The world’s top finance officials say the global economy is recovering and they hope well-run economic programs will avoid the risks that threaten that rebound.
The 188-country International Monetary Fund concluded weekend meetings with pledges to work toward faster growth that will alleviate still-high unemployment.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said officials know that hard decisions await regarding overhauling labour market policies and dealing with budget deficits.
“It is hard but that is the only way we are going to grow the economy,” Hockey, the Group of 20 countries chairman this year, told reporters after the group’s two days of discussions.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde told reporters that the world had gone through a lengthy economic “disaster” and now was moving through a period of strengthening growth.
“Creating a more dynamic, sustainable, balanced and job-rich global economy remains our paramount collective goal,” the IMF’s policy committee said in a statement.
The United States came in for criticism in that statement.
It said officials were “deeply disappointed” with the continued delay in congressional approval of the legislation to provide expanded loan resources to the IMF to help countries in trouble.
The IMF said that if the US Congress failed to pass the measure by the year’s end, it would explore other options.
But officials said those options could weaken the US’s ability to influence the global economy and lead to a more fragmented world.
Singapore’s finance minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, chairman of the IMF committee, said a US failure to act could cause a “disruption to the multilateral system” and make the world less safe.
The IMF panel endorsed the target set by the Group of 20 countries to boost global growth by $US2 trillion ($A2.13 trillion) in the next five years.
But the IMF said achieving this result will require putting the proper government policies in place, including continued efforts by major central banks to keep interest rates low to boost growth.
In the G20’s statement on Friday, after two days of talks, officials pledged to keep working on economic reforms that could increase growth by 2 per cent over the next five years but they acknowledged the political difficulty in the changes needed to reach that goal.
“We remain vigilant in the face of important global risks and vulnerabilities,” the G20 statement said.
“We are determined to manage these risks and take action to further strengthen the recovery, create jobs and improve medium-term growth prospects.”
Next up is a September meeting in Australia, ahead of a G20 summit on November 15-16 in Brisbane that US President Barack Obama and other world leaders will attend.