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Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey speaks at the Joint G20 and B20 Infrastructure Roundtable in Sydney on Feb. 21, 2014. (DAN HIMBRECHTS/REUTERS)
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey speaks at the Joint G20 and B20 Infrastructure Roundtable in Sydney on Feb. 21, 2014. (DAN HIMBRECHTS/REUTERS)

Monetary co-operation, U.S. stimulus top G20’s agenda on first day of Sydney summit Add to ...

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said finance ministers and central bankers spent the first day of the Group of 20 meeting in Sydney discussing international monetary co-operation and he hinted strongly that central bank information-sharing will be a key feature of the G20’s final communiqué.

The drawback of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s bond-buying stimulus package, which caused highly disruptive capital outflows from many emerging markets, formed the backdrop to this weekend’s G20 session in Sydney.

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Developing countries led by India’s new central banker lashed out at monetary policy-making in advanced economies that they said did not take their countries into consideration, but Fed chair Janet Yellen made it clear before the meeting that she wouldn’t stop “tapering” off the stimulus, due to the U.S. economic recovery.

“We had a very informative, very detailed and very measured discussion about the direction of the global economy,” Mr. Hockey told a group of reporters on Sunday morning in Sydney, as he summarized the previous day’s sessions. “There was extensive discussion about the impact of tapering on emerging economies. And it was an excellent discussion … We’ll have more to say about that in the communiqué after the meeting is finished.”

Since the summer of 2013 and in the months leading up to this G20 meeting, emerging markets such as Turkey, South Africa and India have all been hit hard as investors pulled out their money in response to a reduction in the U.S. bond-buying program. Central bankers in Ankara, Johannesburg and New Delhi all had to hike interest rates dramatically in order to combat inflation.

Tensions began to rise because some in emerging markets saw the timing of the Fed's taper as entirely self-interested policy-making, while many in advanced economies – as well as many analysts and economists – blamed the scale of the disruption on domestic issues within specific emerging economies, such as political gridlock, social unrest, a lack of structural reforms and other conditions.

In an interview on Saturday, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz told The Globe and Mail that the financial volatility across emerging markets since May and June had come about as a result of the U.S. stimulus becoming “fairly embedded in financial markets” but that the “big effect is behind” the world economy.

“Investors can be more choosy, so they’re more discriminating amongst places to put their investments,” Mr. Poloz said. “You get a little more volatility in places, perhaps, where fundamentals aren’t as clear or not as strong and so on. And that’s of course exactly the thing we’re here to talk about – is to kind of have a sense of shared understanding of what each of us is going through. [To] help understand why, so we walk away with best practices.”

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