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G20 final document to address U.S. policy impact on emerging markets

Investors look at computer screens displaying stock information at a brokerage house in Qingdao, Shandong province February 10, 2014. REUTER
Investors look at computer screens displaying stock information at a brokerage house in Qingdao, Shandong province February 10, 2014. REUTER

By Lidia Kelly

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The world's financial leaders will address the impact of U.S. monetary policy on emerging markets in a final document from their meeting this week in Sydney, but the wording has yet to be agreed, a Russian G20 official said.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 major developing and advanced economies, which acts as a steering committee for global economic policy, will meet on February 22-23.

Major policy breakthroughs, including on global growth, investment, financial regulation or cooperation in cross-border taxation are unlikely to emerge from the meeting, the first under Australia's helm, the source said.

The focal points will be the slowdown in China's economic growth and the selloff in emerging bond, currency and stock markets that erupted last month after the U.S. Federal Reserve began to run down its monetary stimulus policy.

Emerging market nations will demand clarity from the United States, said the Russian official, who is involved in preparations for the meeting.

"At this moment, we do not have a clear understanding of whether some responsibilities will be taken or whether there will be some agreements that will minimize the negative impact from these (U.S.) measures," said the official.

The final communiqué will address the issue.

"We have a preliminary version, but it is still a very rough draft, especially when it comes to that very point," the official said.

"It is difficult to say now how it will be reflected in the final document of the ministers."

Discussion on fiscal and monetary policy changes to bring the global economy to sustainable and balanced growth will concentrate on preparing strategies, using a framework adopted at the G20 summit in Russia last fall.

"While there is a discussion on how the whole process should be drawn up, how the strategies should look, what they should involve, it is premature to talk about filling them with specific parameters and specific results that can be achieved," the official said.

Australian officials have said they will use the country's presidency to push for agreements on growth strategies, but the discussion is likely to be tough given that Germany has indicated it would reject any specific goals.

Much discussion will be devoted to the global economy, but the talk will be "traditional".

"There is no new 'know-how' and it is actually difficult to come up with something (at this moment)," the official said.

NOT MUCH GOING FOR BRICS

The G20 financial leaders will most probably agree to the International Monetary Fund's proposal from last month to extend the deadline for the next round of reforms to the Fund until January next year, a result of the United States failing to ratify a 2010 reform.

Washington is expected to be criticized for holding up a reform of decision-making that gives developing economies more say, but in the end, there is a "broader understanding" among the G20 of the issue.

"We are talking here about the G20's confirmation, consent that the decision (on deadline extension) is acceptable for them," the official said. "It's probable that the ministers will adopt this (in the document)."

Officials from the BRICS countries, which include Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa and which are especially handicapped by the halt in the IMF quota reform, will discuss it, but there is to be no separate statement by the group.

"There are no intentions to come up with some reproof or condemnation," the official said.

BRICS officials will meet on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, to discuss the creation of a development bank with capital of up to $50 billion and a $100 billion fund designated to steady currency markets.

The turn in Fed policy has prompted investors to reverse the cheap dollar flows that fuelled a boom across emerging asset markets last year, adding urgency to moves to make funds available to countries who need to plug current account gaps.

"There should be no expectations that the negotiations (on will be completed in Sydney," the Russian official said. "It is too early to say what time frame we are talking about here ... but perhaps the time factor should be of paramount importance."

(Reporting and writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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