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G20 finance chiefs to tackle euro crisis

Nov 04 2012 10:59 AFP

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Mexico City - G20 finance chiefs begin Sunday two days of talks aimed at quelling fears of a global economic downturn amid a persistent eurozone debt crisis and a looming fiscal crunch in the United States.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 top economies will gather in Mexico City as debt-riddled Greece continues to trouble Europe while Spain fights off pressure to seek a bailout.

While Madrid avoids the bailout route, the problems in Greece are still haunting Europe's single currency, more than two years after Athens received its first multi-billion-euro rescue.

Greek officials are locked in tough negotiations with European Union and IMF auditors over austerity measures Greece must take in return for a bailout payment it needs to avoid defaulting on its debt.

While the fiscal situation in the United States is also a major concern, officials do not expect any movement on that front until after Tuesday's US presidential election.

The White House and Congress need to find a compromise by the end of the year to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes, which experts say could hurt the US economy and curb global growth.

The meeting is a follow-up to a June summit, when G20 leaders vowed to coordinate "fiscal actions" to boost domestic demand if economic conditions deteriorated.

Since then, the IMF slashed its 2012 global growth forecast to 3.3%, eurozone unemployment rose to a record 11.6% in September and growth decelerated in emerging nations.

g20  |  europe debt crisis
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