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David Cameron, Mervyn King and Obama prepares for G20 Summit

The world risks a return to the depression era of the 1930s if countries retreat behind trade barriers, David Cameron warned world leaders today. The Prime Minister, in South Korea for a meeting of the G20, said the “big battle” was to ensure world trade stayed open. He said: “The fear we should all have is a return to what happened in the 1930s: protectionsim, trade barriers, currency wars, countries pursuing beggar my neighbour policies - trying to do well for themselves but not caring about the rest of the world. That is the danger.

Financial Stability Board agree tighter watch over big financial firms ahead of the G20 Summit in Seoul

A global regulatory body said on Wednesday it had agreed a broad plan to tighten supervision of big banks and financial firms blamed for triggering the 2008-2009 financial crisis. After a day-long meeting in Seoul, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said it had "agreed on a framework for addressing systemically important financial institutions", those deemed too big to fail. The board, created last year by the Group of 20 top world economies, represents 52 institutions from 24 countries. It said in a statement it endorsed proposals to increase the intensity and effectiveness of financial supervision. Also approved were recommendations on implementing the central clearing and trade reporting of over-the-counter derivatives, a move intended to reduce risk in the huge derivatives market. Board members additionally backed principles for reducing reliance on credit rating agencies, which came in for widespread criticism for being too close to the firms they assessed and for failing to warn of problems.

GyeonguG20 finance ministers meet in the South Korean city of Gyeongu Friday and Saturday to discuss tighter supervision of the global financial sector. The group's leaders will hold a summit in Seoul on November 11-12. On Tuesday the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision met in the South Korean capital to finalise reforms requiring big banks to strengthen their financial reserves against any future crisis. The FSB statement said these new standards "will reduce the likelihood and severity of future financial crises". FSB chairman Mario Draghi described the Basel agreement as "the conerstone of global efforts to strengthen the resilience of the financial system". He told a press conference it was "crucial" to take action on banks deemed too big to fail. All such systemically important financial institutions should build a greater capacity to absorb losses "to reflect the greater risks that these institutions pose to the global financial system," he said. Draghi also noted that FSB members endorsed principles to reduce excessive reliance by governments and financial institutions on rating agencies. He said banks, market players and institutional investors should make their own assessment of risks. "The goal of the principles is to reduce the mechanical reliance on ratings" which "can amplify pro-cyclicality and cause systemic disruption," Draghi said.

EU Commssion Michel Barnier on Bank Resolution Funds - bank tax to prevent bailouts

Plans for a Europe-wide levy on banks have been set out today as the EU attempts to create a single fund to cope with future financial failures. National governments will collect and oversee the cash from banks at first but Brussels wants eventually to take control of the fund. The money will not be used to bail out banks but to organise the orderly break-up of any institutions in deep financial trouble and to save taxpayers from having to rescue them.

Impaired Assets, the London Summit and the EU

From the the official communique issued at the close of the G20 London Summit, the only reference to "Impaired Assets", is paragraph eight;-

" 8. Our actions to restore growth cannot be effective until we restore domestic lending and international capital flows. We have provided significant and comprehensive support to our banking systems to provide liquidity, recapitalise financial institutions, and address decisively the problem of impaired assets.  We are committed to take all necessary actions to restore the normal flow of credit through the financial system and ensure the soundness of systemically important institutions, implementing our policies in line with the agreed G20 framework for restoring lending and repairing the financial sector."


IMF analysis: Global Economic Policies and Prospects, G20, March 13-14, 2009

Global economic activity is falling—with advanced economies registering their sharpest declines in the post-war era—notwithstanding forceful policy efforts.

According to the latest IMF forecast, global activity is expected to decline by around ½ to 1 percent in 2009 on an annual average basis, before recovering gradually in the course of 2010.

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