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Cannes G-20 Summit Founders on Europe’s Woes (Will Los Cabos Be Better?)

This is a joint post with Owen Barder

Whether future historians remember last week’s G-20 Summit in Cannes will depend on what happens in the weeks and months ahead. If the eurozone problems spiral out of control, Cannes will be to the coming crash as the 1933 London Economic Conference was to the Great Depression: a lost chance to avert calamity. If Europe muddles through, the brief association of Cannes with the G-20 will be soon forgotten and the resort will again be famous for its film festival.

Development and the Cannes G-20 Summit

It’s G-20 time again, and once again the attention of the leaders of the world’s biggest economies will be largely preoccupied with shoring up the financial sectors in countries that are home to the world’s top billion. This is unfortunate but under the circumstances not entirely unreasonable. Financial crises in the rich world can have far-reaching consequences for poor people in the developing world, including weak demand for developing-country exports, sagging tourism and remittances, and tighter credit, which among other things makes it harder to finance trade.

G-20 Endorses World Food Programme Hedging

This post is co-authored by Vijaya Ramachandran

Last week, the G-20 agriculture ministers meeting in Paris issued a communiqué calling for the World Food Programme to develop hedging strategies to purchase food. In a little-noticed section towards the end of a 24-page document, the ministers stated:

We invite the multilateral, regional and national development banks or agencies to further explore, in connection with the private sector as appropriate:

Development of hedging strategies that could help international humanitarian agencies, in particular WFP, to optimize food procurements and maximize the purchasing power of financial resources, building upon forward purchase… (Annex 5)

Zedillo Warns of a “Frightening Failure” of Global Institutions

The wake-up call came as a bit of a shock. Ernesto Zedillo, the highly regarded former president of Mexico and director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, was discussing the record of international institutions and the powerful countries that run them. On their response to unprecedented international cooperation and coordination challenges, he was in no mood to mince words.

New Chinese Regulations Reflect Growing G-20 Appetite for Anticorruption

The G-20 is not ordinarily considered a major player in the drive against corruption in international business transactions, but that may be changing.

The Toronto Summit in June 2010 established a working group “to make comprehensive recommendations on how the G-20 can take practical steps to combat corruption.” During the Seoul Summit in November, a coalition of emerging market members of the working group (including Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and Mexico) quietly joined with the United States to urge China to adopt an anti–foreign bribery law.

G-20 Member Argentina Is Failing Basic Data Transparency Test on Inflation—And Where’s the IMF on It?

Bad news from Argentina:  The government has been tampering with inflation statistics for several years (publishing official rate as 8 percent compared to independent estimates greater than 20 percent).  Now it is imposing big fines ($100,000) on private consulting firms and individuals producing private estimates.  And where is the IMF on this issue?  In deference to its member Argentina it publishes the official estimate with a footnote suggesting private estimates are much greater.  More background (in Spanish) can be found

The Currency War: Risks for Latin America and the Role of Central Banks

During the 13th and 16th of November, the Latin American Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee (CLAAF) held their second meeting of the year in Lima with the purpose of discussing the effect of the currency wars on the Latin American region. As a result of the meeting, we presented the 23rd CLAAF statement. The statement has been extremely well received and broadly covered by the Peruvian press.