Australia's Swan says G20 must act to boost growth now

MEXICO CITY Mon Nov 5, 2012 8:00am EST

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MEXICO CITY Nov 5 (Reuters) - The world's leading economies must commit to quick steps to boost growth at a meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs on Monday, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said.

Swan said there was a slightly more optimistic mood among top policymakers about the global outlook given actions by central banks in Europe, the United States and Japan to support their economies, but governments had to do their part too.

"The optimism will only be justified if we leave here committed to take the additional policy action required in the remainder of this year," he said in remarks prepared for delivery to G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Mexico.

"I know some question the spillover impacts from these central bank actions, but there is nothing more important to the global economy than to lift growth in the world's major advanced economies."

Europe needs to finalize its plans for banking union and the United States has to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff of looming tax hikes and spending cuts "as a matter of utmost urgency", he said.

Swan acknowledged concerns held by many countries about the weak U.S. dollar pushing up currencies and making exports more expensive but said nothing would help support the dollar more than a return to solid growth in the United States.

He also urged China, where President Hu Jintao is to transfer power as party leader to anointed successor Vice President Xi Jinping at a party congress starting on Thursday, to keep up the pace of economic reforms.

"It will be important that the new Chinese leadership continue to deliver on the reforms needed to rebalance the Chinese economy towards consumption-led growth," Swan said.

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