G-20 finance chiefs to focus on inflation, may split on Russia

Finance chiefs from the Group of 20 major economies are set to begin a one-day meeting in Washington on Wednesday with the aim of tackling global inflation, which has been accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But the rally can only demonstrate the rift within the group, as Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is expected to join the rally virtually, even as Western nations have called for the country to be removed from the international framework to protest against the Moscow attack on Ukraine.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who had said she would boycott some G-20 meetings if Russian officials show up, will only attend “selected sessions” of the next meeting, the Department of Finance said. US Treasury.

Photo taken on April 10, 2022 shows a view of kyiv from a high point after Russian troops completed their withdrawal from the Ukrainian capital. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo

Separately, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki plans to hold a bilateral meeting with Yellen amid the rapid depreciation of the yen, which fell to a new 20-year low in the 129 area against the US dollar on Wednesday morning in Tokyo. .

The yen fell due to diverging monetary policies by the Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve, which began to tighten its monetary grip to curb inflation. The BOJ maintained its powerful monetary easing.

The meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors will take place on the sidelines of the week-long spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the U.S. capital until Sunday.

At the end of March, the leaders of the industrialized countries of the Group of Seven, which are all members of the G-20, agreed that international organizations and multilateral forums should no longer carry out activities with Moscow “in the usual way”.

The G-7 countries have imposed a series of sanctions against Russia, such as freezing the assets of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian central bank, as well as the exclusion of certain major lenders from a key international payment network. .

Finance chiefs from the G-20, which accounts for 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, have a handful of issues on their agenda in the first ministerial-level meeting since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, including including the response to the coronavirus pandemic in addition to rising food and energy prices.

Soaring commodity and energy prices have already weighed heavily on the global economy, with the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook projecting that global economic growth this year will be 3.6%, down 0.8 percentage points from its January forecast.

The tightening of US monetary policy, which began in March in response to inflation rising at its fastest pace in more than 40 years, also puts emerging economies’ currencies at risk of weakening and therefore increase their external debt burden. .

G-20 leaders are unlikely to issue a joint statement due to the potential division over Russia and may instead ask Indonesia, the group’s rotating chair this year, to release the results of discussions at the meeting. , according to sources familiar with the matter. .

The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United States and Europe. Union.

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