agreed to allow the IMF to create $250bn of Special Drawing Rights, its own currency, comprising dollars, euros, yen and sterling, boosting the foreign exchange reserves of every country. Most of this will go to the big economies, but poorer countries facing budgetary strains will gain new cash.

World leaders also agreed to boost trade finance in a package that Mr Brown said over two years could facilitate an additional $250bn of trade.

The issues
IssueWhat has been agreedIssues still pending
Solving the crisis
Boosting economiesSupport for fiscal, monetary and banking packages already announcedFurther stimulus measures if the world economy fails to improve
A concrete commitment to repair banks’ balance sheets
Resisting protectionsimA repeat of November’s pledge to refrain from protectionism and minimise trade-distorting-fiscal stimulus measures
Commitment to completing Doha round, but without a deadline
Progress on the Doha trade round and an end to creeping protectionist measures
Helping poorer countriesCommitment to give IMF $500bn resources, $250bn increase in Special Drawing Rights, the IMF currency, and a pledge for $250bn of trade financeDetails of IMF funding still pending as are the mechanisms for trade finance support
Preventing a repetition
Reforming regulationAgreement for greater bank capital and greater cushions in good times
Curbs on bankers’ pay and establish a new Financial Stability Board
Regulation of systematically important hedge funds
Details of how any of these will work
Reforming global institutionsAgreement to complete new balance of power in IMF by 2011
Heads of international organisations to be selected on merit and not by nationality
The nitty-gritty details of how to rebalance power within international financial institutions
Preventing global economic imbalancesNothingNothing

 

source: www.ft.com (published 03/04/2009)